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I’m so excited! I’ve recently come back from Seville where I’ve been checking out venues for this years Retreat (20th – 27th September) and I am delighted to announce that I’ve found the perfect place!

It’s been very difficult to find somewhere that fulfilled all my very exacting requirements but the ‘Vinca Buenvino’
in the Sierra de Aracena Nature Park has done so (and some!). As soon as I walked into this beautiful country house, I felt as though I was arriving at the home of a favourite relative! Here are some teaser snapshots from memory: swimming in the saltwater infinity pool; walking along ancient drovers paths through the 150 acres of Sweet chestnut and Cork Oak woods. Relaxing in the Spa and dining on the terrace on incredible home cooked food made from fresh local ingredients by the amazing Jeannie Chesterton.

This is the balcony from my bedroom

Photograph : Tim Clinch

For more info and fabulous photos by Tim Cinch http://www.sarahmaxwell.co.uk/blog/?p=215

2015 and perfection

January 19th, 2015

Happy 2015 lovely people,

At this time of year most people are not feeling at their physical best. We’ve all experienced this – over Christmas there is a tendency to eat more and move around less and by January we’re all feeling a bit unfit and bloated but determined to do something about it. It’s at this time of year that I get the most questions related to Celebrity Bodies – how do they manage to look fabulous all year round?

The answer is simple – they don’t!

Over my career I have been called on many times to get a notable person in shape in time for a major event. For celebrities it is their job to look fantastic – they spend huge amounts of time and money on it. The important thing to realize is that (apart from a few mad individuals), they don’t work at it for 52 weeks of the year! Most celebrities keep a diary of the major events during the year for which they need to look fabulous for example a Red Carpet event or a beach holiday when they know they’ll be papped.

Four weeks or more before the event the celebrity will call on the services of a team of experts for help. They will go on a really strict diet, they will start a punishing exercise routine, they will spend a fortune on beauty treatments and clothes. They will even FAKE IT – it’s a little known fact that a skilled spray tan technician can with the use of ‘dark contouring’ create abs on those without the perfect washboard stomach!

After the event the celebrity will drop all this extra work and their bodies will return to a near approximation of a mere mortals. Woe betide them if they get caught on camera in this point of their cycle – poor Leonardo di Caprio was caught out in this way – displaying a slight tummy on a family holiday for which he hadn’t prepped!

My point is that for the rest of us we shouldn’t beat ourselves up trying to achieve this level, remember how they look could make or break a career! Our goal should just be to be the best that we can be within the restraints of our daily life and budget!

Summer holidays

September 22nd, 2014

After a very hectic July spent travelling round the country giving free fitness advice in the Reebok/Debenhams Fithubs, it was very tempting once the kids had broken up to just veg out for the whole of August! I know most mums feel like this once we’re not having to get up at the crack of dawn for the school run anymore – exercise can take a back seat for the summer sometimes -but not in the Maxwell household this year!

I decided that as the kids are older now, I was going to make this a bit more of a structured active summer. In true ‘Busman’s Holiday’ style I designed an individual programme for each member of the family including for the first time the youngest Maxwell. They loved it and we had great fun working out together in the shade of the garden. We also managed to involve exercise in other locations too – the best fun being had on the day we slid down sand dunes on bits of plastic!

We did manage to get away too and while we were there I managed a whole photoshoot of exercises for Reebok dressed in the great kit that they’d sent (now sadly stolen by the Maxwell teenager!)

Sadly, as they always do, the school summer holidays ended and I am now gearing myself up to return to the humiliation of Karate with the 7 year olds!!

A varied few weeks

June 3rd, 2014

The last few weeks have been very sad – Sophie, my grand old lady died on Easter Monday. She was nearly 15. We have all been slowly adjusting to life without her. Benson especially, has found it very hard and has taken to making a collection of dog shaped soft toys to cuddle up to. I’ve been trying to concentrate on the positive with him – after so many years of only going for short sedate walks he and I can now go off on long romps together around the surrounding woods and farmland.

I also had a lovely distraction in the shape of a trip to Jaipur in India. I’ve never been to India before and I fell totally in love with both the country and the people. Doing Meditation and Yoga there was altogether a far more authentic experience. I did consider going for a run but the traffic made that too scary a proposition plus I wasn’t really appropriately dressed. In the end I did lots of water fitness in the very warm water of the pool.

I’ve started Karate! Youngest Maxwell has talked me into signing up at his club and the first session was mortifying. I am the oldest by at least 25 years! 30 minutes of staring and giggling from the little ones until they finally accepted that I was ok.

I continue to enjoy my weekly coaching sessions at our local athletics club and am so excited by the start of the new Athletics season that I’m just about to invest in a pair of sprint blocks. I might even sneak them along for the ‘Mum’s Race’ on youngest Maxwell’s Sports Day – not that I’m competitive or anything!

Spring is in the air

April 15th, 2014

Well, Spring seems to have sprung and along with it a sudden unexpected interest in gardening! This week has seen me out in the garden armed with secateurs hacking away at anything that didn’t move. My arms are certainly feeling as though they’ve had a good workout!

The only downside to all this lovely spring weather is the unwelcome return of my Hayfever and associated problems!

I’ve been bravely battling on though and have finally finished filming my new collection of Fitness DVDs. They’re now in Editing but I can’t wait to see the end results!

I’ve also been working on some personal fitness programmes for some lovely competition winners that I met recently in Prague

This weekend I had the honour of coaching young atheletes alongside Steve Green of  stevegreenfitness.co.uk. I can honestly say that Steve is one of my all time heroes – a real coaching Guru who has become one of the top Conditioning coaches in the world.

Well, the kids broke up for Easter a few days ago and with the nice weather I can see that the local swimming pool and tennis courts are going to feature quite large. The youngest Maxwell is also booked onto a council run Cricket course which he’s really looking forward to.

I’ve also decided that we need to give out National Trust card a bit more of a bashing – we’re very lucky to have a few properties locally that are ideal for long family walks.

We’re also not too far from the wonderfully historic Penshurst Place and it’s lovely adventure playground. I took the youngest Maxwell there last week and me being me I couldn’t help ignoring the sign that says ‘under 16s’ only – I had a fantastic workout on the equipment! I was enthusing about it to my assistant Kate and she suggested that we build our own one at home using all the trees that blew down in the recent gales – food for thought!

I know I nag you all every summer but it really is important to try and stay healthy on holiday! All that work you put into getting a Bikini Body – it’s madness to then spend two weeks being totally inactive and stuffing yourself with chips – you’ll come back feeling tired and bloated. It makes far more sense to use the opportunity to exercise in different ways in different surroundings.

This summer we’re going to Gozo and I shall be combining work and play – I especially need to keep in shape this summer as I have filming for my new series of fitness DVDs when I get back. I have lots of favourite ways to do this out there – the beach is a half hour walk from the house for a start (for those of you that have to climb down a cliff to get to the beach you’re even luckier!). When we get to the beach, the inflatables we use (a Mantaray and a Killer Whale) were craftily chosen by me to be difficult to get onto – plenty of exercise is obtained through repeated climbing on and falling offs!

Big Girl will come training along the beach with me – usually either an early morning power walk or run-walk combined with circuits on the beach (incorporating wave jumping etc). Walking knee deep in the water along the shoreline for a mile to buy healthy snacks is a fantastic cooling exercise.

I also find that digging myself out of live buriel in the sand by the kids provides quite a lot of exercise!

Every evening we might even round off the day with a game of frisbee or rounders on the beach.

Away from the beach, we always go Self Catering so that I can make sure we eat healthily. Around the house itself, I’ve devised cunning plans to keep us in shape – every other day we do a 20 minute circuit round the house and I wear pads on my feet to polish the floor – it looks a bit as though I’m auditioning for ‘Dancing on Ice’ but it definitely gets me moving!

Latitude festival

July 26th, 2013

The sun is shining and Festival Season is upon us! we’ve just returned from the wonderful ‘Latitude’ festival in Suffolk – it bills itself as ‘more than just a music festival’ and it certainly was – a mixture of music, theatre, comedy, caberet and dance to name just a few. I would describe it as totally magical – from the pink painted sheep to the woods lit up at night.

It was the kid’s first festival and to be honest I was a bit apprehensive about taking them but needn’t have been as it was SO family friendly – they were able to experience a new level of freedom as it was such a safe environment – in fact Eldest Maxwell and her friend would disappear off on their own for most of each day.

I was also able to experience something totally new – a ‘She Wee’! For the uninitiated among you, this is a disposable plastic contraption that allows us ladies to use a urinal. I have to say it was one of the weirdest experiences of my life – I won’t go into to much detail but in short it involved standing on tiptoes to wee frontways into a trough in a ‘shower cubicle’ needless to say I made a complete hash of it – it’s definitely a technique that needs a lot of practise – perhaps I should incorporate it into my Pelvic Floor routine?

Anyway, moving swiftly back to the festival… we didn’t get much sleep (the music went on until 3am) but I was expecting that and we would have Siestas with earplugs every afternoon before all the events started at 4pm. I did find sleeping on an airbed hard going and every morning I would wake up really stiff as if I’d done a really heavy workout the day before. I spotted some other fit looking people around the site in the morning doing their stretches, on chatting to them I found that they were all experiencing the same thing – it’s interesting that if you train regularly you really do notice inactivity!

However – on the whole we managed to keep quite healthy. We would have a big breakfast every morning (cooked on our gas burner which decided to die on us half way through and we had to buy another) but during the day the selection and quality of food on offer was amazing. We got a fair amount of exercise as we were on the go the whole time – either walking between Arenas or jumping up and down to the music. We even took part in a dance lesson at one stage in a bid to improve our Saturday Night Fever routine.

I even switched from wine to cider (it was organic though, wink!)

The System magazine

July 12th, 2013

For a while now, I’ve been writing articles for the family fitness magazine ‘The System’ (if there are any PTs reading this blog, the magazine is always on the lookout for new articles). Please contact Steve via his website www.stevegreenfitness.co.uk  to get your free copy or to submit as article.

This wonderful freebie is edited by one of the best conditioning coaches in the world, Steve Green who has trained some of the Greats: Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and … Cliff Richard. Steve has always been a hero of mine, I have learnt a huge amount from him over the years and it’s wonderful to see that his fitpack system is taking off in schools and showing kids how to exercise in a fun, safe way.

I remember back when I lived in London I used to watch him training Cliff on Wimbledon Common. Cliff would appear at the beginning of the session looking pristine in super clean whites and reappear an hour later looking like the Swamp Monster! The training worked though – at the time Cliff was playing Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights and he did actually look rather hunky – I have to say though that for me, nothing beats Colin Firth and his dripping shirt.

As many of you will know, a couple of years ago I got togther with Life Coach Jacqui Ripley to write our very successful first book “the Little Exercise Book for a Flat Tummy’.

We were amazed by the the great feedback we received, this is what Jane from Reading a 48 year old mother of 3 told us: “I’m not very good on the computer and have never bought an ebook before, so was a bit scared to buy it in case I messed it up! I wanted to write to say thank you to both experts – the way everything was explained was fantastic, it made me feel normal, understood and not patronised. I am doing the exercises and have changed my eating habits. I’m now 12 kilo’s lighter and my tummy is almost back to what it was all those years ago pre-pregnancy. “

Ann from Manchester wrote the following: “Great book, non patronising, simple to understand and quite frankly fantastic! I was really surprised at the quality and layout, especially as it was such a good price. I have bought ebooks before and they have been nothing like this! “

So Jacqui and I decided to write another one – this time focusing on that other great problem area – the bum!

Just like the tummy, the bottom is a part of the body that’s linked to self esteem, and if you are not prepared to put in some work, can easily slide southwards with too much sitting around and one eye off healthy eating. Paranoid backward glances in the mirror have fuelled a multi million pound industry in the selling of lotions and treatments that all profess to shape up a sad looking posterior. But sorry girls’, although we wish we could wave a magic wand and your butt would be world class, you really do have to kick some ass if you want a bum to be proud of
In our new ebook we give you your first steps on getting a wobbly and dimpled bottom firmer and your skin tone smoother. We don’t profess it’s going to be easy – some of the exercises will make your bum and legs ache, but stick with it and the results will begin to speak for themselves. And if you work in our healthy eating rules, before long you won’t recognise yourself from behind. What better motivation do you need?
You can download an edited extract for free from my website http://www.sarahmaxwell.co.uk/the_booty_bootcamp_edit.pdf (copy & paste link, can’t get it to link directly today)
The full eBook is a 3.2 Mb pdf file costing the special price of £1.99. Click on the front cover image www.sarahmaxwell.co.uk complete the PayPal payment and a download link will be emailed to you.

Happy bootcamping :)

Bloom Fitness Retreat

March 23rd, 2013

It’s the start of Spring- and of course it’s SNOWING! – I SO can’t wait to get to Majorca for this years ‘Fitness Retreat’ which is being held on the 8 – 13 May.  It’s going to be great – the venue is the Media Guru Lynne Frank’s amazing 17th Century Monastical house in Deia.  I did a pre-visit last April (well you’ve got to haven’t you) and I was just blown away – the place is STUNNING! It wasn’t just the incredible views of sea and mountains and the lush grounds full of lemon and orange groves, it was the surprisingly homely feel to the actual house that I fell in love with and made me feel totally relaxed from the moment I arrived.

Deliberately kept to a small number of ladies to ensure maximum comfort and results and also a convivial atmosphere, this will be a journey of total indulgence! No level of fitness is required – just a desire to embrace new ideas and an ability to have fun with other like-minded individuals. I want you to return lighter, energised and revitalised, ; ideas for your future wellbeing; exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home and delicious healthy recipes.  Speaking of food, I was blown away by that too – this is definitely not going to be a starvation boot camp – we’re talking delicious healthy snacks while meals are going to be devised by ‘nutritionist to the stars’ Jeannette Jackson and cooked by Lynne’s local chef.

So ladies – this will be a real treat of a retreat! but hurry as there are only 8 places available  More details and a link to book are on my Retreats page www.sarahmaxwell.co.uk/retreats.ph

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