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"I thought my holiday would be good but I was unprepared for how brilliant I would feel by the end of the week..."

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24.09.17

Harpers Bazaar reviews fitscape

Fitness (and fine dining) in Morocco by Liza Campbell

An hour’s drive beyond Marrakech, this modern mud-fortress is perched on a steep crag overlooking the desolate valley. The place is stunning, with huge bedrooms and elegant sitting rooms off two shady courtyards. Upon arrival, waiters materialised with trays of dates and pomegranate juice to revive us while we met our three trainers. Friendly and enthusiastic, they suggested we immediately do some exercise. All I wanted was to shower and collapse, but the 12 other guests nodded their heads enthusiastically and we trooped out to the terrace to play running catch with a dozen enormous oranges. I have a chronic resistance to team games, but I was here to give everything a go. I took an orange and lobbed it straight into a tiny woman’s chest, winding her. Socially, it was a poor start.

Not having had anything that could be described as an exercise routine, I had gone for three morning runs in preparation for this Fitscape week in Morocco. For seven days we were to follow a programme of runs, hikes, bike rides, core work, swimming-pool workouts, boxercise and cardio thingys. We could do as little or as much as we wanted. Although a large part of me was clamouring to hide in my bedroom, it seemed wrong-headed and wasteful, so I did everything aside from early-morning runs.

It sounds like an oxymoron, but Fitscape is a new luxury boot-camp. Created by Kathryn Brown, who runs the successful In:spa detox retreats in Tuscany, Seville and Ibiza, Fitscape is a more gung-ho affair. The formula for this inaugural week was hectic exercise, delicious food and wine, but not one yoga class.

Never having done anything like this, I had many revelations. The first was that training is always tough – not just for me, but for fit people, too. The second is that it’s easier doing it with others and there really is a pay-off: I felt fantastic. The third is that a week of this can make a real impact. I’m now far more conscious about what I put in my mouth, and amazingly, I run most days.

If I can do this, anyone can, and I highly recommend it. There was nothing nicer than to return to my beautiful room, put on some music and rest my exhausted body in a bath, gazing across the valley at shepherds bringing their flocks off the mountain, and knowing something mind-blowingly delicious was waiting downstairs.

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