It is a country I have visited a fair few times in my life and I write this knowing I will return again, with more places in mind I want to see. Sangria, sunshine and fairly inexpensive flights create a continued appeal I am not alone in experiencing.
One thing I’ve never been to Spain for — or anywhere for that matter — is exercise, my usual consumption of sangria distracts from it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very into my fitness and will happily visit a hotel gym, once or twice, but when I’m away this isn’t the first thing on my mind. The result is something I’m sure many can relate to, returning home feeling very out of shape after overindulging. Cue the hilarious office quip: “I need another holiday.”
I have toyed with the idea of booking myself into a health retreat, but the thought of a five-day juice detox just sounds like starvation and I refuse to stay awake past midday without coffee. Similarly unappealing is a bootcamp as they seem a little too intense and something I genuinely would need another holiday to recover from.
My “a ha” moment came upon discovering Club la Santa in Lanzarote. Not only does it promise year-round sunshine (20 degrees with no more than three days of rain a month during “winter”), but has extensive sports and athletics facilities, water sports and a lengthy timetable of classes you can pick and choose from, along with several restaurants and bars where you can eat and drink at your will, without judgement.
A healthy vacation
I visited in mid-December and experienced four days of sunshine. Arriving around 2pm after an early flight to 23-degree heat, made lying by the pool a much bigger temptation than throwing myself into the endless options for exercise. When it came to healthy eating, that evening I took the ‘Pasta Night’ at Atlantico Restaurant as a sign from above to load up on carbs ready for the next three days.
The following morning kicked off 48-hours of almost constant exercise. As well as a morning run which many guests come together for (I opted for the 3km distance, to reserve my energy for the day ahead), I joined eight classes over two days. There are all of the familiar favourites — Pilates, Yoga, CrossFit, BodyPump and Body Attack — as well as some more unusual options.
Aerial Strength uses circus silks to enable you to position and stretch your body (I hung upside down in several positions), while Bungee Superfly is a workout completed while in a harness attached to the ceiling, in which you use your strength to pull your body this way and that, or flying through the air stretching the bungee cords.
These were my two favourites. They gave me the greatest sense of achievement despite being the least strenuous — although throwing myself around in a harness was definitely a strain on my groin and hips, which in turn left me in more pain than any of the weights, abs and never ending burpees I did elsewhere.
While doing so much exercise in such a short time showed me how much my body was capable of and that I am much fitter than I give myself credit for, my other half returned home with a fair few aches and pains — but a new determination to improve his fitness.
Many guests are frequent visitors who are evidently very into sports and fitness, and might assume you are too (one lady asked me what my sport was, to which my partner kindly replied: “eating”.). But it is clear there are others like me who enjoy fitness and are happy to add more of it into a holiday. You can do as much or as little as you want so activities should definitely be taken at your own pace — you won’t be alone spending a day sunning by the pool.
On my final day I considered heading to the lagoon for some stand up paddle boarding, while my partner pondered the idea of playing some golf, but in the end we checked out early and drove to a beach on the south coast. I lay in the sun sipping sangria and revelled in the fact my short break had felt much longer than four days and I felt thoroughly renewed, if not a little sore from that damn harness.