One of Europe’s most immersive fitness retreats, 38ºN (38 Degrees North) takes a holistic, results-driven approach to healthy lifestyles. The Ibiza and Marbella programmes begin from the moment you arrive and are designed to last a lifetime, with their recommendations and habit curbs to prolong the experience. For co-founder James Davis, fitness and self-care are embedded in his everyday routine. We speak to James on his first healthy holiday hiking in Morocco, what makes Ibiza a perfect wellness destination and the 80/20 rule.
What was your first healthy holiday experience? I’d say that my first healthy holiday was when I went on a surfing and yoga holiday to Morocco, which was a fantastic experience. I was more into the surfing than the yoga, but it was a total change of scene and I finished by hiking in the Atlas Mountains.
How do you reboot after a hectic week? Self-care is so important. I’m careful to monitor myself throughout the week, and at the weekend, because Claire and I work together, we’ll always block at least one weekend day out with no work. Usually, we’ll go for an early morning run or take a long walk over Hampstead Heath to get out into nature.
Who are your role models and why? Wow, that’s a tough one, I have so many. I read a lot of Osho and Alan Watts, I really believe in making the most of now, surrendering to uncertainty and enjoying this crazy ride of life.
What was the incentive behind opening this resort? We’ve been working with Puente Romano Marbella for I think 6 years now. We were looking for a year-round destination to supplement Ibiza, that was within easy reach of the UK, and that had great facilities and great service. Puente Romano ticks all those boxes and it’s our favourite place to run our retreats. The resort and the team there are fantastic.
What do you hope guests will take away from their stay? We’re not looking for dramatic physical changes over the course of a long weekend. What we’re installing is the mindset and tools for sustainable change. So many of our retreat clients go on to work with us as coaching clients to build on what they’ve learnt on the retreats. Likewise, many coaching clients come to the retreats to connect with us and get some face to face time.
What sets this resort and the retreats you offer apart from the rest? Our background and approach sets us apart. Between us, Claire and I have experience and qualifications spanning psychology, stress management, NLP, coaching, hormones, nutrition, and we pull all of this together to look at how an individual can work holistically with all aspects of themselves: mind, body, spirit, to make lasting changes for a healthier, happier life.
What are the crucial factors involved in implementing a successful healthy lifestyle change? People get this so wrong! So often we’ll focus on what we call the “external”: the diet, the workout… in fact lasting change is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics. This is why we focus so much on the “internal”, shifting limiting beliefs, deep-diving into the emotion of why we want change, accepting risk, building a positive mindset.
What does true balance look like? True balance is about being happy with all aspects of yourself. It’s a tightrope to walk, no doubt about that, but it is possible. The key is to be aware of your thought patterns and triggers. Once you are in your element, you can anticipate where you are and make adjustments that keep you balanced and happy. We always apply the 80/20 rule. Do the healthy thing 80% of the time, let your hair down 20% of the time. That way you won’t pendulum swing and you’re not harbouring resentment over restricting yourself and you’ll still get the results you’re after while remaining happy with life.
How do you remain aware and mindful of your thoughts and catch yourself when you’re in a negative thought pattern? I have a morning routine of gratitude that I do every morning without fail. It’s short but it keeps me present and positive. When I feel negativity coming, I’ll double down on that, plus go to a few other tools in my armoury that we share with clients. As humans we tend to catastrophise—we imagine the worst possible outcome. We can challenge this by asking ourselves (and the sub-conscious loves questions), “is it really true?”. Once we step back and rationalise, we can see more clearly and move forward with confidence.