Pure Results Bootcamp in Ireland quickly garnered attention as Ireland’s premier fitness retreat – and with good reason. Created by Irish TV personality and adventurer Kathryn Thomas, known for her work on The Voice, Operation Transformation and No Frontiers, the boot camp showcases the best of Ireland’s beautiful rugged landscapes while giving guests a chance to get in tip-top shape. CompareRetreats.com expert Roz McElwee, a pharmacist and avid runner, checked into the retreat for a weekend to give us the low-down on how effective the programme is.
The Johnstown Estate is a four-star country house, located only 35-minutes from Dublin’s vibrant city centre in County Meath. The 18th-century estate hosts 126 luxury rooms and 40 lodges, an award-winning spa and 20-metre swimming pool, 18 treatment rooms and a state-of-the-art gym. Pure Results additionally hosts retreats in County Mayo and County Kerry.
Cosy two-bedroom self-catering lodges over two floors situated adjacent to the hotel and ideal for groups, families and camps. The lodges are warm, and I was lucky enough to have a bath in my ensuite which was crucial after a day of activity. Check-in is from 12.30pm on Saturday (which tied in nicely with the fitness programme), and check-out at 12pm.
Headquarters is a gorgeous log cabin: just a few yards from the allocated lodges, it proved to be a great base. There are always trainers available to you, or you can chill out on the bean bags and listen to music. The kitchen also proved to be a highlight of my trip with the in-house chef on hand at all times to answer any queries regarding nutrition, recipes and fitness.
Portion sizes with regards to our meals were a total eye-opener to all: at first, myself and the other guests on the programme thought they might struggle on the limited portions over the course of the programme, but by day two everyone had accepted that they probably serve up too much on a daily basis.
All food provided was gluten free and so was very coeliac-friendly, which proved to be very important. I have my own preferences and even though I don’t eat fish, this was not an issue: Chef Gemma cooked up a delicious on-the-spot chickpea burger to replace the salmon and sweet potato fishcakes on the first day, and substituted hake with chicken for our curry on the last night.
People left with great snack ideas and lunch/dinner ideas. Personally, I really enjoyed learning and sharing recipe ideas, ingredients and superfood knowledge with my fellow guests. All the men at the camp came away with a new love for almond butter no less.
You’ll come away from a weekend at Pure Results as a lover of herbal tea, as it’s the only thing available apart from water to rehydrate. Spices were available too (to complement the herbal tea), and turmeric became the most popular given its anti-inflammatory properties.
Chef Gemma was incredible, serving up delicious food grounded in her own experience in the fitness world. She was always happy to answer any questions, and I sought out advice about meal prep and sports nutrition courses.
I experienced the weekend retreat. With great experience in the fitness industry, including an international dancer and soccer player, the team was always full of energy and positivity. They were also very approachable and happy to take any questions or make suggestions for change to training habits with a thorough consideration of personal mobility or injuries. Having had an impingement injury last year, I find that I struggle every now and then – I mentioned this in the forms and it was one of the first things they asked me about upon arrival. Thereafter staff members regularly checked in with me and modified exercises where the need arose.
There was a wide variety of classes on offer at Pure Results Bootcamp. Boxercise, Dance, Circuits, Stretch, BodySculpt, BodyBalance, 80s aerobics, Aqua Aerobics, Trail Run, Bums and Tums… no stone was left unturned. Many of these classes were new to several guests, with boxercise proving to be particularly popular. Personally, I have a new-found love for BodyBalance, and will certainly try to incorporate more stretching and yoga into my weekly routine. As I had expected though, the trail run was my favourite: setting out on a fresh Sunday morning, it was a great start to my week.
The programme ran as follows:
08:00 Arrival, breakfast
09:00 Introductions from team members
09:30 Partner workout
12:30 Check in to lodges
14:00 Motivation workshop
17:00 Body balance
19:30 Retire to lodges/leisure centre
07:00 Rise and shine
07:15 Aqua aerobics
09:30 Trail run
11:00: Bums and tums
12:00 Check out of lodges
12.:45 Food demo and Q&A with in-house chef
14:00 Move and groove
Expect to feel… reset. Overall, a great feel-good weekend. New habits were created, while bad habits were put on the back burner with the hope that they will slowly fade. I came away with a smile on my face, fire in my legs and a great ‘Fitbox’ which included recipes, resistance bands and some nutritious and healthy goodies. I can’t think of a better way to start the week – and free from Monday morning blues.