Overseas fitness bootcamps were amongst the most popular summer travel trends of 2019. The Executive Magazine visited the French Riviera’s most high end health experience, Body Tonic, to find out more.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most obsessive image junky of them all?

The answer may surprise you as, even in the age of millennial social media addiction, in the UK it’s financially successful men aged 30-45 that care more about their image than any other demographic. They just don’t want anyone to know this.

Naturally, we took it upon ourselves to investigate further.

Studies have shown that, contrary to how successful 30-45 year old men in business like to present themselves as secure and confident beings, they are actually the group that secretly looks at their own reflection more than any other, and who are most likely to believe that personal presentation is “critical to career success”. It’s with good reason, too, as it’s proven that the healthier we are the more we earn, and the more career progression we have – bonuses and promotions are the reward for that healthy glow.

Because of this they’re also the people spending more on luxury fitness travel than any other, so The Executive Magazine headed off to the South of France to see for ourselves why getting out of town to get into shape is more effective.

Body Tonic is the luxury fitness retreat hosted at Chateau Lou Casteou, located in a green and pleasant nook on the Côte d’Azur.

Just a short transfer from Nice, the stunning chateau looks out across the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean on one side and the stunning Esteral mountains the other, with the original 1904 features lovingly recreated by the owner and entrepreneur behind its successful restoration, Morag McLaren Baxter.

If the idea of working out hard in shaded courtyards, sculpted gardens and ornate French hallways sounds like a somewhat unusual fitness experience, then that’s exactly what it is, but McLaren Baxter’s vision has created a place perfect for recalibrating and recharging your personal health.

Fitness consultations start in advance of travel, so by the time we arrive our personalised plan is ready, alongside our individual menus from the outstanding full time chef.

Over welcome drinks we meet the fitness team, led by the knowledgable and hard-pushing David Higgins. We are also introduced to the dozen or so other people on the retreat, who are also seeking big results, as well as time to enjoy the glorious weather and surroundings.

It’s then into lunch, and a chance to review our personal programmes. It’s noticeable how much time and effort have gone into making this count for each person’s goals and needs, but also how cleverly crafted the activities are to make it as enjoyable and motivating as possible.

Despite the spectacular location, the programmes rely mainly on equipment you’ll find in any gym, or simple activity you can easily recreate outdoors in your local park. The mixture of personal and group workouts also provides options to keep things interesting.

And then so starts a five day programme that is pitched quite carefully at being hardcore enough to see real results.

Highlights included kettle bell classes in the footsteps of the mountains, boxing classes in the courtyard garden, and hikes to the beach, where we took out kayaks across the sometimes choppy bay. Evenings were kept fresh and moving through the inspired idea of including an excellent salsa teacher within the fit team.

It would be remiss to also not focus on the sensational food served across the week, with a first class team delivering fresh local food in a series of highly creative menus, providing the protein and energy needed to maximise results, but never at the forfeiture of taste.

However, this kind of break is about quality of experience and results, and Body Tonic excels here. Significant weight loss, muscle mass and definition, and cardio improvements were all achieved in the timeframe – with enough time spent with understanding why these occurred, to ensure programmes could be taken home to create long term change.

Body Tonic is a leader in European sunshine luxury fitness breaks for a reason, and whether you’re seeking a life changing fitness experience, or a chance to press the reset button on your health we couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

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