By Lisa O’Neill
WHILE THE ROYAL SHOW TOOK OVER OUR HALLOWED TRAINING GROUND AND ROB AND MAX GUIDED MEMBERS THROUGH A VARIATION OF BODY WEIGHTS AND STRETCHING SESSIONS, RYAN AND AYRTON HOSTED TEN MEMBERS ON AN EPIC SIX DAYS OF FITNESS, FUN AND ZEN AT THE INAUGURAL BBR BALI RETREAT IN SEPTEMBER. WE SPOKE WITH GYM LEGEND RACH TAYLOR ON HER EXPERIENCE, WHY SHE ATTENDED (AND GOT A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN SHE EXPECTED) AND WHY SHE’S RACING EVERYONE TO JUMP ON BOARD NEXT YEAR’S RETREAT. SAVE UP YOUR DOLLARS, BECAUSE RACH’S VERSION OF EVENTS WILL HAVE YOU BOOKING YOUR BABYSITTERS OR YOUR TIME OFF WORK AND MAKING IT HAPPEN BECAUSE YOU DESERVE A CHANCE TO FOCUS ON YOU, TOO.
BBR: Rach, you’re one of the strongest members at Bodies by Ryan and plenty of us try to keep up with you… so what convinced you to do the inaugural Bodies by Ryan retreat?
RT: I’ve never actually been on a fitness or yoga retreat before despite looking into it, but I’ve trained with Ryan since January and knowing the quality of trainers, you know you’re going to get that level of service we get every day at the gym but in a smaller group that’s really focused. I went totally by myself, but I knew the culture created by Ryan meant it didn’t matter that I didn’t really know the other members going very well. Ryan has a great way of creating dynamic in a group because he’s open, enthusiastic and friendly, so I was really comfortable going to his retreat knowing it would be fun.
BBR: What did you hope to get out of the retreat?
RT: My life is really, really, really frenetic and work had been insane. I’d had a three-month patch of really full on stuff going on at work and although I had maintained my health and fitness by training through that block, I just wanted some time to not be at work or being mum. It was really important for me to just chill out and focus on myself and my wellbeing. I didn’t go into it wanting to form new friendships, because my focus was so much on me and chilling the hell out. I wanted to come back feeling fit, healthy and strong but rested at the same time.
BBR: What were your days like… fill us in on all the pain Ryan put you through!
RT: Our days started with a 6am workout at Muscle Beach, one of Hotel Komune’s outdoor training areas. We joked it was Bikram HIIT sessions because you’re in this intense heat and you sweat so much! The sessions were similar in structure to what we do back in our normal HIIT classes, but longer with additional metabolic work. We were really challenged and got pushed to a pretty hard place, especially with the heat stress!
After that, we headed straight to the pool to get our body temperature back to normal before breakfast. Breakfast and lunch were both at Komune’s Health Hub, which was a stupendously amazing, healthy restaurant. The food was so beautiful and healthy, plus really aligned with the way BBR promotes eating.
At 10am, there was an optional Yin Yoga class which most of us went to. It was in a beachfront chalet, so with the ocean breeze flowing in over us as we did some really deep stretching and had some zen time, it really helped us recover both physically and mentally.
After lunch, there was an optional meditation session followed by a more active, Vinyasa style yoga session. Otherwise, we were lying by the pool with a book, hitting up the spa for massages or facials or even using the gym for some boxing or something that fun that gave us a light sweat.
Most afternoons, we headed to the beach club for a sunset drink and then we’d all have dinner together. On the first night, Ryan organised a welcome dinner in a beautiful, private area with insane Balinese sharing food which was a really special way to connect on the first night and set the tone for the retreat. A couple of nights we played charades, which at first sounded a bit lame (like, Ryan, mate – what are you thinking?!) but we were all in tears of laughter and it was really, really fun.
BBR: So you went to focus solely on you, but ended up spending a lot of time with other amazing BBR members…
RT: There’s plenty of time on the retreat to pull back and be alone if you want that and there’s no real structure about eating together, but we all wanted to. We ended up organising when we’d have lunch and sit there together, and end up chatting and laughing… and laughing and laughing! We ended up wanting to hang out together and I thought that going into it I wouldn’t want to do that because I was really there for me and to chill out, but then to have the social element was an added bonus. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was really cool to walk away with new friendships.
BBR: How did the venue, Hotel Komune, measure up?
RT: Komune is mindblowingly beautiful, it’s a pocket of absolute paradise. You need to go there!! When you hear it’s a resort, don’t imagine a tacky Nusa Dua Western chain hotel with fat families tucking into the buffets and hogging the pool lounges all day. You’re right on the Keramas surf break, so it attracts a lot of surfers and when you’re lying by the pool (post-workout, of course), you’re watching these unbelievable waves rolling in with really good surfers plus there’s a lot of people there for fitness and yoga, too. The hotel architecture is really understated, stylish and beautiful that pays respect to the landscape and the Balinese culture and there’s tropical lushness everywhere. There are multiple training areas (including Muscle Beach, a huge gym and the yoga chalet) and the Health Hub (where we had breakfast and lunch), which had amazing, healthy food that we all got really excited about each day. The staff members are really happy too, you can tell they really love working there. My room was amazing, so if you can afford it splash out on the beachfront pool villa. To see some pics, have a look at www.komuneresorts.com.
BR: Why should other BBR members book their spot on the 2019 retreats?
RT: Mostly, because it is so much fun, which is something I didn’t expect because I went into it so focused on my goals! Obviously, I’m jumping at the opportunity to do it again, so you can’t get a better recommendation than the fact I’m booking in again next year. Do it if you’re seeking out some time and space for yourself away from your normal routine to focus on your well-being, if you want to reset your thinking and pull back from your life a little bit. I don’t do lazy holidays, I love action every day so for me this was literally the perfect holiday – training, socialising and relaxing!
BBR: Any final tips for those laying down their deposit for next year?
RT: In the weeks leading up to the retreat, really think about what you want to get out if it then submit your intentions and goals to Ryan. I’m really goal-oriented and so I did it for myself. I think that’s really powerful and great to reflect back on at the end of the retreat. Whether it’s to chill the f$ck out or get stronger or whatever you’re looking for, set the intention and make it happen. As for me, I walked out of there feeling fitter and stronger and I was totally relaxed.
The next Bodies By Ryan Bali Retreat is currently set for May 2019, chat with Ryan for more information and to book your place.