Time’s up for the lad’s holiday. Why not try a yoga retreat?
With beer sales dropping off a cliff and the demise of Club 18-30, modern men are seeking out health-conscious, Instagram-friendly alternatives to the 'lads holiday'. What better way to escape the lingering stench of toxic masculinity than with a luxury yoga retreat? Dean Delandro, co-founder of Reset Retreats, explains why men should try meditating rather than mooning...
Prior to running yoga retreats, you were a financial markets trader. Did you burn out?
No, but it was certainly a ‘whirlwind experience’. The reason I got into finance was to do something that I loved; instead I ended up using a computer to take money from the financial markets and put it into the accounts of people who certainly weren’t in need of it.
How did you transition from fattening up bank accounts to slimming down humans?
After leaving investment, I decided that I wanted to help people. I had always done some form of training and had done some competitive fitness modelling. After spending a few months at the gym, I found myself waking up each morning with a new lease of life. I wasn’t chasing money anymore; instead, I was waking up and helping Mark get into shape for his wedding or Kate loose a few pounds for her birthday. Training people was far more rewarding than anything I’d ever experienced.
What sparked the idea for Reset Retreats and what’s the mission?
Fitness isn’t just about aesthetics. I realised that I needed more than four hours a week with a client if I was going to break deep-rooted habits. That’s when the concept of Reset Retreats was born. By transporting someone to a luxury villa for six nights, it breaks their routine and becomes the first step to putting them on a better trajectory.
What can I expect on a Reset Retreat? Is it all nut butter and gong baths?
Ha, no. It’s a mix of healthy food, exercise, yoga, meditation and mindset coaching. The idea of a retreat is to take some time out and focus on you. So, working out how to elevate your life by tackling the goals you’ve set out for yourself. Most people come back from holiday saying they need another holiday – we send you back feeling energised.
You charge upwards of £2,500 for a six night retreat, what do I get for that?
We never compromise on our locations and accommodation. Our most recent retreat was held Granada, Spain. The villa has six floors, two gyms, two swimming pools, a spa, a cinema, seven bedrooms and amazing views over the whole city. There’s also private chefs, a juice expert and a team of trainers on hand.
Ok, we’re in. But why not just take people to a muddy field and bark in their face?
We don’t take the bootcamp approach, so there’s no shouting, no military-style wake up calls, and no intense runs in the heat without water. Instead, we believe in coaching our guests to perform at their best.
And it’s easier to get people people excited about fitness in a five-star villa?
With 40,000 – 60,000 thoughts passing through our minds daily, resetting is not easy; how do we separate the important thoughts from the junk? Sorting through this mental jungle becomes a lot easier when you don’t have to think about the necessities of daily life. Yes, we have a team who waits on you hand and foot but the purpose of that it to free up the mental space to think about what you’re grateful for – and what you want to achieve.
Increasing numbers of men are choosing yoga over ‘macho’ training methods such as the Insanity Workout. Why is that?
Anyone who thinks that yoga is ‘for girls’ should try it. The first time I did yoga I found myself sweating more than I did doing a HITT (High Intensity Interval Training) class earlier that day. After a few weeks, I became obsessed with handstands and using the time be ‘present’, which means focusing your thoughts on how your body is reacting to the postures. Conquering difficult postures is surprisingly rewarding. And knackering.
Mindfulness is a key part of your retreats. Why is it so important?
Mind performance is key to organising your thoughts at the beginning of each day. I get up at 3.30am and my morning ritual consists of 20 minutes of writing down (actual pen and paper) everything that I’m grateful for. I know you’re thinking, ‘I don’t have time for that!’, but try it. It’s a great foundation for the day because whatever challenges you face will soon shrink away when you compare them to a list of everything you’ve already achieved.
There’s a lot of mixed messages in the media about body positivity. Why are plus-size models ‘good’, yet obesity is ‘bad’?
You have to look at it from the point of view of someone being very overweight: a plus size model is a more realistic target than a supermodel. With the growing obesity epidemic, its important to have role models like these. Men and women are developing bad relationships with food and exercise because they’re chasing the six packs and supermodel figures that they see in perfume ads. Being ‘body beautiful’ can – and should – mean different shapes and sizes. We need a spectrum of body types in the social eye to take pressure off and stop people chasing counter-productive goals.
Talking of unachievable goals, does your phone ring off the hook when Love Island starts?
With our partners following the accounts of their favourite fitness models or watching Love Island – basically a two month conversation about looks – it’s becoming harder for men not to compare themselves with people on TV or social media. It’s inevitable we will start critiquing ourselves and think, ‘I want a body like THAT guy.’ But while you may think you want to look like that person, you’re actually chasing a feeling. For example, that moment when they take their top off on the beach to mental applause. I believe you can achieve that feeling without looking getting an eight pack. Working towards that feeling is less narcissistic, too.
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