Personal well being



Laurent Baldoni was born in France, raised in England and has lived in Spain for over 15 years. He has worked in the film industry since 2000 firstly as an Assistant Director and then as a Producer shooting big projects all over the world. 2 years ago he made a lifestyle choice and began organising wellbeing holidays. Plan B Escapes offer 5 day escapes nestled in the mountains near Tarragona with a highly-trained and enthusiastic team where you can work out or practice yoga, enjoy personal training and physiotherapy, eat delicious meals prepared by a live-in, organic chef and explore the natural beauty of the local area while staying in a traditional Spanish villa.


Some women return to exercise almost immediately after having a baby but for others it can be months or even years before they are able to incorporate exercise into their day. What advice to have for women who want to exercise but don’t know how to start?

It is understandable that it may seem daunting to try to find time to work out soon after having a baby, but the key thing to remember is that exercise does not necessarily mean going to a gym and losing an hour or two of your day. You can start with simple walking for around 20mins a day, 2 or 3 times a week. Then you can build up to gentle jogging even just around the block so as not to take up time on a busy schedule. One can easily start applying some load bearing work to generate overall muscle stimulation, all exercises that can be done at home with minimal hassle; press ups (which can be performed on the knees), squats/lunges for the legs and glutes, all the plank variations…20 to 30 mins 3 x weekly is enough and since these can be done from home it can easily be done even while the baby is awake! A TRX can offer a full body workout too and is really handy for home workouts. I just leave one hanging at home and if I’m to busy to head out to exercise I’ll just jump on it every now and then for a few minutes and it does the job.

It can be daunting to start an exercise routine after some time off. With an overwhelming choice of fitness programmes available how does one go about choosing the right one?

This is really very subjective and totally depends on the individual. Some people need to have someone pushing them and so a personal trainer coming round is a good option to kick start the process. That said, I’d refer back to the previous answer and say that the main thing would be to start with simple exercise that can be easily followed and are not too long in duration so it can easily be achieved rather than unrealistic goals that can easily sap one’s energy if they are not achieved. Walking is great way to exercise and will build up stamina in the early stages, then gradually up the tempo. Baby steps

Google is a great search engine to research basic movements to perform with good instruction through video and photos, it really is that easy. You can find simple home-based exercises that best suit you and that can best fit in to your specific schedule.

Catalunya is the perfect location for exercising outdoors – there are beaches, national parks and of course great weather. Are there benefits to working out outdoors?

There are many benefits of working outdoors. For the body there is the fresh air and an abundance of vitamin D through sun light which also helps release serotonin in the body inducing a feeling of happiness. For the mind, visual stimulation such as looking at the sea or beautiful trees in parks and woodland is far more rewarding and stimulating than a gym wall. Add the smell of the outdoors and the sounds of, say, birds chirping and all the senses are being stimulated. There are now so many groups offering various forms of outdoor functional training and, of course, if you go out and do it yourself or with a friend it’s completely free. I haven’t been to a gym in years!

Does hiking give you a full-body workout?

Hiking it a great form of exercise and again tends to simulate other senses as more often than not one tends to do it in rather beautiful surroundings adding to the overall sense of wellbeing. From a physical point of view it is an excellent form of aerobic exercise, burning plenty of calories, especially on the way up! Of course the legs and glutes are really pushed through the walking but we also use our arms, back and shoulder muscles as we help to propel the body up hills and with the ground often being very uneven we incorporate our core stabilisation muscles (transverse abdominals and obliques) to keep us standing upright.

How important is variety when exercising?

Generally it is important to vary your workout to ensure you don’t get bored and lose interest but also to prevent the body from adapting to the exercises. Surprising or ‘shocking’ the muscles ensures we get the best out of each training session. That said, soon after pregnancy one shouldn’t get too caught up in those details, any form of exercise is good for the body initially. As I mentioned before just walking is great – and if you want to give it that a little extra you can simply add light ankle and wrist weights while you walk. Once you’re back in the swing of it then you get a bit more specific, working different parts of the body on different days.

Mothers who are looking after little ones and/or working need lots of energy. What type of exercise and/or food would help to boost energy levels?

All forms of exercise increase our endorphins which give us energy when we require it and lifts our mood. Obviously the more intense the workout the greater effect the endorphins have but it is important to strike a balance. Mothers also use up a lot of energy so it is important not to overdo it on the workout. Your own body will tell you what you can and can’t manage. As a general point working out is a very personal thing and it will be far more effective to choose something you enjoy – and will therefore keep doing – rather than trying to force one kind of exercise or another into your life simply because it’s meant to be good for you.

In terms of food, a pre-workout food of some good fats (nuts) and a little low glycemic carbs (fruit, pasta, rice amongst others) will promote a nice controlled energy release and a good cup of coffee (not instant) will also give the metabolic rate a kick start, increasing our calorie usage) as well as an endorphin boost. In general a balanced diet, avoiding sugars especially, will help avoid energy crashes. And don’t be afraid of carbs!

What type of food is good to eat after a workout?

After a workout we need to consume a little fruit and plenty of protein which ensures we keep burning fat after the training session and strengthens any muscles that will have been used during the workout. If your specifically aiming for fat loss leave eating for 45mins after exercising while the body continues to burn calories.

Do you have tips for keeping motivated?

Ah, if only there were a magic answer Again this totally depends on the individual as we are all motivated by different things in different ways. I would reiterate the point about going step by step as it can be a little discouraging if you try to do too much too quickly and then fail to achieve your goals. Generally a fixed routine is the easiest way to keep on an exercise program but once more it is important to underline this does not mean hitting the gym for four hours every day of the week. It could be a 30min walk in the park Monday, a 20min jog on Wednesday and then 20mins at home Friday doing lunges, press-ups and sit ups, all very achievable and can be easily be made to fit around an existing busy schedule. Some people try to set a date to aim for, either a holiday or a special event, but the important thing is to do it in small, manageable bite size chunks initially. Set a plan for a week. Then for two weeks. Then step it up to a month and add in more challenging exercises. Also get your friends or partners involved to make it more fun.

How important is the balance between exercise, nutrition and sleep for personal well-being?

Exercise alone keeps the body working, healthy and fit and is very important in itself but a good diet is the key to success in terms of keeping in shape. Sleep is paramount as it is when the body recharges and burns fat. With regard to personal well-being the answer is in the question, it is personal. Well-being is not about being in top shape, it is what your body and mind tell you you need, so listen to yourself too not just the endless stream of advice being preached. Too many feel pressure to only eat certain things or train non-stop but well-being and happiness often come with a good balance, so just do what feels right for you. It is definitely true that eating lots of fatty food will make you feel lethargic but so will being miserable because you think you can’t have that chocolate pudding. Working out definitely perks you up, but overdoing it can lead to exhaustion, so find what works for you.

How important is finding a suitable work-life balance for personal well-being?

Very important! Especially in this day and age. Balance is the key to life so a work work work mind set is very unhealthy mentally and physically. When we are stressed and unrested we release cortisol which in small amounts is beneficial but in long sustained release attacks the body making us susceptible to viruses, fatigue, body fat gains and even organ failure. There is so much pressure these days to do/achieve/buy and it leads to a frightening level of burnout. Life is there for living and flies by in a flash if we don’t find time for ourselves. Regular breaks are really important to recharge the batteries and escape the daily pressures of life. Even with regard to a healthy lifestyle there are endless lists of things one ‘should’ do so it is really important just to find what works for you and not try to squeeze too many thing into an already busy life.

Next Escape will be 18th – 22nd May 2017 in Tarragona
A chance to unwind, keep fit and eat well – revitalise your body and mind.

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