With isolated beaches, a glamorous coastline and some of the world’s best night life, Ibiza is certainly known as Spain’s party capital. However, with a growing collection of health promoting hotels, the Mediterranean island is on its way to becoming a wellness destination, with visitors trading in the dance floor for yoga mats and nutritional consultations.
Talking to James Davis (pictured below), the co-founder of 38° North, we find out how his wellness holiday company has found its niche within the energy-heaving community.
Why did you choose Ibiza as a location?
I'd been coming to Ibiza since the mid-90s, and spent a few summers working over here in a previous existence as a journalist. The island just kept drawing me back year after year, and of course, it's a great place to party, but it has so much else to offer, such as stunning coastlines, pine forests, hiking trails, and secret beaches. There is also a great energy here. When we started, people said we were mad to offer fitness in Ibiza, but now we're busier than ever and more and more fitness breaks are springing up.
What's the inspiration behind 38° North?
Travel and fitness have been dual passions of mine. I was fortunate that my parents lived and travelled abroad in various places, and so I caught the travel bug from an early age. I also became interested in a wide variety of sports, which combined with a 9 month round the world trip I did in 2009, inspired the idea for 38° North. I wanted to combine outdoor activities and fitness in an inspiring location, and Ibiza fitted the bill.
What are the benefits of combining a fitness course in a holiday setting?
Going on holiday to train takes away the usual everyday distractions and provides an opportunity to really focus on your "me" time- something that can be hard to do at home. We encourage people to focus on the reason that they’re with us, and to challenge themselves rather than being in competition with anyone else. Ultimately we're all on a personal journey and it's important to remember that. In a holiday setting you can drop your day-to-day cares and really focus on yourself as everything to do with the training is arranged for you. It's also massively inspiring to train outdoors in nature, and to experience the stunning beauty the island of Ibiza has to offer.
What’s hot at the moment & what are your most popular programmes?
Our most popular programme is our Optimal Fitness, which is a 6-day group break. Our whole philosophy is based around working out smarter, reconnecting with nature, and challenging the body by moving in different ways, in particular targeting the core, which tends to be weak for a lot of people. The Optimal Fitness combines a really wide range of activities to challenge the body and to get people interested in a form of exercise they love and want to continue with when they get home. Our message is that fitness doesn't have to be a chore; it can and should be something you look forward to. Typically, we'll include hiking, different yoga styles, Pilates, dance, kickboxing, boxing training, HIIT training, circuits, running, suspension training, stand up paddle boarding (SUP)... the list goes on. What's hot right now is SUP, and also functional style training like battle ropes, hammers, and kettlebells- activities that provide a really great work out using simple bits of kit.
Do you create bespoke training programmes?
Yes we do. As well as the group training, we also offer bespoke breaks where clients can focus on a particular specialty or else try a variety of different activities. We also offer a bespoke DNA Fitness Retreat, where we analyse your DNA and use the results, together with your training goals, to build you a training and nutrition programme that has been engineered to your unique genetic make-up.
What are your top tips for first-timer to Ibiza?
Make time to escape from it all and get out into the countryside, or deserted coastline- the island is really beautiful. One of the best ways to see Ibiza is by boat. 38° North frequently arranges private boat trips for clients, so we definitely suggest hopping over to Formentera for a real treat.