Feature – Fitness Adventures

Feature – Fitness Adventures

Looking to find new ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone? Then let Gymbox instructor Pierre Eiras talk you through his five favourite fitness adventures in the world.

Cliff Diving in Paradise Valley

I backpacked through Morocco for a surf trip, and found a little hippy town called Banana village (the bananas are unbelievable). Just inland there's an oasis called Paradise Valley that Jimi Hendrix tried to buy, back in the day, but the Moroccans were having none of it. Once you enter Paradise Valley you see these amazing pools of turquoise water (make sure you hike up to the first pool, locals usually cook and share homemade treats), ask how to get up the cliffs – and jump! Cross your legs in a pole position, hug your chest with one arm, and hold your nose and cover your mouth with the other hand so water doesn't rush in. PS: There's a tiny gold moon in the crystalline waters of the first pool of paradise valley, return it to me if you find it!

Bothy Winter Hiking

Scotland has amazing landscapes, especially the CairnGorm mountain range. Those wise Scots have bothies (old sheep herders huts) where you can find shelter in a snow storm, or during an icy nights. Harvest your own wood from fallen trees, build your fire, cook up something good (liquid marinade and good spices are essential), and you'll have some good adventures to share. You'll find previous hikers have left you some treats. I had a lovely dram or five of someone's homemade sloe gin – be sure to leave something tasty in return. Take a comforting book or playlist with you, as the wind might freak you out at 2am. Also, make you sure bring some walking poles – they help keep your body aligned and weight distribution even. I got caught on the spine of a mountain with 90mph winds with only 8 feet to the left and right of me, legs were strong enough for an unexpected burst of intense wind. If you wanna be hardcore, fill up a hiking pack 'til it's a bit heavier than what you will ideally bring, then hit the stair master at Gymbox and climb that sucker! Visualise the beauty your eyes will see if your legs don't give out. Layers of thin Marino wool will keep you warm in the winter, and a good quality backpack will keep you from wincing like a city slicker wuss.

Malibu Surf Sessions

I used to work long hours in recording studios for Hollywood divas, so I needed my hardcore morning burn. I threw my longboard on my car, cued up some Buffalo Springfield, and dove in by Malibu pier. Catch an early morning session with the locals, but respect the surfer code (don't cut in on someone's wave, don't linger if they are shredding a wave right at you, paddle!). You never know which pop singers you'll be sharing the waters with, or which actress will invite you to a party in the hills, just because you cheered her on to catch that wave. Work on those balance drills (join me at Gymbox for Surfset to do some peculiar drills) – get those thighs solid in a low wide squat, practice breathing in your head for front crawl.

Road Biking on the coast of Mallorca

Imagine picture perfect vistas of valley villages above you, cliff sides of chiseled rocks with pastel blue waters blurring into the horizon, as you rocket down a country road lined with lemon trees and stone cottages. Start in a tiny port town called Soller, rent a pedal race bike (20 euros for the day) and head south. Pedal through the perfumed air of olive rows and whispering leaves, listening to the soft hum of your bike gliding across the island. Naturally all those positive endorphins release giving a steady dose of pure bliss and adrenaline to keep those legs pumping up those beautiful mountains. Catch your breath and stop for a quick snack of Majorcan charcuterie through each town, which are just an hour ride from one another. Laugh until you snort with the locals, buy that beautiful spaniard a cerveza, and dance on the beach to the local folk music as you feel the ocean mist cleanse your skin.

Skiing in Montreal

I used to race against some of Canada's best, and when I'd get bored of the overly competitive racers, I would hit the terrain park to practice jumps, rails and halfpipes (imagine soaring through the air 10 feet off the ground). Ducking into the backcountry hills you can ski perfect powder (befriend the locals to find these gems), weaving between sun-drenched pine trees and discover the untouched hills which provide a private mountain range all to yourself. Practice wide squats, balance drills, mountain safety – and, of course, yodelling. The sounds of silence are even more beautiful than Simon & Garfunkle could sing it.

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