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Spotlight on Hula Wellness

'We can't look after the planet, if we aren't looking after ourselves...'

The conversation around health and wellness has, quite rightly, has been getting louder and louder, especially throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. This week we speak to Gaby at @healthandfitnessretreat, and most recently, the newly launched @hula_wellness about the importance of fitness and wellness within yacht crew.

Fitness has a massive global reach and is a unique opportunity to positively influence behaviour, including how a simple switch such as walking instead of taxing a taxi all adds up to positive change when it comes to sustainability.

Firstly, we would love for you to tell us a bit about how you got into fitness, become qualified PT’s and what drove you to set up @healthandfitnessretreat?

Both of us have always been active and sporty playing team sports at school and university. I think that like many, when you join yachts there are many temptations! Both from the sweet cupboard and the bar! Travelling to so many beautiful places around the world also gives you an opportunity to explore and running is a great way to see more in less time. Over the years we realised that as a yachtie we have extra hours in a day that "normal" people don't have! We don't commute, we don't have to cook our dinner and we don't have to go shopping. We decided to use this extra time to better ourselves, this started off by doing our level 2 personal training, from there I completed my nutrition courses and most recently our Level 3 personal training. The Fitness Retreat was born out of all the things we have seen and done as we move around the world on a yacht. As I said, yachting gives great possibilities and great lifestyle opportunities . We are in beautiful places, idyllic weather and great equipment to use and that has really shaped our view on life and our business. We want to help people make the most of their natural environment, be it paddleboarding, boot camps, hiking or even doing workouts in our tiny cabins!

At Seastainable we want to tackle sustainability as a whole, it isn’t just about the environment, but also ensuring in our industry that we are sustaining crew welfare & morale onboard, could you tell us a bit about fitness could help crew do this?

This is so accurate and I have been so surprised at the effect fitness has had on our crew as a whole. I should start by saying that our captain has been kind enough to allow us to start work at 0900 if we are exercising in the morning which has really helped get people involved. We started running bootcamps for our crew at the start of this lockdown. Very quickly it transformed our crew! Day one built some team cohesion as we all had a common goal, each session brings team unity, crew are much more alive and energised through the day and because they know they have training the next morning we have much less mid-week drinks evening which has huge mental and physical health benefits. I couldn't recommend this more, productivity has shot up and the boat is a much happier place.

Global lockdowns have had a big impact on crew not being able to continue with their normal activities, we’ve seen a big increase in motivation for fitness - how can you help crew workout when stuck onboard?

Absolutely. Lockdowns have created a lot of chaos around the world but they have also given some people a chance to slow down and look at what they want from their lives. Personal health and wellbeing seems to have been given a chance to come to the forefront of people minds. We post weekly workouts on our Instagram page @healthandfitnessretreat all of which aim to use little to no equipment and be done in a small space, ideal for training onboard or at home. My advice would be to schedule your day to make sure you include the things that are most important to you. For me this would mean ensuring that I have 20 mins for coffee and reflection time as soon as I wake up, 45 mins scheduled for exercise and another 45 minutes to walk in the evening. Walking is such a great addition to your day, both physically and mentally it can do wonders. Hopefully you can get out and about for a walk but I have been known to do as much as 5km walking around our sundeck!

Fitness can be a hard habit for people to keep up - a bit like sticking to sustainable habits onboard - tell us your top tips for sticking to habits?

I couldn't agree more. My top tip is to make a training plan and make sure it's realistic. It's easy to make plans with the best of intentions but if you can't realistically stick to it then it's useless. I'd much prefer someone to commit to 5 mins workout and achieve it rather than say they were going to do an hour and never manage it. That is why we created our monthly challenges @healthandfitnessretreat. This month is to do 20 squats per day. It's easy to do and more often than not you'll end up doing more of a workout with it. Setting a minimum benchmark gives you something to focus on and a good tangible win each day!

We are loving your monthly challenges, what were your main reasons for starting these?

We have absolutely loved doing the monthly challenges and have been so glad to see so many yachts around the world getting involved. We started this as a way to get people moving, even if its just a little each day. We have taken so much pleasure in living fit lives and the research speaks for its self in terms of the mental and physical health benefits. We wanted to find a way to connect with they yachting community as a whole and bring something positive to the lockdown. We have just launched our new company HULA Wellness, HULA provides workout and lifestyle products specifically for yacht crew.Our first producs include premium quality HULA Loops (resistance bands) which are come in a mesh bag which is great for travel and including in your workouts, especially on a yacht with limited space and equipment. We also have HULA Hoodies and Tote bags. We know the limitations and frustrations of trying to stay fit onboard and we want to make this as easy as possible for crew around the world.

As yacht crew yourselves, we would love to know your view on sustainability and the future of the industry?

This is something that is very close to both our hearts. Not only is the beauty of the planet something we rely on for our jobs, it’s also what we rely on for our passions and hobbies. Yachting is a great industry but unfortunately it creates a lot of waste. In the future we will all need to be more economical with our resources and re use more effectively. As crew we need to lead the charge and put pressure on the Superyacht marinas to provide more recycling facilities and on each other to reuse and be conscious of the effect we are having on the wider world.

Thanks to @healthandfitnessretreat and their new venture, @hula_wellness. Check them out for workouts and tips and order your Hula loops today!

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