Where the brave go, part 2 – Sara Kessel, well-being expert and performance coach puts The Performance Retreat to the test

Where the brave go – part 2


By Sara Kessel

Extraordinary retreats for high performers

As I walk down into the Dojo, I can’t help feeling nervous and curious – Johan a gold medalist in competitive sport is built like a Greek God with fighter agility. How the hell am I going to train with this man he is 3 times my size I think, as he helps me on with my gloves. But after shaking off my nerves I focus and get ready and then as if by magic an incredible training session begins.  Johan knows exactly where I need to be encouraged, pushed & challenged and also where he needs to give me space to breath and hold back. We connect and I laugh….

Johans methods for working out is individually designed for each client


My voice literally roars

“Breathe’ he says- and so I shout, and I exhale and find myself totally and utterly in my zone. It is exhilarating as I let the tigress out in me. My voice that I have swallowed over these last few months literally roars- Johan’s eyes light up and we both know it is “game” on, as I crack at the pads again and again.

After a cool down he takes me to the mat where I am to do a kind of Tabata. Two minutes on each station. Full press- ups, box jumps, loaded squats and weighted lateral twists. By the time I have finished I am hot exhausted and utterly happy.

Working out with Johan is challenging but at the same time this man knows exactly how to get you motivated


The warrior in me

36 press ups straight, I will have you know, is apparently quite impressive for a tiny girl like me. I feel a glow of pride in what my body can do- as if it’s woken up from a winter slumber and I acknowledge- with Johan’s encouragement – the warrior in me. I feel alive, ready and up for anything.

Nice one I say to Johan as we high 5. He just smiles- knowing that together we have gone to where I belong. We cool down with some stretches, breath and then head upstairs- relaxed, happy and very hungry.


Food is deeply integrated within their program

I wrap up warm and meet Johan and Bitten out on one of their pretty terraces. It’s cold but sunny and it’s amazing to feel the warmth within my body from the work as I tuck guilt free into an incredible feast designed purely for my blood type and my bodies current needs.

Lunch is served in one of their beautiful terraces


Food at TPR is used to energize and heal and is deeply integrated within their program. It is beautiful and delicious in equal measures and Bitten has done an amazing job of creating these bespoke menus single handedly. Her passion and drive come from the fact that we can find everything our bodies need to support us and heal from nature.

The Performance Retreat has a tranquil feel everywhere you look

Food as medicine

“Food really is our medicine.” As I look at her sparkling eyes and glowing skin, I know she is on the right path. Personally, I have always been into clean and intuitive eating but I had no idea that as an ‘A’ blood type I have the perfect digestive system set up to extract proteins from vegetables- meat will actually stagnate in me and I will have less energy.

This makes sense as I look back on my years as a vegetarian when I had more energy after eating. So, after a truly satisfying meal and a commitment to cut out the animal protein I am to meet Johan in the retreat’s ‘HQ’, a place where over the next few days I will start to discover and understand their secrets even more and a place where I will be both challenged in body and mind.

to be continued…..

1 Comment
  • Iura
    Posted at 13:09h, 22 April Reply

    Absolutely amazing !

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