At Champneys, we’re serious about helping you change old habits and to lose weight. Our experts are on hand to guide guests through the psychology of weight loss; giving you practical ways to break habits, eliminate cravings and stop self-sabotage. Here, we caught up with health and fitness guru Alex Chaple.

Alex, your Two-Night Fat Loss retreat launches at Champneys Forest Mere in June, what can you tell us about that?

Under normal circumstances, no one would argue the workings of a combustion engine with a physicist over dinner, just as no one would debate the precise point of an incision with a heart surgeon. However, nutrition is a hot topic in almost every magazine, on every television channel and radio station. There are so many different opinions and conflicting information on the right/wrong way to lose body fat. Everyone is now an expert and has an opinion to share. It’s so confusing to even begin to understand how fat loss is truly and sustainably achieved! My two-night retreat is designed to shed light on this issue; to bust myths, clear up out-dated “facts” and help guests understand how fat loss really works - what we know for sure.

You focus on both effective eating and effective training… what is the connection?

You need both the correct nutrition and exercise programme to build the body you want. Eating well and exercising properly are two parts of a three-part puzzle. The only thing of equal importance to great health is of course great sleep quality. My retreat will explain all three pieces of the puzzle and help you understand how to control all three in the long-term to ensure a lean, healthy body.

You talk about breaking down myths. What are the top three myths that you bust?

#1 Eating fat makes you fat.

A myth from the early 80s that heart disease, diabetes and obesity are caused by eating fat and, in particular, saturated fat. Just hearing the words “saturated fat” we automatically think; artery clogging, deadly stuff to be avoided at all costs; the “bad” stuff. I will show you how to use fat to help speed up the fat loss process.

#2 In order to lose body fat you must reduce your calories.

The idea that fat loss = energy in minus energy out, might work well for a piece of machinery, but certainly not for your body. There are so many variables that must be considered to the fat loss process, far more important that simple energy balance. I will show, in a way that is easy to understand and action, that your efforts are far better placed elsewhere. No calorie counting required.

#3 Cardiovascular exercise and the “fat burning zone”.

Aerobics, cycling classes and endurance has dominated the mainstream exercise channels. Gyms are lined wall-to-wall with cardiovascular equipment and the most popular fitness classes offer a “cardiovascular workout” that keeps your heart rate in the “fat burning zone”. Science has shown clearly for decades that aerobic work is absolutely not the best way to induce fat loss. I will show you how to effectively use resistance training and ‘true’ high intensity interval training (not “30-seconds fast, followed by 30-seconds slow”) to induce the most efficient fat loss effect. The way we exercise can be dramatically improved to speed up the process.

You also aim to eradicate the confusion around fat loss. Why is there such confusion around such topics?

The answer to this is two-fold. First, because fat loss is a subject that interests almost everyone in the western world, there are millions upon millions of people reading, watching and listening to different opinions every day. There are more books, plans and methods that promise you will lose fat quickly than I can count. “Too many cooks…”

Second, there is a lot of money to be made in creating a fat loss programme and rolling it out on mass. The issue is that your programme must be different to all the others in order for it to sell. Therefore, we end up with hundreds of methods, each different to the next and often in opposition to one another. Is it any wonder we are so confused?   

What are the main reasons people struggle to lose fat? And what advice would you give?

We have come so far from the truth that people don’t understand the basics anymore. My two-night retreat will clear the smoke and outline how one should eat and exercise if fat loss and general health is your goal. In fact, I will explain how the human body was essentially designed to eat and train!

I will help you understand a simple set of guidelines to direct your dietary choices and give examples of exercise programmes that really work, with no frills. I warn you, the correct answers to losing fat are not always the most convenient or easy or cheap. I can promise you however that you will leave understanding exactly what you can do, the very next day, to make huge progress in your body composition. You will feel far less confused and far more empowered.

Is the real goal to drop body fat percentage rather than weight?

Absolutely! Your total weight is relatively meaningless, unless you have substantial amounts of body fat to lose (in which case the scales can be a good general guide). However, if you are trying to lose a bit of fat and change your shape, your total weight is not a great indicator of real progress.

I encourage people to track different metrics once they are within reach of their goal. Circumferences, dress sizes, pictures and body fat percentage are by far the better choice in monitoring progress.

This is your first retreat with Champneys. Are you excited by the partnership?

I couldn’t be happier! The service that guests at Champneys receive is second to none and their long-standing ethos of health and fitness as a priority mirrors my own. The luxury and comfort they provide at each resort is of course a wonderful added bonus!

Alex’s Two-Night Fat Loss retreat starts on 9th June 2017 at Champneys Forest Mere. For more information click here