When you meet the owners of Inside Out Spain it is difficult to believe that only recently they were suffering from the effects of ill health, addiction and depression.
Nestled among the Bernia Mountains in the Lliber Region of the Costa Blanca, the resort provides the resources and support for anyone who wants to get their life on track. Looking at the stunning accommodation, breathtaking views and fabulous facilities it would be easy to think that they have found a great, pleasurable lifestyle – and that any talk of their stressful life is only what the rest of us “mere mortals” suffer on a daily basis.
Gareth Stubbs and Jeroen Coenen have taken stress to the extreme: two heart attacks, ruptured ulcers, alcohol and drug issues, attempted suicide, bipolar disorder, broken relationships and marriages, diabetes, blood pressure problems and absolutely no life balance at all were the tip of the iceberg.
But that was then and this is now. Gareth and Jeroen have both struggled with a life that challenged them on many levels – to the point that they lost much of what they had around them.
Not what you’d expect from two young men who have developed a passion for helping people to live healthy lives. Not just in terms of how they look, but also how they feel and think.
Inside Out Spain isn’t a health spa you go to for a quick fix and a nice break away from everything – although judging by the many testimonials on TripAdvisor, these things do happen. It’s more like a 7-day experience that creates a new journey for the rest of your life.
Gareth said: “If you had said to us five years ago that we would each find a friend who had such similar dreams, and together find the courage to make one of our biggest dreams a reality, we probably would have laughed at you. And if you had looked into our separate lives over a decade ago, opening a health resort probably would have been laughed at because the stresses and strains of everyday life were what ruled every decision we made.”
What the two of them are doing now is what they truly love – working closely with people to manage stress, return balance to their lives and radically improve their health and well-being.
The results speak for themselves. Testimonials state great changes for many of the visitors, with one regular visitor losing four stone in less than a year and completely changing his life – and health.
The programme doesn’t just involve juices and exercise, although that in itself provides an initial three-day detox. There are five different approaches to the week, each complementing the other, so that guests take home knowledge and a new way of thinking.
Gareth said: “We see it as having seven days to save someone’s life. They learn what scares them, what excites them and how to face up to the glass ceiling that is preventing them from being who they want to be.”
Jeroen said: “We have created a place to understand the power of possibility, stretch your limits and finally understand what it truly means to supercharge your life. It is a space where you can retreat from all the stress and distraction of the daily routine of life, get away from it all and find your home away from home.”
If there is one thing that they are passionate about at Inside Out Spain, then it is life, which for some people may seem like a vast word that conjures up all sorts of images. For them, the Inside Out Living Experience is about embracing what life is truly about – whatever that might mean for you.
Gareth said: “It is about breaking free from the excuses and labels that restrict us, hold us back and keep us stuck in that vicious cycle of never-ending dieting, weight-loss battles, stressful living and self-sabotaging bad habits. In a nutshell, the Inside Out Living philosophy is about real-life healthy living.”
But unlike specific weight-loss retreats, which Gareth and Jeroen are keen to point out is not their specific focus but more of a side effect, the philosophy is not about extremes and radical changes to your lifestyle.
“We choose to follow our own version of healthy, balanced living, one that might offend and upset people because it goes against some beliefs; one that tests the myths and breaks through the barriers, showing people how simple and fun healthy, balanced living can really be – when we give ourselves the permission.’
This means the resort is not vegan or vegetarian, raw foodies or juice fanatics. Neither are they exercise junkies or yogis who meditate all day.
“We enjoy chocolate and wine, meat and potatoes, snacks and sneaky treats, lazy duvet days on the couch and even days where we can’t be bothered to do anything. We have excellent days, good days and days where nothing appears to work, no matter how hard we try. We know that life is for living and that if we want results, we need to take responsibility, create strategies and go for them. Basically, we’re regular people who do regular things and live a healthy life.”
So it seems that joining the family at Inside Out Spain will find you educating yourself, finding your personal “Balance Factor” and releasing it into your life so that it becomes a far more satisfying experience – far beyond the week or so you might spend at the gloriously relaxing and stunningly positioned Spanish resort. It’s a life change that may also help you get into those smaller clothes…