Classic Camino-Frances


Considering walking the Camino-Frances.  Why not start in Sarria – known for its fabulous hospitality and local traditional food.  As you begin your walk, you will pass through stunning scenery, picturesque villages, hamlets and many beautiful landscapes, in rural Galicia.  The atmosphere is unique.  Once you arrive in Santiago, a UNESCO world heritage city, visit the cathedral, claim your certificate from the Pilgrim office. There is plenty of time to explore, reflect on your journey and relax in this stunning town.  visit to view our video of Sarria-Santiago.

Study Experience Abroad

Studying abroad and undertaking a work experience placement is an incredible opportunity.   It not only develops the individual personally, but also from an academic point of view.  Spending 2-3 weeks or longer enables students to gain insight into a different culture, learn a new language and grow as a person.  Other benefits include getting out of your comfort zone, boost your personal and professional skills.  The Erasmus program is one way students can gain a new experience.  One of the main reasons and benefits of Erasmus is it helps students enhance their CV and make them stand out in the job market.  About 64% of employers consider an international experience to be important for recruitment.  Furthermore, the student develops other skills such as flexibility, time management and using their initiative.

Take a look at our video project, involving students from two schools, learning vocational training linked to sports and fitness, Spanish and work experience in Tenerife.   visit, training and education.


Walking & Mental Health

Walking has often been recommended as a form of physical activity, some of the reasons to include that it is widely accessible, it does not cost, reduces weight, it has a low risk of injury and could be associated with improving mental health, calming the mind, relieving stress, anxiety and depression.

Research into the field of mental health and physical activity is growing and many studies have been conducted between links in walking, mental performance and cognitive functioning.  Kramer, et al (1999) found that those who undertook walking or some form of cardiovascular fitness showed substantial improvements in mental cognitive functioning, for example, the speed and how quickly they could process and switch tasks.  Further evidence supporting Kramer, may lie in the findings of Weuve et al (2004) who found that higher levels of regular, long term physical activity and training the cardiovascular system were associated with better cognitive performance, especially among older women.  Other factors in the study included a better quality of life, self-esteem and general mood.  By engaging in regular physical activity, can not only help with weight loss, an promote a sense of well-being, but may prevent mental health disorders.


Why Walk The Camino de Santiago de Compostela – Sarria to Santiago April 2018

What better way to set yourself a fitness challenge for 2018 and walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Walk.  During the past decade the number of pilgrims commencing their journey in Sarria has increased rom 39,583 to 58,554.  Pilgrimage is experienced on many different levels.  There is the physical challenge of walking a long distance in a minimum time.  How deep we choose to make the experience, is entirely left to us, by slowing the walking pace and the extended periods of silence allows time for reflection and introspection which can lead to greater insights, change and growth.  Spring is an ideal time for taking up this challenge, the sun is warm, flowers are appearing, it can be windy, but the route is not over crowded.

How long does it take?  It is roughly divided into 5 stages, about 23 km per day.

Preparation – Start to walk and build up your miles.  Invest in a pair of good walking boots.  Pack a light rain jacket, the weather can be unpredictable.  Take a sun hat and sun cream.  April can be very warm.  Your backpack should weigh no more than 10 kilos.  Foot care is essential to avoid blisters, make sure socks are breathable.

To enhance the experience – do not bring.  Your mobile phone, unless you are a solo traveller and you may need this for an emergency.  Your watch – you can learn to navigate and adapt to your natural clock.  Travel light and get rid of  excess clutter.

Language – It is very useful to learn some basic Spanish words.

Pilgrim Passport – This document is a credential of the places you visit along the way.

Food & Drink – A minimum daily intake of 2 litres per day to avoid dehydration.  Isotonic drinks containing sodium and potassium are useful.  Pilgrims should eat high-energy foods (chocolate, dried fruit, figs, flap jacks).

Basic first aid kit – (antiseptic cream, gauze, band aids, sunscreen, adhesive tape, nail scissors, plasters, Vaseline.




Role & Function of Core Stability

Core stability is a system of muscles including the transversus abdominals in the front, the gluteals and paraspinals in the back, together with the pelvic floor and hip girdle muscles.  The aim of core stability is to help stabilise the spine and pelvis during movement.  Weakness in the core can lead to inefficient movement, overuse, imbalance, poor coordination, overuse and injury.  Furthermore, it is important to master the basic core stability exercises as they are the foundation of more advanced movement patterns.  Academic researchers, Hodges and Richardson state that it is important how the deep abdominals are recruited , not that they are. Those with lower back problems can sometimes find it difficult to engage the deep lower muscles early enough to stabilise the spine.  In order to gain maximum benefits, a thorough individualised program to assess and address imbalance along with monitoring sufficient recruitment would prove beneficial.


Having coached and trained numerous students, whether it is wellness, Pilates, academic or vocational work over the years, one of my goals was to increase students to become more independent learners. Having realised that the majority of students have some digital skills, I have encouraged students to incorporate some of their learning via on-line lessons.  Students studying for vocational qualifications now have a learning platform in which they can study modules on-line.  In addition, they can link in with other students on the course and become more involved with collaborated learning with their peers in-between face-to-face interaction.

Furthermore, students undergoing coaching, face to face or Pilates can also benefit from having on-line lessons which will enable them to achieve their goals in-between group led classes.

Kolb’s learning cycle is a simple model which demonstrates that people learn best through experience.  Kolb uses four stages of learning:

Experience:  By participating in a new experience like digital learning can be positive.

Reflection:   Student reflects on the experience of the digital on-line lesson and both the positive and negative aspects.

Comparison: Students compare the experience, as to what works well.

Experimenting:  Students try out what they have learned and apply it.

To conclude, there are many issues surrounding the success of learning, however, students undertaking some form of independent learning in-between group lessons enables a new, richer experience




El Camino de Compostela Santiago, Spain


galicia      blueshell

Taking time out to experience the famous Pilgrim Route, the Way of St James which attracts thousands of visitors every year.  Pilgrimage offers us an opportunity to slow down and allow space into our lives.  During the walk and quiet space we can take time to reflect on the deeper significance of our lives and what led us to undertake the walk.  Sarah, founder of Fitness Excel and her daughter embarked on part of the French Way Camino during Easter and found the experience truly amazing, hiking through the gentle rolling hills and forests of Galicia, walking through the charming villages and visiting pretty churches, trying local traditional cuisine, meeting so many friendly locals and people from all over the world, USA, Australia, Mexico, Spain, Ireland and the UK to name, but a few and eventually arriving in Santiago visiting the spectacular Cathedral.

We will be returning in April 2018 to undertake a longer walk of at least 100KM to gain the Pilgrim Passport.  Fitness and health play an important part of anyone thinking of undertaking a walk such as the Camino and good preparation is vital, not only to enjoy the experience, but to avoid fatigue and injury.  Excel Coaching & Fitness Excel offers fitness programmes, Pilates, coaching and mentoring sessions, tailored for the individual, together with nutrition advice for anyone considering embarking on a similar walk.  Sarah, founder of Fitness Excel is a qualified teacher, coach and is presently studying for a Masters Degree in Education, Coaching & Mentoring.  Contact:  us for more information.

melide            cathedral