Pause and thrive: Monique Eastwood

The celebrity trainer on her upcoming Women’s Movement retreat in Ibiza, why we should all be talking more about the menopause and how she developed the Eastwood Movement Method

Travel and Wellbeing 23 Mar 2022

Trainer Monique Eastwood

Celebrity trainer Monique Eastwood

What can people expect from the Women’s Movement retreat in Ibiza?

This gorgeous retreat with Balance Holidays has been created to focus on women’s health, hormonal understanding, perimenopause and menopause. I want to give the women who come on this retreat a realistic understanding of all the changes we go through as we age. And, of course, achievable tactics they can use to implement in their daily lives during this stage of their health. Changing hormones and ageing can be such a deeply challenging time in a woman’s life, but we want to flip the script and create a safe and nurturing environment, with clear answers on what they really need to be doing as they age to stay well.

Why did you want to create a retreat around menopause and perimenopause?

As a woman in my mid-50s, I too needed to understand the science behind my changing body and how to maintain my busy lifestyle and work schedule through it all.

So, really, this retreat has been a real passion of mine to do over the past few years. I’ve always wanted to be able to share the knowledge I’ve learned and therefore better equip woman at this stage of their lives, too.

We need to be supporting our bodies and adjusting our lifestyle to a certain degree to manage the constant shifts of these hormones. As my days are spent largely with women, much of our discussion is centred on hormones and trying to stay fit and healthy.

What can we do to make conversations about menopause freer and easier for women, and everyone?

I think we women really are taking a stand now and making the conversations freer than ever before. By doing this kind of retreat, we are specifically targeting women in these transitional years and placing a value on ourselves – as it should be!

It’s important for women to understand that hitting midlife isn’t about fading away into the background. Instead, it’s about taking the time for ourselves to find a solution to better cope with the demands our lives still expect from us, mind and body.

We need to have more knowledge and understanding of this stage before we can invest in ourselves for an easier, more manageable life. This needs to be a normal event – educating ourselves so that the younger generations are better equipped and can learn from our investment in this subject.

Monique Eastwood
Monique Eastwood

Can you describe the Eastwood Movement Method?

My Movement Method has been developed over the last 25 years of training, based on my past knowledge and experience in the disciplines of dance, Pilates and exercise. I started my career as a professional ballet dancer, which really instilled my love for discipline and multidirectional movement.

I used this to create my method, which combines multidirectional moves with power and strength work to activate and stimulate the whole body, with a particular focus on core. It also has my foundations of Pilates and my knowledge of cardio fitness, with plenty of plyometric moves and body-weight exercises to add resistance and cultivate change in the body.

Over the years, I have observed clients’ movement patterns, and this has given me a much greater understanding of the body and how to adjust moves to improve agility, mobility, balance and musculoskeletal strength as we age.

What have you learned from working with film productions? Does it come with its own set of challenges?

It can be very exciting to work on a project with an actor, but it is also quite grueling. They have to be in such good mental and physical shape, which is usually combined with a very demanding schedule. The hours are long and can change quite quickly, so it’s important to be able to commit as a trainer to the actor during filming, as their fitness routine is an integral part of their week.

This can, of course, be challenging, but it all comes down to respect, and when the actors you work with are such hard-working individuals and you value them and vice versa – that’s when wonderful relationships are built. As a trainer, it’s so important to have that trust, because you are mentally with them at this stage of their lives, and you want them to be able to be at their very best.

I see this retreat as a very similar project. I want those who come on the retreat with me to develop a valuable and transformative experience through the journey we’ll go on together.

What is the first step to improving fitness you would recommend for someone starting out?

The first step to improving a client’s fitness level is to challenge them.

When a client has not trained for some time, I almost always advise them to power walk, making sure they are walking a little faster and changing up the terrain. It’s so useful to be able to train anywhere without feeling you need to visit the gym. The outdoors, after all, is a beautiful gym space! Find a bench and do triceps dips or press-ups, or add 25-second runs to your power walks every minute. Mix up your training to keep your body stimulated. Most importantly, take your time and be patient: it is important to building stamina and strength.

What fitness trends do you expect to see for 2022?

Realistic ones, I hope! I truly believe that during lockdown, we gained a new appreciation for our surroundings and for the healing power of nature. So, I’d like to think that using the environment around you to train, when possible, will be something that could – and should – gain popularity. During our retreat, we’ll be using the gorgeous Ibizan nature to enjoy daily walks, inspire our movement and, of course, up those feel-good hormones.

I also really hope to see the trend of using the body in different planes of movement (multidirectional) to challenge it and stimulate the brain, too. Everyone spends so much time hunched over devices, and we need to learn to move our bodies more freely again.

The pandemic has been a challenging time for people’s wellness and fitness. How have you kept you and your clients motivated?

At the beginning of the pandemic, it was a novelty to be all signing into Zoom – clients were connecting with one another virtually and, crucially, really needing that social interaction. Also, with less time needed to “travel” to our workouts before or after work, it meant people were really more motivated to get up, get away from the desk and get it done.

Of course, as the world has opened up again, many have decided not only to continue with Zoom/virtual workouts but also to incorporate a bit of gym-time exercise too. It’s great that we now have such flexibility when it comes to fitness choices.

For my clients and for me, being consistent has been key. I have continued to do my weekly live sessions, and my clients know they can email me whenever they have further questions. And they can get my on-demands and exercise at a time and in a place that suits them. Ultimately, as soon as you find a trainer that you enjoy, and they know and understand you and your goals, you’re always going to want to keep coming back for more. I’m proud of the relationships I’ve built with my clients; I help to motivate them as they motivate me.

Find out more about the Balance Holidays Realign and Thrive – Women’s Movement Retreat at OKU Ibiza here