June 08, 2019




I had the pleasure recently of meeting Claire Davis of 38°N Academy and Fitness Retreats. Warm and friendly, this woman radiates energy and positivity, and is instantly likeable. It is her enthusiasm and zest for life that is infectious. Midlife to be exact – that age past 40 that no one really focuses on. Until now…  


Together with her partner she runs transformative fitness retreats in luxurious settings namely Ibiza and Marbella (count me in), offering you the chance to unplug and re-wire your life. All in a few days. She also runs an online coaching platform (get signed up), helping both men and women as they transition through and adjust to the midlife years. And if that was not enough, she has just started a weekly podcast The Midlife Mentors (worth signing up for) packed full of advice and insights into this largely blind-sighted period of life.



  1. What attracted you to a career in fitness & well-being?

Having had a traumatic journey with my own body image and being underweight and overweight in my twenties, it was the breakdown of my marriage and being put on anti-depressants that led me to seek an alternative. I had already been exercising a little (as a punishment!) but then started doing weights. The way they made me feel – physically and mentally was enough to get me hooked. After a while, I decided I wanted to help other women regain control of their lives in a similar way. So, after 14 years in PR, I retrained, and it went from there.


  1. How does exercise make you feel? And when you’re not exercising – how does that make you feel?

It makes me feel alive and present in my body. It’s my meditation. I also love that I get stronger and stronger physically and can see my shape improve. I don’t believe that at 40 it should be all downhill. Quite the opposite actually – I’m in the best physical and mental shape of my life.


  1. Your focus is on the midlife stage - what do you feel are the main challenges women and men face at this time in their life?

So many challenges! For women, we notice that it’s harder to lose fat and shake off the bad food choices. That’s because our metabolism is slowing down and we’re producing less oestrogen – making us more prone to storing fat. Less progesterone also disrupts our sleep, raising cortisol – again a prime factor in storing fat. Additionally, a lack of sleep lowers the hormone leptin (the ‘I’m full hormone’) – making us more prone to snacking.


There’s a lot going on, which is why I am so passionate to get women transitioning into their forties ready and prepared. I wish for them to make exercise part of their lifestyle and to know how to do the things that matter without necessarily going to a gym. I want them to feel free, to eat well and be healthy (most of the time), and for the rest, to enjoy themselves!


I find with the women I coach that it’s a time of reflection. We’re reaching a period in our lives where we ask ourselves questions. Am I happy? Am I fulfilled? What does the rest of my time here look like? Who am I? Big questions and this can lead to a real roller-coaster of emotions. It’s my absolute passion to ensure the body, mind and self-image are aligned so they can thrive.


  1. Is there a motto or phrase that you live by?

Your health is your wealth


  1. Do you have a female role model?

I love Brené Brown. She speaks of joy and vulnerability that really resonates with me. I think in today’s society, it’s easy to feel disconnected and hide away. But real courage is to show up with all your flaws and be seen. Hopefully it inspires others to do the same.


  1. You host retreats in luxurious destinations overseas – how important is that for your clientele and for what you offer them?

I think location is incredibly important because we are our environment. Many clients spend time inside, in offices and at desks – feeling overwhelmed and highly stressed. They lack Vitamin D and for some even natural light. The calmness that comes with being in nature is unbeatable, so the surroundings are paramount to creating the perfect ‘reset’ experience. Everything we do takes advantage of the sea, the forest, the open space. And the scenic views of course.


  1. What in your view is the key to self – motivation?

Finding your ‘why’ and chunking down the goal into achievable milestones. Most people look at the top of the mountain (the big goal) and feel overwhelmed. It’s totally the wrong way to go about it. Yes, we should have that in mind but then create two-week goals that we feel we can manage. By working that way, we don’t get disheartened and our confidence and self-worth grows over time.


The other point is to focus on WHY - the emotional connection to the goal. Imagine how it will make you feel when you achieve it. Ask yourself what the main driver is? This and only this, will keep you going when life knocks you down. Only this will keep you pushing forward.


  1. Your work relies on having a great deal of knowledge about what is out there in the market place – how do you separate the faddish from the noteworthy?

All the time. Sadly, health and fitness are now fashionable. Instagram influencers are a dangerous breed as they are dishing out advice without qualifications to do so. In fact, Glasgow University recently did a study and found that 9 out of ten influencers (with over 80,000 followers) were making weight management claims without providing accurate and trustworthy information. It’s terrifying and incredibly damaging to my profession. There should be regulations to oversee this activity, and brands that work with influencers should do their due diligence and exercise a duty of care towards those being ‘influenced’. 


I have undertaken so much research into what works for the body - in a sustainable, balanced way – which complements a lifestyle, and doesn’t take over. I’ve not only done this with one-to-one clients and retreat guests, but also my own body. Fads never last and I want women to feel in control and to be the best versions of THEMSELVES – not someone they see on social media or in the press. The key to that is eating well (for the majority of time) and exercising the body and the mind.


  1. How do you feel the growth of social media has impacted your line of work?

As I touched on earlier, qualifications no longer seem to matter. I also find it so sad that everyone is comparing themselves to others, every moment of everyday. Body dysmorphia is on the rise, as is cosmetic and plastic surgery amongst young people. I think social media takes us away from who we really are, and it can be very hard for midlife women to ‘keep up’.


  1. What do you feel are the main differences between male and female clients, in terms of their attitude towards fitness and body confidence at this life stage?

There's not that much difference in my experience. Men just show the lack of body confidence a little less. But both men and women find it incredibly tough at this stage of their life. There’s a lot of pressure on us at this age – financially, career, family and for many, health is low on their priorities.


  1. What’s the ultimate compliment you receive from your clients?

Interestingly, it’s not so much the physical results – which they do achieve – but more the fact they feel amazing, in control and confident again. I’ve had women say they’ve not felt so good in dresses since their wedding day. Also, their children have a greater respect for them now that they’re healthier. I love women doing this FOR THEMSELVES and then seeing the huge impact it has on every other area of their life. It’s beautiful and I’m so honoured.


  1. How does your work effect your own choices, particularly in fashion?

I tend to wear sports gear a lot. But when I do want to get dressed up, it’s a real treat. As I’ve got older, I buy less, but better quality special pieces that make me feel great. Which is why I support AVA VERDÚ so much. I have definitely become more classic in my dress and feel more confident in my clothes that I ever have.


The 38ºN Academy
38ºN Fitness Retreats

Transformative Online Coaching & Fitness Retreats

Check Out The Podcast:
ITUNES https://apple.co/2EWbuA6 

SPOTIFY: https://spoti.fi/2Kz3WXs


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Sizing Chart

























BUST cms

84 (82-86)

88 (86-90)

92 (90-94)

96 (94-98)


64 (62-66)

68 (66-70)

72 (70-74)

76 (74-78)

HIP cms

90 (88-92)

94 (92-96)

98 (96-100)

102 (100-104)


BUST: Measure around the fullest part of your chest

WAIST: Measure around the narrowest part of your waistline

HIP: Measure at the fullest part of your hips

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