Herb House Wellness, The Lime Wood Hotel

A little while ago we visited the Lime Wood hotel, in our opinion the jewel in the UK’s hospitality crown, and while we were there to enjoyed a relaxing stay we were also there to test out their new wellness offering Herb House.

Herb House has bought together fitness and wellness like never before. They’ve paid particularly attention to their new personal training offering in partnership with celebrity trainer Matt Roberts (counts David Cameron, Kate Moss and other celebrities as clients). Originally inspired by its forest surroundings, Herb House instantly invites a sense of calm and serenity. The spa has ten spacious treatment rooms, including two double signature rooms, as well as hot pools, thermal rooms (the Forest Sauna, Steam House), the Hands and Feet Room for manicures and pedicures, and private soaking baths in their spacious changing rooms. There is also a 16 metre indoor lap pool with retracting glass doors to the garden and hot tub. On the fitness side Herb House offers a series of classes (rooftop yoga and pilates in the summer), as well as one to one training sessions, nutritional advice, rehabilitation and much more. Their new offering for 2020 sees the launch of 2 brand new Matt Roberts Retreats at the Lime Wood; 2 focussed 3 day retreats designed to support the individuals training and wellbeing goals. Matt and the team will take you outside into the stunning New Forest National Park (whatever the weather, so come prepared) with group hikes and runs and then move on into the rooftop gym and functional fitness space for small group sessions and into the studio for movement sessions. All meals are included on the retreat, giving you a chance tuck into some seasonal, nutritious food.

The new fitness and wellness partnership aims to offer the Lime Woods clients a better, more individualised take on ‘hotel fitness’. Say goodbye to drab and dreary basement gyms with awful lighting and equipment that is little or no use at all. Herb House offers a gym that is something special, both visually pleasing to the eye – it looks more like a well designed apartment – and well equipped the space sets a new standard for what others in the industry should be offering.

The Coach: Justin Barlow Pimm

Our coach for the session was head of fitness & executive trainer Justin Barlow Pimm who heads up the Matt Roberts offering at Herb House. Justin’s background is elite level sports focused, an exciting prospect seeing as we’re performance nuts here at IdleSociety. We couldn’t wait to pick his brain on all things sports related performance and get stuck in.

A little about the man himself, but first let us be clear about something, Justin is a coach (the man’s an accredited Strength & Conditioning Coach, has a First Class degree in Strength & Conditioning Science from St. Mary’s University and a PTR Tennis Coaching license). Not a personal trainer. The reason? Because as well as his qualifications there is a vast difference between the two entities, with his knowledge, coaching experience and delivery of the session to call him a PT would be an injustice and an insult. He hasn’t simply changed from office job to doing a weekend course to working in a local gym. Justin is a master of his craft. He’s also doesn’t look how ‘most’ people would expect him to look. Visually fit and athletic, he’s of slight build, we personally put him automatically in the ‘tennis build’ category and anyone who knows anything about tennis would agree with us. He doesn’t aim to stand out in a crowd, he’s fit for purpose, not aesthetics. He isn’t intimidating with bulging biceps and a neck as thick as the hull of a cruise liner. He’s understated, like a classic car or vintage watch.

As we said, Justin comes from an elite sporting background, working at the National Tennis Centre coaching athletes such as Jamie Murray, Heather Watson and Anne Keothavong, The England & Wales Cricket Board working with the likes of Jason Roy, Rory Burns, Jade Durnbach, Chris Tremlett and he’s also worked with Ricky Ponting (Australian Cricket), Graeme Smith (South African Cricket) and a whole host of rugby teams, including English Premiership side Saracens. Now if that isn’t enough to get you to book a session with him, we don’t know what is.

The Session

Now like all good athletes we came ready with an excuse in hand for our performance (or lack there of) during the session. After a warm greeting and a quick chat about our editors background (where we explained that he’d done leg day the previous afternoon) Justin quickly went to work.

The session was focused on movement basics, making sure the muscles work together in unison as oppose to against each other, together with a higher intensity to make sure the body was pushed at all times.

Warm up: 5 minutes Airbike – steady speed

HR Raiser: 5 mins Airbike – 30 sec sprint + 1 min steady pace – 5 rounds. (Justin told our editor to keep the watts above 100 – his average was about 125 watts throughout)

Section 1:
A1. Barbell Squats (60kg) – 10 reps
A2. Jump Squat – 20 reps

X4 rounds

Section 2:
B1. Alternating Lunge Hold w/ Medicine Ball Side Throws – 15 reps
B2. Plyometric Lunges – 20 reps

X4 rounds

C1. Plank Holds – 20 secs

Cool Down + Stretch.

Overall the session was superb and brilliantly delivered. Justins enthusiasm was genuine, you could tell his focus isn’t to ‘beast’ his clients but to educate them on movement patterns, making sure that what he is saying is being understood, that we knew what was happening and why we were doing it, rather than worrying about how much you are sweating (which was a quite a bit). He delivered an informative, well rounded, active education (as we said, he’s a coach, not a PT). After our session we relaxed in Raw & Cured, and chatted over matching juices, that I was told, would aid in the healing of my currently enflamed muscles. The conversation flowed from performance in pro athletes and how Justin adapted their training depending on their seasons (periodisation training) to what it was like transferring his skills to ‘the average joe’ and getting the call from Matt to head up this brilliant wellness offering.

As we left the restaurant and said our goodbyes we started to think about the session we’d done, the experience of having the opportunity to train with Justin, soaking up the knowledge that he imparted. A thought suddenly hit us. This is how it should be, the Lime Wood and Matt Roberts partnership has cracked the code for hotel wellness moving into the future. Why have people for so long accepted to be trained in tiny, confined spaces by questionably educated PT’s in hotels around the world for so long? And with that, as we settled into the hydropools to rest our aching muscles we relaxed.

If the Limewood is the jewel in this countries hospitality crown, Herb House is the sparkle in that jewel.

Prices for Matt Roberts Retreat starts at £1,890.00
Next Retreat 19th-21st September 2020.
Book Now

Annual Fitness Membership for Herb House starts at £4,200, which includes X4 monthly 1-2-1 training sessions. Find out more here


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