Katie Duncan, a qualified teacher and instructor, originally set up Apples & Pears in the UK in 2008 because of the confusing and contradicting weight loss and fitness advice. Nine years on, she’s expanded to the UAE with The Healthy Retreat Company, near Dubai.

“We’ve helped over a thousand men and women lose weight and get into shape – 60% of our retreaters return for more and many new clients come to us following recommendations from friends and family. My goal is to help you take control of your health and fitness so you can be happy and confident. You can expect visible weight and inch loss*. Our brilliant chefs, spa therapists and hotel staff work closely with me to make this happen. Our retreaters leave feeling empowered with the motivation and knowledge to make positive changes.

Our courses have evolved over time, but our core beliefs have stayed the same:
• Bad habits and busy lifestyles mean we often overeat. Understanding portion sizes and basic nutrition serves us better than drastic fad diets.
• We can all benefit from more exercise. We’re set up to adapt to groups of varying shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels. You’ll be pushed to your own limit.

If you’re new to The Healthy Retreat Company, I hope this site will help you to understand more about what we offer.”

*Disclaimer: weight loss and inch loss will vary from person to person depending on effort put in with the exercise programme and food consumed.

Our Team

Katie Duncan
Instructor & Co-ordinator

Katie is the lead instructor and looks after your every need during the retreat. She has a Sports Science background and 15 years’ experience teaching Physical Education to adults and children. Her qualifications include: BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences, Swimming Instructor Award (ASA), Gym Instructor, RSA Exercise to Music Qualification, PGCE in Secondary Physical Education.

Foad Mahnaei

Foad is passionate about all aspects of fitness, including weight training, team sports, kickboxing and watersports, and has been instructing adults in these areas for the past 10 years. He's patient and attentive to individual needs and he tailors and varies sessions to all abilities. His fun and lively personality will keep you motivated yet challenged so that you leave with the best possible results.

Eva Kirdyapkina
Yoga Teacher

Eva is a qualified yoga teacher and holds a second degree in Reiki healing. She encourages her students to build greater self-awareness and peace through their yoga practice. With an easy going character, Eva likes to make her classes fun and simple. Through various yoga practices, Eva works with clients to improve balance and flexibility, strengthen the core, shape the body and improve blood circulation and digestion.

Rebecca Vonderscher
Marketing & Operations Manager

Rebecca looks after the Marketing & Operations side of things, working closely with Katie to make sure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes. She holds a BA (Hons) in French and Business Management and has 15 years’ experience working in Marketing and HR.


  • Fabulous!

    The Marjan Island location was fabulous, a wonderful hotel, delicious food, with the added luxury of a spa to treat yourself at the end of the day!

    23 November 2014
  • Fantastic retreat!

    The week was great. It was fantastic being part of a positive group and I always felt able to get individual direction and coaching. The Dubai resort was perfect – the accommodation and facilities were geared exactly to the retreat requirements. Varied and luxurious spa was excellent.

    February 2015
  • Amazing fitness holiday!

    As a man who hates the gym, this type of retreat is amazing at making fitness fun. The team games are a highlight which have you laughing all day long. The Water Sports were an added bonus which I loved. The location and team of trainers/bootcampers made this a holiday I will never forget. Can’t wait to do this again.

    February 2016
  • Superb boot camp

    Katie’s organisational skills are exceptional and all done with a smile. The activities are vigorous and are pushed to do your very best underpinned by a very, very professional and supportive group of trainers. Highlights for me were learning how to swim, meeting such an interesting and sociable group of people and the superb instruction from Katie and Woody.

    January 2016
  • I had such a brilliant time!

    I came away with so many highlights that are easily transferable into normal life at home. I will definitely return. It’s the way forward for anyone wanting anything from a healthy break away from the hustle and bustle to a complete mind set change to improve yourself long term.

    24 August 2016