My London: Faya Nilsson Tests The Brain Power Package

Faya Nilsson of Fitness on Toast experiences the Brain Power package at Corinthia Hotel London

Launched in November 2016, Corinthia London’s Neuroscientist in Residence programme is designed to boost brain health in the heart of the city. In partnership with Dr Tara Swart, the hotel designed a collection of menus, treatments and stays-with-a-difference, all with neuro-boosting activity at the forefront. Faya Nilsson of Fitness on Toast is the latest guest to try a Brain Power stay, complete with a morning workout, bedtime routine and Yoga Nidra session in Espa Life at Corinthia. Here’s a run-down of her experience…


What was your favourite part of your Brain Power stay?

Without a doubt the treatments at Espa Life with Angel, the spa treatment manager. The Yoga Nidra experience was something I just wasn’t prepared for. As someone who prefers an empirical approach to the body, I was astounded by the sensations my body underwent during this session of mindfulness. The after-effects of this were equally remarkable, as the sensation of floating stays with you through the following day! I would recommend it wholeheartedly. Further, I enjoyed the single best sports massage I’ve ever experienced.

How are you feeling after a stay dedicated to neuro-health?

Revitalised and recharged. That’s an end-point which is extremely satisfying for me as a user of the programme, and it’s what you hope for when you sign up. The way that they’ve approached it, from a neuroscientific perspective, rather than a holistic perspective, is refreshing and innovative.

Will you be working any of the principles into your routine at home?

The ethos is very much complementary to the principles by which I try to live my life, so yes, and it’s always helpful to get a distraction-free chance to practise these.

Top tip for staying fit on a city break?

Make time for your fitness early in the day. Get up a little earlier than you might otherwise, hydrate, dispatch your 30 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), freshen up in the spa, and then head out to enjoy the city, energised and fired up! Also, optimal hydration is the single most underappreciated wellbeing tip I offer to personal training clients, and is something I’ve written about on my blog time and again. Water is the one and only liquid that fills you up, beautifies, can prove unexpectedly satisfying, and boasts a guilt-free 0 calories. Beyond the skin-deep though, it delivers oxygen to the muscles so they can perform when you’re training, keeps the joints supple, restores energy levels, quashes hunger pangs, purifies the blood, helps the kidneys do their filtration job, and even takes the nutrients in your food on a journey through your digestive system! It is the very eau de vie, or aquavit (our Swedish equivalent). I aim for 2 litres of bottled water a day, sipped at regular intervals, to stay topped up throughout.

How do you usually fit exercise in while travelling?

With difficulty! It’s one of the most testing experiences, as travel often means a busy schedule and ‘holiday-mode (a.k.a. enjoyment of delicious out-of-the-ordinary treats) or work-mode (a.k.a. justify anything to keep you focused on the objective). Most often, hotel gym facilities are extremely sub-standard which dissuades you from working out – unlike in Espa Life at Corinthia which is more sizeable and better equipped than many commercial gyms in London! It’s also excellent to hear that there will be a full refurb with Technogym equipment – I recently travelled to their factory in Italy to see firsthand the artistry that goes into their products, which you can see here.

Also, I wrote a blog post about how to stay fit whilst travelling recently, which you can find here.

"The way that they’ve approached it, from a neuroscientific perspective, rather than a holistic perspective, is refreshing and innovative."


What’s your holiday food philosophy – indulge or detox?

There’s a time and place for both, depending on the purpose of the trip. If you’re on a detox spa retreat, then monstrous indulgence wouldn’t make sense, and vice versa. However, I tend to let myself be guided by the destination and occasion; if there’s something which is a local delicacy or a speciality, I try to sample it locally to enjoy it for what it was supposed to be. No simulation of that authentic article could ever do it justice! That can sometimes necessitate a little indulgence, but that’s what life is about… balance!


First time in London or seasoned visitor?

I live here and am half British, but it’s my first time staycationing in London!

First impressions vs. current impressions?

First impressions: when you live and work somewhere, you can easily lose touch with what makes it special, and instead take it for granted. Being here on the Embankment is remarkable for two oxymoronic reasons; you’re both in the very centre of bustling London and yet you’re quietly sheltered from the intense activity outside. Being here now in the Crystal Moon Lounge, I feel a remarkable sense of tranquillity and serenity. The amount of space and the volume of those spaces is so indulgent, it’s hard to feel on edge!

Favourite cultural quirk?

The national staple is ‘XYZ on toast’ – beans, eggs, cheese etc. I love that dietary quirk so much that I named my entire blog after it 😀

Favourite spots?

The pristine Nash terraces of Regent’s Park, the inimitable breadth and theatre of The Mall, the unique skyline vistas from Jubilee Bridge, the historic importance of 10 Downing Street…

Essential cuisine:

Gail’s Coffee by a long way, but anything fresh fish related, and involving plant protein is generally a winner for me.

Best photo opportunity:

High atop Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath, gazing back down over the city below!

What would you try next time, that you didn’t get to do this time?

Making it over to the South Bank of the Thames. This trip was only long enough to explore the sights on the north side, but there’s so much to experience just over the bridge…

Insider tip:

It’s all about optimising energy! Start the day with an early morning workout at the Corinthia’s huge gym facility, sweat it out in the glass sauna thereafter, and shower using their indulgent Espa Life facilities, all pre 9am. Then, reward yourself with a Brain Power breakfast before heading out to make the most of this magical city, all before others are even getting out of bed!

How do you beat the post-holiday blues?

Booking the next escape! A diary with an exciting date on the tangible horizon is my kind of diary!

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