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Royal Docks: How DAT Adventures hikes and retreats aim to help participants reach peak performance in their lives

Jenna and Julian Dominique have joined forces to offer physical exercise and coaching in east London, Yorkshire and Vancouver, Canada

Jenna and Julian Dominique run their business from Royal Docks in east London

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There’s an energy about Jenna and Julian Dominique.

Together since their teens, they’ve spent years exploring the globe from their base in east London – often theming trips around physical challenges or experiences – and all while pursuing different career paths.

Jenna, raised in Chingford, is a business, career and pitch coach with a complement of brightly coloured blazers and a speciality in public speaking and hosting events.

Julian, brought up in Leytonstone and Wanstead, is a fitness instructor, personal trainer, tutor and lecturer at the University Of East London, where, more than a decade ago he landed a job at SportsDock just as its extensive facilities were bequeathed to the institution by the American basketball team following the Olympics.

Having settled in Beckton, the couple have brought their talents together to create DAT Adventures

“We first came up with the idea a few years ago and did some research around it,” said Jenna.

“When you’re physically active – thinking about your health and wellbeing – you’re also more productive. 

Participants on an urban hike from Royal Docks to Tower Bridge

“DAT is all about trying to help our clients maximise their potential and improve their performance.”

Starting out with urban hikes from UEL’s Royal Docks campus to Tower Bridge via the Thames Path around the Isle Of Dogs and then venturing to Box Hill in Surrey, the company’s natural evolution is to take its founders’ expertise and combine them on retreats.

“We’ve always travelled – to Egypt, Japan, South America – and we’ve based many of those trips around activities such as climbing or swimming,” said Jenna. 

“Julian has had personal training clients who have said they’d love to do something similar but hadn’t had the opportunity.”

Julian added: “Many are desk-based or working from home, so I’ve been helping them with things like posture – but since Covid there’s also been a lot more on the mental health side.

“We know from our own experience that being outdoors in nature is great for that and from the hikes we’ve done that doing something physical and having tangible goals people can achieve is really good.”

DAT’s urban hikes take in the sights and some local history

This year, DAT plans to host retreats in Yorkshire, with participants tackling the three peaks led by qualified mountain guide Julian in June.

This will be followed by another in Vancouver, Canada, with a range of physical activities on offer.

Both will also include one-on-one coaching sessions with Jenna with a tailored action plan produced to help participants work towards their personal and professional goals – with follow-ups after for guidance and encouragement.

“This is a big year for us, with these two retreats,” said Jenna.

“We’ve spent time in both places testing everything so we know the areas very well and have made friends there. It’s something a bit different, not just Yoga. 

“Our urban hikes have tended to attract city workers – often people with startups or businesses who want to give themselves a bit of a break by getting out of the workspace and exploring.

“With those we’ve offered personal coaching during the hikes and that’s had a really nice impact.

DAT’s next retreat will take place in Yorkshire

“The retreats offer something more structured.”

For Yorkshire, that includes a full three-night itinerary with development sessions woven in around the hiking and the food – all of which is included in the price.

Julian said: “There’s a real focus on nutrition for health and wellbeing – we’re aiming to make the meals quite a big part of the retreat.”

The couple have teamed up with Michaela Hanna, a private chef and MasterChef The Professionals contestant from Yorkshire for their UK retreat.

“People need to consume the calories before they burn them,” said Jenna.

“The goal for us is to make sure we’re doing something really beneficial. What we’ve done already has been really good and the feedback has been great.

“For Yorkshire, guests will stay at the Three Peaks Barn, which offers hot tubs, a sauna, a pool table, beautiful rooms and has amazing views of the Ribblehead Viaduct.”

Julian added: “The challenge is to do the hike in 12 hours – we begin at 5am. I’ll be taking the lead on that.

“We last did it in 10 hours, but that was during the pandemic and the pubs were closed.

“In addition to meals at the barn, Michaela will meet the group halfway through the hike and provide lunch from her vehicle.

“After the retreat, I’ll always be on hand for anyone who wants advice on exercise or nutrition – they’ll also become part of my personal training community.”

This will be followed by a trip to Canada later in the year

Vancouver will offer a similar timetable albeit with an extra night and a greater focus on other activities.

These have yet to be confirmed but, alongside hikes, are likely to include climbing and paddle-boarding as well as an opportunity to take in some of the sights.

What is clear is Jenna and Julian’s passion for delivering memorable, productive adventures.

In essence it’s how they live their own lives and their business is an extension of that.

key details

DAT Adventures’ forthcoming retreat in Yorkshire is set to take place from June 5-8.

Places cost £850 per person or £1,530 for couples and include all meals, accommodation, retreat guide services and personal coaching sessions.

The retreat size is capped at 10 people.

The company’s retreat to Vancouver will take place from October 27-30 and costs £1,850 per person or £3,330 for couples and includes two meals a day, all retreat activities, accommodation, personal coaching and retreat guide services.

The retreat size is capped at eight people.

Travel to the retreat locations is not included in the packages.

Find more information about DAT Adventures here

The Vancouver retreat will include a range of outdoor activities

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via
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