With The Biggest Loser in its ninth season and boot camps popping up like mushrooms, it’s no shock that some people have taken the next step in keeping trim: opting for fitness-focused vacations. Unlike traditional vacations where buffets, poolside lounging, and cocktails rule the roost, these fitness retreats are dominated by crunches and curls. Sometimes.
Actually, many of the most popular “fitness retreats” have taken to sweetening their appeal with spa offerings. For example, Bikini Boot Camp in Tulum, Mexico mixes pre-planned meals with snorkeling, ab workouts, and massages by the beach. In Delray Beach, Florida, Bella Boot Camp takes a similar approach, tempering their multi-day programs with spa treatments. With all these pampering perks, it seems like fitness could easily fall by the wayside–Bikini Boot Camp even goes so far as to state: “There is no pressure to participate in any of the activities and there is no competition.” Not exactly what you’d expect from a program that pulls its name from U.S. Marine Corps training.
If you’d rather cut the fluff and go straight for the challenge, you may be better off avoiding the “boot camp” conceit and going straight for the great outdoors. While you won’t get the cushy hotel room or the post-Pilates mud baths, you will get to push your limits–far. Outward Bound offers a course-focused model where you can sign up for everything from a week of kayaking in the San Juan Islands to a month of dog sledding in Minnesota. Still not enough? Try testing your mettle against nature with a BOSS survival course in Southern Utah, where you’ll spend seven days or longer living off the land–and nothing more.
Personally, I could see signing up for the survivalist getaway–but I can’t imagine a week of push-ups on the beach. What about you?
Photo by kingfisher1259 (via Flickr).
My name: Kate Beall
How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.
Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.
First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.
View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.
Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.
Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.