By Molly Creeden – Original Article
Summer weather means a mass exodus from the gym in favor of the beach, the trail, or the playing field—making it an opportune moment to break out of a tired exercise rut. Answering the call is an elevated breed of fitness retreat that takes vacationing as seriously as sweating. In destinations near and far, these getaways combine challenging classes (sometimes as many as four in a day) with scenic views, great food, and a team of trained experts in the service of pushing your workout to the next level.
Photo: (clockwise from top left) Courtesy of Amansala; Courtesy of Escape to Shape; Courtesy of Escape to Shape; Courtesy of Kalon Surf
Wine Country Trekking, Runner’s Trek
THE DESTINATION: Sausalito, California to Point Reyes, California
THE CHALLENGE: Just north of San Francisco, this route starts in Sausalito and takes you through picturesque Marin County—from Muir Woods (with its stunning views of the Pacific) through redwood forests to Mount Tamalpais and, finally, Point Reyes National Seashore. Each day, you’ll cover between nine to twelve miles, and up to 2,300 feet in elevation, along what is widely considered one of the country’s best trails.
THE DURATION: Five days; three spent running
THE PERKS: Wine Country Trekking takes care of quite literally everything except placing your one foot in front of the other. They provide you with the route, the maps, the trail notes, and a packed lunch. They’ll also make spa and dinner reservations for when you arrive at each evening’s lodgings. Because groups set off on their own (great for those who prefer spending time with friends as opposed to making new ones), dates are flexible. The company asks that you start on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.
Amansala; Beach N’ Bliss Yoga Retreat
THE DESTINATION: Tulum, Mexico, on the turquoise waters of the Riviera Maya
THE CHALLENGE: Two daily vinyasa flow yoga sessions are spaced out by hikes and outings to see the nearby Mayan ruins, along with quick cool-down dips in the Caribbean Sea.
THE DURATION: Packages from four to seven days
THE PERKS: The resort is eco-chic, with airy beachfront cabins and spacious outdoor yoga areas that will keep you feeling comfortable, even in the mid-afternoon heat. Also on the menu: healthful meals, deep tissue massages, and Mayan clay treatments.
June 29–July 6; August 3–10, 2013
The BodyHoliday, LeSport, St. Lucia
THE DESTINATION: In a secluded cove on St. Lucia, this resort is a luxe Caribbean go-to for the exercise-inclined.
THE CHALLENGE: “Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind” goes the BodyHoliday’s mantra. They deliver on their promise with everything from group tennis lessons and yoga to Pilates, spinning, personal training, archery, volleyball and more. New to their list of offerings this summer is a dance-based program offering sixteen weekly classes—think salsa, tango, waltz—taught by resident professionals through the month of June. For those who prefer to keep their dancing shoes stashed in the depths of their closet, self-tailored exercise regimens are available year-round.
THE DURATION: The average stay is for six days, but it’s not uncommon for visitors to head down for a three-day stint.
THE PERKS: A 50-minute daily spa treatment, chosen from an extensive menu, is included with your stay (helpful for novices whose recent dance bender has them feeling muscles previously unknown). Here, bespoke is the name of the game, and customization of your daily schedule starts online at home before you even set foot on the sand.
Red Mountain Resort, Weekend Warrior Retreat
THE DESTINATION: Rising from a valley amid red rock cliffs and swooping canyons in St. George, Utah, Red Mountain Resort is an 82-room, 24-villa oasis.
THE CHALLENGE: Weekend Warrior is designed to help participants rise over plateaus, which means that your workout back home—even on its most intense day—is likely to be surpassed in terms of format, time, or intensity. Start the morning with a challenging hike before you head into an afternoon of personal training sessions and smaller group classes, like boot camp, TRX, or yoga atop the dunes of Snow Canyon State Park.
THE DURATION: Four days
THE PERKS: In addition to three healthy meals a day, guests can add to the retreat from Red Mountain’s plethora of spa and wellness offerings. Depending on how much self-improvement you’re looking to do, you might get acupuncture, receive a foot and gait analysis, have a metabolic profile assessment, or indulge in a warm canyon stone massage.
Cycle Greater Yellowstone
THE DESTINATION: Some of the country’s most striking landscapes, found in southwestern Montana and northwestern Wyoming, with one leg of the journey coursing through Yellowstone National Park.
THE CHALLENGE: You’ll bike up to 460 miles and 18,386 feet in elevation on a route that takes you past wildlife, vistas, mountain towns, and open plains.
THE DURATION: Seven days
THE PERKS: Cycle Greater Yellowstone takes care of your belongings, bringing them from campsite to campsite (or you can opt to stay in a nearby B&B). They’ll even transport you if you’re feeling tired. And while there isn’t a stenciled teepee in sight, this is glamping through and through—hot shower trailers (with mirrors, sinks!), Sherpa service (with tent setup and new towels every day), a picturesque beer garden, and live music every night.
August 18–24, 2013
QUENCH at Lake Austin Spa Resort
THE DESTINATION: A lush compound on the shore of Lake Austin, in the Texas Hill Country, replete with gardens, trellised walkways, and private terraces.
THE CHALLENGE: The only fitness program of its kind, QUENCH makes water the main equipment. In a Junior Olympic–size pool, guests can take a swim stroke clinic in addition to classes in Hydrobiking, Soothing Aqua Stretch, and Water Relaxation (good for improving circulation, mobility, and sleep). Out on the lake, the core is key, with ab-focused sessions like Stand Up Paddleboarding classes or Paddle Stretch and Yoga.
THE DURATION: Seven days
THE PERKS: The spa boasts more than 100 treatments, many of which nod to the surrounding environment—like a custom stone massage for example—or tackle post-workout fatigue.
June 17–23, July 22–28, August 19–25, and September 23–29, 2013
THE DESTINATION: Southern Costa Rica, in Dominical, a town known for its waves. With sweeping cliffs and deep blue water, Dominical is close enough to the San José airport to be easily accessible, far enough away from the tourist crowds to feel blissfully remote.
THE CHALLENGE: A week on the waves starts in the pool, where groups (that max out at ten) get comfortable with the board, learn about paddling, and begin to master basics before heading to the beach. Mornings can begin with a Pilates-for-surfing session followed by three to four hours of surf coaching. Kalon sets itself apart by using video analysis as a key element of its instruction.
THE DURATION: Seven days
THE PERKS: A large, luxe ocean-view house (with private rooms and bathrooms) is the setting for the surf school, and the resident chef focuses on meals that are fresh and local. Wednesday, the off day, is reserved for massages.
PILATES AND MAT
Escape to Shape, Destination Detox
THE DESTINATION: The quaint town of Hudson, New York, located just two hours from Manhattan and perched on the Hudson River.
THE CHALLENGE: This getaway rallies up to twelve guests for a week of highly-tailored, goal-based holistic wellness. The daily schedule might look something like a three-hour hike, followed by a Pilates session, trainer Kiya Knight’s Weightless fitness class (a combination of cardio, strength, and mind training), and meditation. There’s even a life coach, should you so desire.
THE DURATION: Seven days
THE PERKS: While alcohol, gluten, and coffee are blackballed from the retreat, the end goal of breaking unhealthy habits may be worth it. Distracting you from their absence is a bounty of deliciousness, including fresh raw juices and simple, organic meals. One-on-one fitness and nutrition assessments, cooking classes, mindfulness seminars, and massages are also part of the program.
June 23–30; July 7–14; July 27–August 3; August 3–10; September 7–14; September 14–21; October 4–11, 2013