As the lazy days of summer approach, it can be easy to forgo those extra spinning classes at the gym in favor of an extra ice cream sundae or fruity umbrella drink by the pool. After all, what’s better than summer besides summer vacation?
But what if a warm-weather getaway could prove to be the catalyst for finally achieving a major fitness milestone or dropping those last 15 pounds? In the spirit of multitasking efficiency, there are scores of vacay options that offer travelers the best of summer fun and relaxation – plus a killer workout. Here are our five faves. Bikini season does last until September, after all.
The Biggest Loser Resort, Niagara – Java Center, New York
We’d be remiss to compile a list of fitness getaways and not include the Biggest Loser Resorts, as fans of the long-running NBC reality show have often wondered how they could have their own Biggest Loser ranch experience, complete with kick-butt trainers, expert nutritionists and plenty of time to take advantage of it all (whether you need to lose 10 pounds or 100).
While there are currently four Biggest Loser Resorts in operation, we’re partial to the Niagara location for its breathtaking landscape with sparkling lakes and beautiful pine tree forests, through which guests will take their daily hikes. Also unique to the Niagara resort is a brand-new, state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen where guests will get hands-on lessons in daily food preparation. And, as always, visitors can expect around seven hours of daily exercise, gourmet meals – and a total body (and mind) transformation.
Stays at the Biggest Loser Resort, Niagara are booked in 7-day increments, with rates starting at $2,745 per week for a 400 square-foot, double-occupancy villa and $2,995 per week for a 310 square-foot private room. Financing is available.
“Kicking It Up with the Rockettes” – The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway
Ever dream of being a famous Rockette dancer, gracefully high-kicking along New York’s Radio City Music Hall stage? Well, here’s your chance to at least train like one, all while cruising the high seas on a dream vacation.
On the first sail of every month, two Rockettes will be aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway ship, leading three morning fitness sessions designed by the world-renowned group. Guests will also have the opportunity to learn the signature choreography during a Rockettes dance class. And for travelers who are unable to sail at the beginning of the month, the Norwegian Breakaway fitness team will host Rockettes-inspired classes on all subsequent trips.
Rates for the seven-day cruises sailing from NYC to Bermuda start at $539 per person in June and $799 per person in July.
Executive Wellness program, Rancho La Puerta – Tecate, Mexico
For folks in high-stress jobs, finding the time and space to relax and rejuvenate – while still addressing health and fitness needs – can be incredibly difficult. But, now, a one-week jaunt south of the border to Rancho La Puerta (named #1 Destination Spa by Travel + Leisure’s 2013 World’s Best Awards) can solve all of that.
Through a partnership with San Diego’s Lifewellness Institute, Rancho La Puerta recently launched Executive Wellness, its one-week program designed to alleviate the health problems of high-powered executive guests. At the centerpiece of the program is the Lifewellness physical examination. Then, following the thorough evaluation of the participant’s current health status and examination of any future health risks, guests complete a one-week stay at the resort, during which Rancho La Puerta’s fitness and nutrition experts customize a workout and eating plan specific to each individual’s needs.
Additionally, Rancho La Puerta just expanded its wellness offerings for 2014 with new spa treatments that include the latest trend of candle oil massages, partnerships with Juice Beauty and PINO Natural Spa Therapy, plus new fitness classes, including Salsa y Salsa, a unique three-hour experience that combines fun, fitness and food at Rancho La Puerta’s culinary center, La Cocina Que Canta.
Rates for the Executive Wellness program are $6,950 per person, plus tax.
For fitness enthusiasts who bore easily with standard, lounge-on-the-beach vacation face, BikeHike Adventures has a number of trips designed to keep travelers active and challenged.
For the especially ambitious, the Scotland Mountain Biking Coast to Coast trip definitely won’t disappoint. Over the course of 10 days, travelers will bike across the rugged Scottish Highlands, from Aberdeen on the east coast of Scotland to Ardnamurchan on the west coast (the westernmost point of mainland Britain).
The route covers 208 miles, with 2,100 ft of ascents and descents, ranging from flowing single-track, to challenging mountain passes and mellow fire roads. Along the way, travelers pass ancient pine forests, crumbling castles, stately country estates, famous whiskey distilleries and welcoming local pubs.
Though this trip is pegged with a difficulty rating of “strenuous,” there will be plenty of time to explore and rest, too (see the full itinerary here). Hotel accommodations throughout the countryside are included in the fee, as are most meals (9 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 2 dinners), all equipment and access to English-speaking guides. Rates are $3,699 per person.
QUENCH Program at Lake Austin Spa Resort – Austin, Texas
Summertime and water sports go together like barbecue grills and hamburger patties, but it’s probably safe to say that most people aren’t exactly reaching their target fat-burning zone with their leisurely laps around the pool. Enter QUENCH.
Held at the award-winning, 40-room Lake Spa and Resort in Austin, Texas, QUENCH is a seven day summer program that wraps more than 25 water-themed activities into one incredible weeklong adventure. Activities include deep water workouts, sculling, kayaking and hydro-biking, as well as cooking demonstrations, spa services and classes with renowned aquatic experts Katie Spotz, Mary Quinn and Linda Griffith.
Paddleboarding on Lake Austin is a highlight of the cardio program, and after learning the basics of correct paddle technique (including sizing paddles, paddle grip, correct board stance, paddle stroke and skills, turning the board and board balance), guests will have a chance to test their balance with inventive classes such as ABS-olutely Paddleboarding (a group class that features core and abdominal workouts while floating on water), Sunrise Stand Up and Paddle Stretch and Yoga.
The weeklong QUENCH program is offered four times in 2014 – June 2-9, July 7-14, August 25-September 1 and September 22-29 – though most of the classes will be offered sporadically throughout the summer. Rates for the full week are $3390 per person, double occupancy, and include all meals and classes/activities. Spa treatments are additional.