Boot camps, by definition, come with a bit of negative connotation. Being forced to wake up at dawn to partake in some impossible exercises seems borderline miserable—especially for those of us who fall more on the beginner-to-intermediate level on the “in-shape spectrum.” But, don’t despair, working out can be enjoyable — a vacation even! Here are the most effective spa boot camps out there that can ease you into a fitness routine.
With two incredibly serene locations in British Columbia and Baja California, Mexico, the all-inclusive Mountain Trek is a “boot camp vacation program” that focuses on kick-starting metabolism, while providing a holistic—and luxurious—approach to every guest. It’s great for those who want a mind-body-connection experience, where the end goal is less about shedding pounds and more about helping you reclaim your overall functional health. Groups are limited to 16 people, and activities range from hiking, yoga, massage and detox treatments, plus a variety of fitness and nutrition classes. Each year, the program offers an international adventure version as well; this year, it will be held on the Amalfi Coast in the spring.
If you’ve seen the show, you probably already know the drill. With a highly certified team of coaches and counselors, The Biggest Loser Resort is a world-class wellness destination that offers a results-oriented program structured to make getting healthy simple and achievable. Even though the program is done in a “boot camp” style, a typical day includes all four pillars of what makes the program unique and effective: fitness/witness, wellness education, spa cuisine meals and camaraderie with fellow guests.
Be Fit Method Beach Boot Camp at W Fort Lauderdale Hotel
Performed oceanfront on the soft sand with an amazing view of the famous Fort Lauderdale beach, the Be Fit Method Boot Camp at W Fort Lauderdale Hotel is a balanced barefoot workout designed to accommodate all ages and fitness levels. Integrating functional training modalities, including interval aerobic and sports strength conditioning, core training, plyometrics, boxing and basic yoga/movement patterns, the exhilarating experience ends with a brief meditation and breath work to hone focus. (Head over the hotel’s Bliss spa post-workout for a steam or a dip in the pool.)
Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa
Close enough to the Cancun airport that it makes for an easy flight and car transfer, Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa’s annual June “Food, Fashion and Fitness Getaway” immerses guests in gastronomy, style and well-being in Mexico’s beautiful Riviera Maya. Targeting both fitness fanatics and those who just want to step-up their exercise regime, the three-night retreat includes organic cooking classes and full-on integration of fashion tips and fitness sessions on the beach.
The Ranch at Live Oak/Malibu
Full disclosure: The Ranch at Live Oak/Malibu is a more intense, stringent (they are pretty upfront about their “no-option” policy in both relation to food and fitness) program that delivers serious, almost guaranteed results. It’s great for solo travelers or anyone who wants to get a little bit off the grid, as the program also stresses “no distractions” (i.e., no laptops), but it doesn’t really fool around when it comes to a certain level of strictness: You are expected to rise for the 5:30 a.m. wakeup call for the morning hike and the meals at the ranch—vegetarian options grown on-site and locally—run right around 1,500 calories, with alcohol, caffeine and processed sugars being completely excluded.
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