There has been a shift in behaviour for travelers, especially when it comes to a better quality of life and long-term health. People are living longer these days because they are taking care of their bodies through exercise, healthy eating, and nurturing the mind. A fitness holiday seems to be a natural fit to those who expect to come back from a holiday the same weight, shape, or mindset when they left. The only difference is, they want to seek out a unique grass-root adventure and return home with a lifelong memory.
You don’t have to give up your favorite workout when you travel but you can experience it in a completely different way. Below are 5 workouts that can be achieved for the fitness at heart.
1. Spinning/Indoor Cycling – The Body Holiday, St. Lucia
This is an all-inclusive resort but it doesn’t mean that you spend your holiday lying around on the beach, stuffing yourself at the buffet restaurant, or closing the bar at night. I chose this resort for its incredible tree house spin studio. This 1,000 square-foot, glass-enclosed studio is located 25 feet above the ground surrounded by tropical gardens and breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea.
This is a workout that can be enjoyed by all ages and fitness levels. Art McDonald, Certified Exercise Physiologist (CSEP) comments that “studio cycling on its own can be an amazing workout, burning up to 600 calories per hour in an extremely fun and energetic environment. When you combine a spinning class with the atmosphere created at the Body Holiday, you’ll find yourself as excited as ever to take your body through a physical toll a spin class can create.”
How can you resist a resort whose slogan is ‘Give us Your Body for a Week, and we’ll give you back your mind.’
2. Yoga – India
If you’re going to practice yoga, you might as well travel to the yoga capital of the world, India. You can simply enjoy the rich and diversified culture of Indian life or seek a travel study program that involves various yoga practices. Travel from the international yoga capital, Rishikesh, located in the foothills of the Himalayas, to experience Hatha yoga or if you prefer the serenity of the beach, study Sivananda yoga in Goa.
Art suggests “there are obvious physical benefits to Yoga; however, the benefits to the mind are sometimes difficult to discuss and convey into words. It’s something that needs to be experienced. Maybe you feel you already have good mind and body balance. Whether you do or don’t, it can’t hurt to try out a few different types of yoga styles (ESPECIALLY IN INDIA!). The physical body by itself can look and even feel great but without a balanced mind you can still feel unfulfilled.”
India is a diverse country where there is so much to explore beyond its cities. Travel off-the-beaten-path to view wildlife, experience culture, and immerse yourself in a completely different lifestyle. It will change you for the better.
3. Circuit Training – Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the perfect getaway to experience this type of workout. You can turn a 30-minute high intensity workout into one of the most fun and adventurous activities of your life. From zip-lining across jungle canopies to cycling up volcano hilltops, you can get an adrenaline filled workout and not even know it.
Art suggests that “interval training through circuit training is one of the best, all around activities for your body. In order to achieve peak, complete physical conditioning, you need to stress the muscles in both a strength and muscle endurance fashion. Circuit training provides that opportunity. Yes, the heart is a muscle too and because you’re training it at many different heart rates and many different recovery intervals with circuit training, it too is getting a very well balanced and physically optimized workout. The best part about this workout is that the scenery and activities are world class and not only with the time fly by while you’re training and burning up to 600 calories per hour, but you won’t be able to wait to get right back at it after you’re rested.”
4. Boot Camp – South Africa
When you think of South Africa, the first thing that comes to mind is a safari. There is so much more to explore than wildlife, so whether you are young or old, there are a wide range of activity options for every fitness level. From Cape Point in the Western Cape to Messina in Limpopo province, follow one of the many adventure trails to hike, run and experience a boot camp workout.
Traveling solo or within a group? A functional style boot camp can add variety and fun through forested corridors, across grassland, steep mountains, or white sandy beaches. Art adds, “boot camp classes are the way to go for those looking for a hard core workout that optimizes your time and efforts. Yes, you’ll have some fun by accident as well, but think of it as a circuit class with a bit of an edge. Of course, a lot depends on the personalities of the instructor and class participants but you can expect a bit more focus on specific, multi-joint exercises (ie. lunges, squats, push-ups, and sit ups) with the all-around goal of improving functionality of the body. These classes will force your muscles to move in ways they do in normal, everyday life but they’ll do it with resistance levels and repetition numbers that will be an overload for your body and therefore provide you with an opportunity to adapt (get stronger). This means your everyday movements will become easier and more efficient. It may also provide you with the opportunity to do some ‘not so every day’ movements after a few months of adaptation. “
Amazing workout, amazing location!
5. Triathlon – Hawaii
For over 35 years, the world’s best tri-athletes have travelled to Hawaii to compete in the Ironman World Championship. What better way to experience the terrain in this country than by doing it yourself through swimming, biking, and running through some of the most challenging roads and terrain of Hawaii. Of course, you are only competing with yourself, but turn your trip and training into a ‘traincation’ and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in the world by swimming, running some great trails in the mountains, and cycle along the coastline to take in the spectacular scenery.
Art suggests “ you don’t take on a 4 hour swim, bike and run if you’re a novice but a few minutes here and there and you’ve got yourself 1000 calories burned in an hour and possibly a bit of time added on to the end of your life. Yes, the improvement for the heart is a pretty nice secondary benefit for those athletes that love the endurance and versatility of triathlon training. There’s not a lot of research to indicate that swimming, biking, and running for 10 hours is physically better for you than doing those activities for 1 hour on a regular basis but when you start in a place like Hawaii, you may not want to stop until you’ve soaked in 10 hours of amazing scenery.
Please consult with your local exercise physiologist, doctor, or trainer prior to tackling this type of training for the first time. There are a myriad of variables to consider including some specific prep training and nutritional requirements prior to enjoying scenery at 75% of your maximum heart rate for long periods of time!”