Take a Fitness Vacation
When was the last time you devoted an entire week – or even a couple of days – to your physical and mental well-being? If you're like many women, you spend most of your time caring for others, managing a household and building your career – with little time for yourself. Sooner or later, your body lets you know that it won't be ignored any longer. That's when it's time to vacation at a place dedicated to your health and fitness.
More and more vacation destinations are realizing that wellness is a huge priority. Fitness resorts provide a strengthening and rejuvenating experience so you can head back to the "real world" with a new lease on life.
Canada's Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa, nestled in the Kootenay Mountains of southeastern British Columbia, is a prime example. Whether you want to lose weight or simply kick-start a fitness and nutrition program, this may be just what you are looking for.
At Mountain Trek, you will wake at dawn to the sound of the wind in the trees, the gurgle of a glacier-fed stream and the call of busy birds. You'll hike through meadows, breathing in the clean air, breaking for healthy yet delicious meals. You may journey on a mountain bike, kayak down a stream or participate in a snowshoeing or skiing excursion. You'll enjoy yoga with renowned guru Nateshvar Ken Scott, the creator of Danskinetics, Yogassage and Yoga Systems. You'll wind down your day with a massage, Jacuzzi soak or dip in the local hot springs before falling into a deep and satisfying sleep.
Add to your itinerary some good-for-you body treatments, such as Swedish massage, aromatherapy, natural facial treatment and reflexology. Note: these are not your typical "spa" treatments! Mountain Trek believes beauty comes from within, so these services are geared toward a healthy lifestyle rather than primping or pampering.
There are several weight-loss programs, including a weeklong spa-cuisine cooking course. Mountain Trek also offers a "women only" weight loss retreat, hosted by a naturopathic staff physician. The week is geared toward women who are serious about losing weight and who want to learn different aspects of natural healing. The focus is on diet, appropriate outdoor and indoor exercise and education.
Be warned: Mountain Trek has no televisions and only one pay phone. You will be disconnected from the world (which is not necessarily a bad thing!). The 12-bedroom lodge is situated on lake Kootenay and the atmosphere is one of rustic comfort, with private guest bedrooms and locally made twig furniture in the lounge, where a large fireplace is the social center of the lodge. The philosophy of Mountain Trek is geared toward holistic rejuvenation – a "vacation for the body and mind," according to owner Wendy Pope. Pope and her staff see themselves as gentle guides, helping guests decompress and learn better nutrition habits with a meat- and caffeine-free diet that is low in sodium and fat.
Mountain Trek's six-day all-inclusive hiking program is $2,139 per person, which includes a backpack, water bottle, Mountain Trek t-shirt and red sweat suit.
For more information or to make reservations, call 800-661-5161 or visit www.hiking.com.
Arizona's Canyon Ranch, in the foothills of Tucson's Sonoran desert, aims to be a life-altering experience that will set you on a course to longevity. You can choose from a variety of classes, workshops and consultations focusing on health issues, combating stress, weight management or a variety of other wellness concerns. With a second health resort in the woodlands of the Berkshire Mountains in Lenox, Mass., you may decide to refine your fitness workout or discover the benefits of reflection and relaxation. The newest addition to Canyon is its SpaClub located in The Venetian Resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
Every Canyon Ranch location strives to improve guests' quality of life through fitness and outdoor sports, medical and behavioral services and consultations, nutrition workshops, spiritual pursuits, healthy gourmet cuisine and spa services.
Personal choice is emphasized and you can design the vacation you want. A typical day may begin with a morning walk followed by a selection of exercise classes before lunch. In the afternoon, you may dive into an aquatic class, practice yoga or take a nutrition workshop. You also can consult with a nutritionist, exercise physiologist, physician or therapist.
Throughout the day, lectures and workshops are offered on a variety of wellness topics. Learn to deal with medical issues, quit smoking, lose weight, get fit, manage stress, achieve balance, accept yourself and control your life.
You'll then wind down your day with a healthy dinner followed by your choice of a soothing massage, facial, aroma-bath or other relaxing treatment.
Canyon's "Life Enhancement Program" focuses on self-discovery, preventive care and the development of positive lifestyle habits. You can elect to come for a Specialty Week or Special Program, a small group experience covering a specific health and wellness concern.
Arizona's all-inclusive rates start at $2,580 per person for four nights, $4,160 for seven nights. Massachusetts' all-inclusive rates start at $1,900 for four nights, $3,580 for seven nights.
For more information, call 800-742-9000 or visit www.canyonranch.com.
Tennessee Fitness Spa
Located 95 miles southwest of Nashville, Tenn. at Natural Bridge, Tennessee Fitness Spa is situated on 100 acres of historic land teaming with wildlife. The emphasis here is on fitness and exercise – you'll be moving and shaking! – but you are also free to relax at any time.
A typical day begins with a healthy breakfast, followed by your daily exercise program. A warm-up and walk sets the tone for the day. Depending on your fitness level, your group leader will guide you through 2 to 12 miles of scenic trails. When you get back, an aerobics class awaits you, which is followed by lunch. A nutrition or fitness lecture is your respite before the aerobic step class, weight training and/or Aquacise. Then it's on to dinner, after which you will take in an evening lecture followed by cross-training exercises, volleyball or pool games. There are also cooking classes and movies.
Tired yet? Don't worry – you can rest whenever you like! The Spa's facilities include a racquetball court, aerobics gym (where you can take a variety of aerobics classes), 10-person hot tub, covered pool (hosting a multitude of water sports), hiking trails, weight room and sauna.
You also can enjoy services such as massage, body wraps, facials, manicures, pedicures and beauty treatments. The rate for a standard room, single occupancy, is $1,025 per person, per week. If you share a room, the price drops (a quad room is only $625 per person, per week). Deluxe and penthouse rooms are also available.
For more information, call 800-235-8365 or visit www.tfspa.com.
Global Fitness Adventures
If you're looking for adventure in a more exotic locale, try Global Fitness Adventures, a company that provides "healthy hiking vacations that rejuvenate mind, body and spirit." These exotic trips are arranged in small groups to encourage camaraderie while slimming and toning your body.
You will enjoy exploring different cultures while walking, hiking, horseback riding, biking, whitewater rafting, scuba diving and more. Each vacation includes yoga, meditation, massage and healthy spa cuisine.
Upcoming trips include: Kenya (August); Lake Como, Italy (June); Aspen (summer and fall); and Bhutan, Himalayas (September and October).
For more information, call 800-488-TRIP or visit www.globalfitnessadventure.com.