Forget quitting the gym for a fortnight and moving only to top up your poolside cocktail. Victoria Stokes says calorie-burning, sweat-inducing fitness breaks are the travel trend to try.
Gone are the days when a vaycay meant lounging by the hotel pool for two weeks solid, going back for thirds at the continental breakfast buffet and downing a few too many three-for-a-fiver shots.
These days, even the most bone idle among us are likely to indulge in a little activity during our break away, whether it’s a few leisurely laps in the pool or a hillside hike en route to a breathtaking viewing point.
For the confirmed fitness fanatic though, active retreats are becoming the holiday du jour, and there’s plenty to choose from, whether you’re a budding yogi, a weight lifting champ or a gym bunny who just fancies getting a sweat on in sunnier climes.
The retreat: Titan Fitness. Phuket, Thailand
Who it’s for: Seasoned fitness pros. High-tempo cardio classes and heavy lifting are the name of the game at Titan so sit this one out if you’re not a gym regular.
The Cost: As far as fitness retreats go, this one’s pretty budget. Basic packages for training and accommodation start at €260 a week. Want something a little more fancy? Titan also offer luxury digs and unlimited training from €673 weekly. If it’s an image overhaul you’re after consider the Premium Transformation programme; a pricier option starting at €2,494 for four weeks.
What’s on offer: Pack your gym chalk and weight lifting belt for this one because it’s not for the faint-hearted. Divided between two gyms – one indoor, one outdoor – vaycayers can choose between personal training or a wide range of classes, that include Olympic Weight Lifting, Spin-core and Muay Thai Boxing.
What’s more you’ll receive expert advice from the camp’s trainers, who’ll coach you through the intensive classes and provide all the knowledge you need on perfecting your technique and form.
Foodies are catered for too, and after you’ve worked up a sufficient sweat you’ll be treated to a macro-friendly menu of both European and Thai delights like delish curries, fresh fish and pineapple boats in the camp’s healthy kitchen, all included in the cost.
On rest days: Give yourself a day off and hit up nearby island Koh Phi Phi. Once there, be sure to visit Maya Bay, the gorgeous sandy cove featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s hit film The Beach. Hey, if it’s good enough for Leo…
The Best bit: Titan Fitness count relaxation as one of the main keys to transforming your body (along with proper training and the correct nutrition, obvs) so kicking back at the pool between classes isn’t just advisable, it’s pretty much mandatory. Sold.
The retreat: Helios Retreat. Mykonos, Greece
Who it’s for: Combining tough training with fun day trips and massages, this retreat’s for the gal who likes to work hard, but play hard too.
The cost: Best delve into your savings account for this one. Prices start from €2,288 per person but there’s a whole lotta ace stuff included. As well as food, training and accommodation, guests are treated to price inclusive extras like airport transfers and an Elemis goody bag on arrival.
What’s on offer: Helios have left no stone unturned when it comes to tailoring the perfect active trip away. Guests will stay in a luxury villa with en suite, and receive a complimentary 30 minute massage and a non-alcoholic bevy on arrival.
Once settled, visitors can then chow down on three nutritionally-focused meals a day, and keep themselves topped up with two healthy snacks.
You’ll no doubt need the extra calories with two training sessions, two yoga sessions and a guided meditation all on the daily agenda. Treks to the old town and mountain hikes are also on the itinerary and at an extra cost you can opt for personal training too.
Better yet the retreat also offers guest appearances from some of the world’s most in-demand yoga teachers, wellness experts and celebrity trainers, so you can be certain you’re getting in shape with the very best guidance.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of time to rest and recuperate with fun day trips like diving, sailing, water sports, horseback riding, safari and beach hopping available at an extra cost.
On rest days: Sneak out for a cocktail on the strip (Mykonos is famed for being a party spot after all…) or hit up a stomping beach party or booze cruise. Just, er, don’t tell your trainer.
The best bit: The views. Roz Purcell hit up this stunning resort in May and her Instagram snaps are enough to give anyone wanderlust. Expect crystal clear waters, infinity pools stretching into the horizon and white sandy beaches. The perfect backdrop for getting your sweat on.
The retreat: EcoYoga. Argyll, Scotland
Who it’s for: Best for yogis who are more concerned with self care than calorie burn.
The cost: Prices vary depending on the retreat you choose, but guests can expect to pay around €458 and up for a five night stay. Check the centre’s website for upcoming retreats over the summer and, ‘cos they’re super popular, be sure to nab one before they sell out.
What’s on offer: Consider this the ultimate in taking care of mind, body and soul. Tucked away in the Scottish highlands, it’s the perfect spot for anyone in search of a little R&R. In the studio, guests can practice yoga alongside some of the best yoga teachers in the world while getting zen to the gentle noise of waterfalls in the nearby forest.
Outside, have a dip in one of the centre’s natural wooden hot tubs or choose a hideaway bathing spot in the forest or riverbank.
Hungry? EcoYoga food is all organic and vegetarian and comes straight from the centre’s garden so you know you’re eating only the most nutritious grub. Hang in the Workshop Cafe for afters, and get to know your fellow retreaters over a cuppa.
And if you’re still not feeling ever-so mellow? Sink into one of the retreat’s luxurious kingsize beds and catch views of the river outside your window. Bliss.
On rest days: A peaceful walk through the Scottish Highlands is the order of the day. Take in vast lochs, rivers and forests and remember to pack your rain coat and some hiking boots.
The best bit: The Sento Bathing Dome. Set inside a glass dome that’s filled with natural light, this is a hot tub like no other. Look out over the scenery as you’re treated to rainforest showers, and then trot off to the Artisan Sauna just down the path to open those pores.
This article first appeared in STELLAR’s July issue. Our August issue is on shelves now!
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