Fancy an active adventure? Try one of these fitness breaks as recommended by Lonely Planet
Combine travel, fitness, relaxation and weight loss with an active holiday that's a lot more exciting than simply lying on the beach. These top 10 recommended fitness trips come from the Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2013.
The Perla Hotel, on northern Italy’s Adriatic Riviera, is one of many in the region popular with triathletes and recreational cyclists. Hotel-led group training rides are held in the surrounding hills (perfect also for training runs), or borrow a bike for a casual spin along the oceanside cycling path.
Tick off your swim training with a dip in the ocean, followed a by a run down the boardwalk. Hey, with all that training, you can afford a little pizza, pasta and gelato!
Triathlon training for beginners
Weight loss-oriented backpacking sessions, intended for people 7kg-34kg overweight, are a great way to lose a few kilos. Organised by fatpacking.com, the one- to two-week wilderness hikes promise a weight loss of between 2kg and 3kg a week, combined with an increase in muscle mass.
Hike locations range from the craggy, cloud-shrouded peaks of Chilean Patagonia to the steamy subtropical swamplands of north Florida and the bewitching red-rock desert of Utah’s canyonlands.
The build your walking fitness workout
The setting – a luscious stretch of golden beach on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula – should take some of the sting out of the butt-kicking daily schedule at this much-imitated fitness retreat.
Days begin at 6.45am and include gruelling vinyasa yoga classes, sweaty beach volleyball games and power abs workouts, plus swim-time in local cenotes (water-filled sinkholes) and hiking through the Mayan ruins of Tulum. Solo travellers are welcomed.
More bootcamp ideas
Get in touch with your hunter-gatherer roots at the Wildfitness nature-oriented resort on Kenya's north coast near Watamu. Expect ‘wild moving’ (barefoot running, swimming, climbing), ‘wild eating’ (lots of meats, fruits and vegetables, no dairy or processed foods) and ‘wild living’ (good sleep habits, ‘tribal bonding’ with others). And when you're not thinking 'wild', relax on the roof deck or luxuriate in a deep tissue massage.
Detox regimes promise to cure you of everything from anxiety to bloated stomach to ‘vagueness’ at this New Age-meets-Eastern retreat in Bali’s Ubud district.
Bagus Jati’s Balinese-style villas overlook a lush, misty valley of ferns and betel-nut palms, while daily treatments range from herbal teas to acupuncture to mud wraps.
For exercise, try yoga in the pavilion surrounded by sun-dappled bamboo forest, or kick it up with a five-hour pre-dawn trek to witness the sunrise from the peak of Mt Batur.
Try a spiritual spa in beautiful Bali
Did you ever see a pro surfer with less-than-flat abs? Exactly. Newbies are welcome at this fun-loving Aussie surf school, where you’ll learn to ride the waves, and tone up your core in the bargain. Days are spent paddling in the sapphire waters of iconic Byron Bay and Seven Mile Beach, while nights mean relaxing at your rustic beach cabin or partying with your instructors.
Surfing: the secret of Cameron Diaz' flat stomach
You’ve watched the Tour de France – why not ride it yourself? Several companies offer cycling tours of chunks of the competition route – scale the dizzying heights of Mont Ventoux or choose a gentler route through the velvety hills of the Basque Country.
Most companies recommend you come with a fairly high level of fitness to begin with – a recreational cyclist who does a couple of 30km rides a week should be fine. If you get too winded, you can always crash in the sag van.
Cycle training to get you on your bike
You don't need to be a professional yogini to stay at the Sivananda ashram on Paradise Island, but bear in mind the following rules: eight hours of yoga and meditation a day; no alcohol, cigarettes and meat.
What the jungle ashram lacks in tropical cocktails, however, it makes up for in uber-healthy communal vegetarian meals, massages and Ayurvedic spa treatments.
More great spa, yoga, wellness breaks
If exercise is not your thing, do as the chic-est of Parisians and go for a round of thalassotherapy in Biarritz: the skin-boosting water treatment that involves being wrapped in mud and hosed off with sea water.
The French consider it medicinal, and many claim it’s the secret to inch-loss.
Thalassotherapy in Brittany
Most hikers on the 3,500km-long Appalachian Trail aren't there specifically to lose a few pounds, but it’s certainly a side benefit for some. You can expect to burn a whopping 4,000-6,000 calories A DAY trekking stretches of the heather-clad mountains and rugged green valleys on the trail, which starts in Georgia and traverses 14 states before ending in Maine.
For trail information: www.appalachiantrail.org
More of 2013’s hottest destinations and travel experiences are revealed in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2013, out now, priced at £9.99. It's also available in a full-colour digital edition, from the iBookstore for £6.99.
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