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Fitness Travel
One of the hottest trends in travel is getting fit while getting away. It's passe to take a vacation from healthy eating while you're on vacation -- after all, a week full of cruise line buffets, lazy days at the beach or sugary margaritas will leave you feeling guilty and regretful when you get home from your travels and find that your pants have mysteriously shrunk. An alternative to lazy, waist-expanding getaways, get-in-shape vacations combine the fun of travel with fitness-focused activities like practicing yoga on the beach, learning native dance moves in an African village or backpacking across a national park. If this sounds like your idea of a worthwhile escape, dust off your leotard and book one of the following active adventures.

Green Mountain at Fox Run -- Ludlow, Vermont
This women-only wellness retreat focuses on self-esteem building in addition to physical fitness, and aims to permanently improve the lifestyle of its participants. Don't come here if you just want to lose a pound or two. The Green Mountain program, which strives to help guests achieve long-lasting fitness and stop dieting for good, is more a life-changing experience than a quick fix.

Guests participate in various workshops each day, which include "Managing Food Cravings," Back Exercises - Strong and Safe," and "Fitness for Women During the Life Cycle." The workshops are designed to encourage women to share experiences and support each other. Participants can discuss their relationships with food or learn techniques to deal with emotional eating while bonding with fellow ladies who deal with similar issues in their own lives.

The program also offers exercise sessions such as Pilates and yoga classes. During colder months, Green Mountain hosts cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in Vermont's peaceful winter landscapes.

Green Mountain runs specialty programs for people with diabetes and college-age women along with its typical weight-loss programs. Off-season rates start at $2,200 for one week (for a room shared with two other people). Spring and summer prices are generally more expensive.

Bikini Boot Camp -- Amansala, Mexico
bikini boot camp Created by two Manhattan-based women who believe that travel can be synonymous with a healthy lifestyle, Bikini Boot Camp revitalizes and rejuvenates the weary and overworked with fun, fast-paced fitness activities. The six-night program is limited to 25 men and women, and is held at the eco-chic Amansala resort, located on the remote beach setting of Tulum, Mexico.

Days start with a beach or jungle power walk followed by a combination of body sculpting, power abdominal sessions or Pilates, and end with yoga and meditation. There are excursions to the nearby jungle for swimming and snorkeling, visits to Mayan ruins, and beachside massages. Guests dine on local food like freshly caught grilled fish, mangoes, jicima salads and other delectable low-cal selections.

The six-night programs are held year round, and three- and four-night programs are available upon request (based on availability). Prices for the six-night program start at $2,135 per person.

The Hills Health Spa -- British Columbia, Canada
Specializing in weight loss, fitness, hiking and gourmet spa cuisine, the Hills Health Ranch is located on 20,000 acres of scenic ranch lands in British Columbia. The spa offers extensive daily fitness programs, such as yoga, Pilates, aerobics and aqua fit, and boasts 18 wellness, massage and spa treatment rooms, three spa lounges, two exclusive dining rooms, plus hiking, canoeing and biking services.

In addition to a "create your own vacation package" tool that allows guests to pick and choose meal plans, spa treatments and more, the Hills Health Ranch offers a number of specialty packages to suit various interests. For example, "Hike 'n' Spa" lets guests explore the resort's spectacular natural surroundings -- those who select this package can choose to partake in early-morning guided walks, afternoon group hikes, private guided hikes, mountain biking and canoeing, and can even spot wildlife while trekking by lakes, meadows and mountains.

Package lengths and prices vary. The Ranch is currently offering a six-night all-inclusive spa vacation for $869 per person on the "Specials" section of its Web site.

Fatpacking -- Various Locations
fatpacking As you may have already deduced, Fatpacking is backpacking geared specifically for weight loss. Participants embark on wilderness hiking vacations with the dual objective of altering body composition while enjoying the great outdoors.

According to the Fatpacking Web site, most Fatpackers lose about five pounds per week while increasing muscle mass. And better yet, Fatpacking participants are actually encouraged to eat what they like! Fatpackers carry all necessary food and gear on their backs while walking, and get in shape by hiking through rugged trails, setting up tents and swimming.

Upcoming Fatpacking trips are planned for the Great Smoky Mountains, the Israeli National Trail and Redwood National Park, just to name a few. Trip rates and lengths vary, but one-week trips usually cost about $1,000 per person and two-week trips cost about $1,650 per person.

Wildfitness -- Kenya and Greece
If you're looking to get in shape and visit an exotic destination, Wildfitness in Kenya or Greece is a must-try vacation alternative. Your fitness center will either be at Watamu, one of the top beaches in the world on the Kenyan coast, or in Milia Village, a remote retreat in the mountains of Greece.

You can choose from courses such as swimming, running, weights, circuits, yoga, tai chi, canoeing, deep sea fishing, diving, windsurfing and surfing, depending on destination. Extensive workouts are balanced with relaxing activities like massages, stretching, meditation and sunbathing so that guests do not become overworked or strained. Nutritional guidance is also provided to help participants develop a balanced and healthy diet.

The Kenya vacation is based in Baraka House, a private hotel that boasts panoramic rooftops and balconies overlooking the Indian Ocean. Accommodations for the Greece package are in eco-friendly, historic stone houses. Prices start at 1,985 GBP (about $2,924) for nine days in Kenya, or 1,850 GBP (about $2,725) for one week in Greece. (Visit xe.com for the latest exchange rates.)

Related Links
  • Avoiding the Airplane Cold
  • Write About Your Latest Trip
  • Safety and Health Resources
  • Traveling with Dietary Restrictions
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    --updated by Caroline Costello
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