Buff up your beleaguered body with a trip to the Body Holiday in St Lucia, an award- winning fitness resort whose marketing motto is: “Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind.” It offers a balanced mix of pampering and exercise including all sorts of scrubs, wraps and massages in its spa – the perfect way to un-kink after a day spent in its yoga and Pilates studios, or recovering from one of its “hard core” gym workouts. Join organised morning walks, combat fitness classes or simply rely on the water skiing and windsurfing programmes to strengthen your core.
Either way you will get back not just your mind but a smaller body too. A week's all-inclusive stay costs €3,907 in May, including a 30 per cent online discount.
There are hospitals and there are hotels but who would have thought the twain could meet? While you have been busy putting off being good until mañana, guests at the SHA Wellness Clinic in Valencia have been enjoying health and nutrition checkups, super healthy cuisine, yoga, tai chi, deep tissue massage and the services of a personal trainer. Ditch the eggs this Easter in favour of a five-day programme here including all sorts of therapeutic treatments such as deep tissue and craniocervical massage (relax, it’s just your head) plus lymphatic drainage. Or call on the services of a personal trainer to design a bespoke programme for your wobbly bits. Priced from € 1,350 per person.
Want to change your life? Start with a trip to the Como Shambhala Estate, near Ubud in Bali. Billed as a “true retreat for change” it offers fitness-oriented breaks built not just around top-notch gym facilities but about being out in the great wide open and enjoying the spectacular scenery on its biking, hiking and water-based activity breaks. Combine that with its personalised cleanse programme to help improve lymphatic circulation and give your liver, bowels, kidneys and skin a boost too.
Hey, just because it doesn’t make you look any better in Lycra doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. The all-inclusive programme, including airport transfers and a daily round of activities and treatments, costs from €4,533 for one week’s stay.
Fitness break specialist Fitscape has seven-night holidays in the Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy, staying in a five-star hotel. On hand is a team of personal trainers and a packed programme of outdoor pursuits that promises to have you feeling energised, recharged and motivated to keep up the good work.
The focus here is on cardio-fitness, stamina and strength, with weight-loss thrown in as a bonus.
Don’t feel oppressed by the hectic line-up, all activities are optional whether your preference is hiking, circuit training, running, boxercise or cycling. The food is healthy, the surrounds are gorgeous and the exertion levels are up to you. Priced from £1,995 (€2,400) for a week’s stay based on two sharing.
The best exercise is the kind you don’t even know you’re getting, either because you’re in good company or because the scenery is just so spectacular it takes the edge off your exertions. Take a mate to Delphi Mountain Resort and you will score on both counts. Tone up your limbs and give yourself a cardio workout at the same time with its Peddle and Paddle mini-breaks, cycling around and kayaking in Killary fjord. It’s the perfect way to spend an active weekend, if that’s all the time you have. A two-night stay in a double with one dinner costs from €189 per person, based on two sharing.
What would you look like on 12 hours of exercise a day? Find out at a luxury Spanish boot camp set high in the Andalucian Mountains. With hiking and fitness programmes drawn up by people with actual military training, residents here get the opportunity to work with a personal trainer to draw up bespoke fitness plans.
If it is weight loss you are after, the average loss is just over 3.5kg (or 8lbs for imperialists). The organisers measure results in girth too – with 20cms (8 inches) coming off various circumferences. Priced from €944 a week, including transfers from Malaga airport.
If it’s the fitness levels of your inner organs that concern you, what could be more reassuring than the idea of an “Austrian cure”? The FX Mayr Cure, named for its inventor (an Austrian doctor who lived from 1875 to 1965), proposes that most physical and emotional disorders stem from malfunctioning intestines. Call it his gut feeling.
Visitors, including celebrities, politicians and high-profile business types, have been flocking to the Grand Park Hotel and Spa in Salzburg's Gastein Valley to avail of it ever since. It has a range of healthy options, including a six-night detox programme including medical examination, tongue analysis, colon massage, daily detox drinks, mud baths and hay wraps, from € 1,464 per person.
If the idea of getting on a plane to de-stress simply stresses you out, how about a yoga and meditation retreat at Burren Yoga in Kinvara, Co Galway. Reboot your brain, and your tum, with delicious vegetarian meals, comfortable accommodation and daily guided walks. Or ramp up the exercise quotient and tone up your body at one of its yoga boot camps which include yogalates – a fusion of yoga and Pilates – plus fitness boosting vinyasa and hot yoga, with an overall emphasis on core-strengthening and toning.
A six-day yoga boot camp costs €690 in July, including full board. So you don’t need to have a fat wallet either.
Any fat camp that welcomes you with a glass of
mousse au chocolat
is one worth visiting. Little wonder that Camp Biche, in an 800-year-old mansion near Cahors in France, has more than its fair share of celebrity fans. No one is going to frown at a glass of wine here – indeed they will be popping open the Champagne for you.
And given that you’re in the country that lives to eat, no one is going to be exhorting you to deprive yourself either. Instead it’s all about unravelling the mysteries of the French paradox, a topic you can mull over on your four-hour morning hikes.
What they don’t do here is snack between meals so, after lunch it’s off for a workout, rewarded with an hour-long massage. After that you are free to lounge by the pool admiring your shrinking stomach and contemplating that night’s dinner, with fine wines. From €2,500pps or €3,450 if you go solo.
Fitness and weight-loss holiday specialist HealthSmart runs week-long camps at the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim, Co Meath. These include a diet and nutrition programme, exercise and help with your “mindset and cognitive behaviour”, aka, why you feel the need to polish off the entire packet/tub/box every time.
Camps run every two months. The next one starts on March 28th. Activities include strength training, boxercise, kettlebells, step and aerobics classes, spinning, hiking and aqua aerobics. It costs €989, including healthy meals and support afterwards to help you face down the biscuit tin.