Plan vacation with your exercise routine in mind, and rather than gaining weight during your trip, you may lose a few pounds and gain new healthy habits. Enjoy aerobic exercise ranging from scenic scuba diving in Hawaii to mountain-biking through the heart of Utah's red rock country with these top 10 healthy trips. And use your exercise routine at Gold's fitness clubs near you to build your endurance beforehand so that you aren't huffing and puffing as you take on tough rides or swims. Begin your exercise program slowly if you haven't worked out in a long time, and then the National Institutes of Health suggests that you work your way up to exercising at least three days per week for a total of 150 minutes to build your endurance.
The 10 Most Slimming Vacations
You go somewhere luxe and come back thinner. Health.com experts canvassed the country to find 10 trips that make it easy to eat healthy and get toned.
After canvassing the country for our top 10 healthy trips, the judges ranked these U.S. destinations, based on how nutritious and tasty the food is, how active you’ll want to be while you’re there (in other words, how creative and fun the exercise options are), how much private coaching is at your fingertips, and whether you’ll pick up healthy habits to bring home. Jet off to one of these places this summer and your souvenir just might be a smaller dress size.
MIRAVAL RESORT & SPA
The peaceful desert setting at Miraval will inspire your sweat sessions; all meals are under 450 calories.
An exhilarating zip-line trip through the desert. A flavorful, grass-fed beef tenderloin under 350 calories. The premier integrative-wellness program founded by mind-body guru Andrew Weil. These are just a few of the reasons why Miraval snagged the top spot. “You leave there feeling lighter in spirit and slimmer in your waistline,” says Melisse Gelula, one of our panelists and co-founder of Well & Good NYC, a healthy-lifestyle Website. Food-wise, dishes are portion-controlled, locally sourced, and delicious.
As for fitness, your options are challenging and inventive, ranging from Qigong to walking a tightrope. “You’re pushing yourself physically in entirely new ways,” Gelula notes. But the real magic of Miraval is that it makes healthy eating and being active so effortless—you’ll be genuinely surprised when your pants are looser upon checkout.
Rates start at $525 per night and are all-inclusive (800-232-3969; miravalresorts.com
SWELLWOMEN SURF & YOGA RETREAT
No worries if you’ve never been hangin’ ten before! SwellWomen welcomes beginners, and your body will still benefit big-time. “Even when you don’t get up on that board, it’s an amazing workout,” assures panelist Samantha Brown, a host on the Travel Channel.
On a typical day during this women-only, weeklong retreat, you’ll fuel up with a fresh, portion-controlled breakfast prepared by Swell’s private chef. Then you’ll set out for two hours of fat-burning surfing lessons, followed by a zen outdoor yoga class. After a nutritious lunch, bliss out with a massage or lounge by the pool. Later, enjoy the chef’s specialty dessert—pineapple coconut haupia—guilt-free. Your parting gift: newfound confidence in your surfing skills and your sculpted bod.
$3,595 all-inclusive rate for one week with single occupancy; $2,995 for double occupancy (800-399-6284; swellwomen.com
RED MOUNTAIN RESORT
St. George, Utah
It’s hard not to get your heart rate up at this resort located in Utah’s red rock country: You’re surrounded by thousands of acres of cliffs and canyons that beckon you to go hiking, biking, rock climbing and horseback riding.
“What stood out most to me was their mountain-biking program,” says Jim Kaese, panelist and co-founder of Athletic-Minded Traveler LLC. “Rentals and guides are provided for an array of rides.”
The meals here are filling but diet-friendly. “You work up an appetite and then return to have really healthy food choices laid out for you,” Gelula says. We love that there’s plenty of good low-cal grub, like chilled watermelon-cilantro soup, Southwest chicken skewers and frozen mango passion mousse—altogether, less than 500 calories!
À la carte rates start at $189 per night; package rates start at $250 per night, all-inclusive (877-246-4453; redmountainresort.com
SANCTUARY ON CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN
Paradise Valley, Arizona
The dazzling backdrop alone is worth the trip here—Sanctuary is set at the base of majestic Camelback Mountain, in a serene desert landscape. But it’s the resort’s attentive and skilled staff that landed Sanctuary at the No. 4 spot.
“The yoga and Pilates teachers will really push you physically, and the classes are small, so you get a lot of attention,” Gelula says of the complimentary studio classes.
“The trainers will take you on hikes and bikes that will kick your butt, too,” she adds. The executive chef here is Iron Chef America winner Beau MacMillan, who uses what’s fresh and local to cook up nutritious dishes like edamame-and-truffle dumplings. “Beau really knows how to get creative with healthy food,” Gelula says.
Rates start at $235 per night (800-245-2051; sanctuaryaz.com
THE MAUNA LANI BAY HOTEL & BUNGALOWS
Big Island, Hawaii
Kick up your flippers and check out the tropical fish in the reef that’s on the Mauna Lani property.
Triathletes flock to Mauna Lani to train for a half-Ironman that takes place on the hotel’s paradise-like premises, but there’s no need to be a professional athlete to enjoy staying here. Located on three miles of secluded shoreline, the resort lets you play hard outdoors at everything—kayaking, tennis, golf, even coconut husking. (Trust us, you’ll work up a sweat!)
The lap pool is what really wowed Kaese: “It has an amazing competition-quality, three-lane lap pool with floating lane lines,” he says. Mauna Lani takes a true farm-to-table approach to food, sourcing the vast majority of ingredients locally. “They go way beyond your typical resort fare and provide a real connection between you, the location and the food,” Brown adds.
Rates start at $395 per night (808-885-6622; maunalani.com
HYATT REGENCY LAKE TAHOE RESORT, SPA & CASINO
Incline Village, Nevada
Ready to relax? Chill out at one of the Hyatt’s lakeside fire pits.
Just walking around at an elevation of 7,000 feet will get your heart pumping. This Hyatt is nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, right on the shores of Lake Tahoe (with its own private beach), so there are countless ways to get moving outside. “You can go on walks and runs around the forested area and take thrilling mountain bike rides up and down the nearby Flume Trail,” Kaese says. “And the winter skiing is superb in the surrounding mountain peaks.”
The resort’s Lone Eagle Grille also got high marks from our judges for consistently serving healthy, organic, seasonal meals that taste great. (The chef is a big fan of fresh seafood.)
Rates start at $178 per night (775-832-1234; laketahoe.hyatt.com
CANYON RANCH HOTEL & SPA IN MIAMI BEACH
Miami Beach, Florida
The Canyon Ranch menu is broken down by carbs, calories, protein, fat and fiber content.
At Canyon Ranch Miami, it’s all about the staff, which includes a team of integrative physicians and wellness pros who will help you learn the skills needed to get into peak shape. “You take classes here knowing there is a guiding, intelligent expert at the helm of it,” Gelula says. With more than 40 on-the-house exercise offerings (including Zumba and kinesis) and low-cal yet mouthwatering food, you can’t help but shrink while you’re their guest.
Make no mistake: This is a great escape, a posh boutique hotel set on a pristine beach. Plus, you’re in Miami, which can be inspiring, physique-wise. “There’s a less-is-more approach when it comes to clothing,” Brown notes, “and that’s always a great motivation!”
Rates start at $525 (800-742-9000; canyonranch.com
MONTAGE LAGUNA BEACH
Laguna Beach, California
Montage is located on 30 beachfront acres, and all rooms overlook the water. It’s all about location at this luxe resort, which is set high on a coastal bluff overlooking white-sand beaches and the Pacific Ocean. Among the many ways you can burn calories by the shore: a beach boot camp, sunset yoga sessions and a fantastic running path along the ocean. “You will be inspired to become a runner because of this path!” Gelula says. You can also hightail it into town where “the galleries and shops will keep you walking for miles,” Kaese adds.
The chefs at Montage consistently whip up meals made with sustainably raised seafood and farmers’ market produce, and they offer a special spa menu that focuses on low-cal foods and specialty grains.
Rates start at $595 per night (866-271-6953)
LA POSADA RESORT & SPA
Santa Fe, New Mexico
“The whole city of Santa Fe is behind organic, wholesome and healthy living,” Brown says. “And La Posada is at the heart of it all,” surrounded by mountains and two blocks from Santa Fe’s historic, buzzing city plaza, which will lure you to walk, walk, walk to explore it. (Don’t miss the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.)
During the summer, you can go hiking, rafting, biking, fishing and more in the area. And in the winter, skiing and snowshoeing are just steps away. La Posada’s “Appetite for Life” menu offerings, all of which are sustainable and heart-healthy, earned points from our judges, too—organic, inventive dishes like the piñon-nut-crusted mahi mahi will please your palate and keep you trim.
Rates start at $225 per night (866-331-7625; laposadadesantafe.com
FAIRMONT BATTERY WHARF
This boutique hotel right on Boston Harbor boasts stunning coastal views, but the real draw weight-loss-wise is the city itself: Boston is a walking and biking mecca. The Fairmont is close to some of the city’s historic landmarks, such as the Freedom Trail and Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and you can borrow a complimentary BMW bike to cruise around on.
The hotel steps up its healthy game inside, too—choose from the Lifestyle Cuisine Plus menus, which cater to different dietary preferences including macrobiotic and gluten-free. The Fairmont also recently opened an Exhale Spa, which offers challenging core-fusion classes. “These are metabolism-revving classes,” Gelula says. “It’s a very efficient workout!”
Rates start at $279 per night (800-257-7544)
Lose weight with your exercise routine while on vacation when you travel to one of these top ten resorts that feature healthy eating and fitness. Surf as your aerobic exercise in the morning, and then Zen out with yoga in the afternoon at the Swellwomen Surf & Yoga Retreat, or try walking the tightrope at the Miraval Resort & Spa. And make your exercise routine at Gold's fitness center complement whichever fitness-focused vacation you choose by upping your endurance-building workouts. For your exercise program before vacation, a fitness expert from WebMD.com suggests that you vary your cardio exercise throughout the week in order to prevent plateauing and to give your muscles a chance to recover.
Rev up your exercise routine at Gold's Gyms near you months before you go on vacation so that you are ready to eek out every last drop of fitness fun you can have at these top ten resorts. Increase your aerobic exercise to lose any extra weight that might hold you back from fully enjoying your fitness vacation, and boost your stamina so that you can remain active for longer periods of time. Ask Gold's trainers about exercise routines for specific sports if you are trying a new activity like skiing or surfing for the first time. And with your exercise program, include core exercises to tighten your torso, and experience improved stability and strength that is helpful for any activity.