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Best Get-Fit Retreats in and Around the U.S.

© Courtesy of Red Mountain Resort

Sun salutations on the Riveria Maya, Canadian mountain hikes, Costa Rica surf camps: These getaways take the drudgery out of getting fit.

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Kjeld Schigt certainly understands the allure of stepping away from the business world to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Until 2010, the Rotterdam-born Schigt worked as a strategic business consultant for BP International, a high-powered job that kept him ricocheting so constantly between London and Paris that he barely had time to unpack his suitcase. Then, a two-week trip to Costa Rica changed everything.

“Finally,” Schigt remembers about his sojourn, which he spent surfing on the country’s sunny Pacific coast, “I felt excited to get out of bed in the morning. I felt full of energy and that finally I was getting things—things I was passionate about—done.”

The trip prompted Schigt to make a major paradigm shift. Within a month he’d quit his job, bought a slice of secluded beachfront property on Costa Rica’s southern coast and opened the new business there that he still runs today: Kalon Surf School, which offers retreats for (among others) plenty of stressed-out business executives.

For most of us, of course, the idea of dropping our business careers to pursue fitness and fun is something of a pipe dream. When our first meetings of the day start at 7 a.m. and “after-work plans” often involve wining and dining clients, even squeezing in an hour to hit the gym can seem impossible. Yet we all know we feel better—and work better—when we’re healthy. So what’s the solution? Get-fit getaway packages, which let us spend a few days rebooting and relearning healthy habits to incorporate into our busy lives.

“People are tired of sitting on the beach with a Mai Tai,” says Kirkland Shave, program director at Mountain Trek Health, Fitness & Weight Loss Retreat. He sees more and more business travelers using their time off to do something healthy—like hiking trails in the awe-inspiring mountains of British Columbia. While part of what retreat guests love about the Mountain Trek experience is their shrinking waistlines, Shave says the restorative power of nature is equally powerful. “A week without hearing a car,” he says, “can blow someone’s mind.”

The combination of activity and beautiful scenery seems to be the magic formula for many of today’s best get-fit retreats. But all approach the “reboot” experience differently, whether by leading participants through downward dogs on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, biking (and tasting) through California wine country, or taking group swims in the warm, clear waters of the British Virgin Islands. Some programs put an even greater focus on healthy food preparation and consumption, like the Techniques of Healthy Cooking boot camps run by the famed Culinary Institute of America.

Want to take a vacation that leaves you feeling lighter, fitter and better? Check out our list for inspiration.

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