Fitness Boot Camps: Travel To Better Health

By SMW Staff

Photo credit: Flickr, alborath

The words “boot camp” have traditionally referred to military training. Juvenile boot camps for troubled teens are designed to instill structure and discipline; whereas software boot camp teaches non-nerds the essential programming and inner-workings of computers.

The newest addition to the boot camp family is the rapidly growing trend towards fitness boot camps, designed to whip the overweight and out of shape into lean machines.

“Most women today maintain such crammed schedules, we seek fast, measurable results that will work for the long term,” says Shelli Adler, a fitness boot camp instructor in New York City. “Programs vary from daily local classes in your neighborhood to fitness boot camp vacations.”

By learning about a few of the different kinds of programs available, you can take this information and begin researching offerings in your own location or consider traveling.

In Stamford, Connecticut, the Fairfield County Adventure Boot Camp ( offers a month of unlimited women’s boot camp classes for $299 which includes 20 one-hour sessions with certified fitness trainers, nutritional counseling and motivational training. Classes are held with working women in mind on weekdays at 5:45 a.m. or 7 a.m. Their motto is: Lose pounds and gain friends.

Premier Fitness Camp, Park City, Utah, has a similar setup to America’s Biggest Loser show ( with a beautiful location and the emphasis on losing weight and learning to make sustainable lifestyle choices. This is a residential fitness boot camp, in five-star accommodations, priced at $2900 which includes: Roundtrip airfare in the USA; weekly personal coaching which continues after you return home; weekly massages, all meals, health assessment by a physician, and activities including hiking, circuit training, kick boxing, yoga, skiing, snow shoeing, and aerobics. Like the show, classes include men and women. Of course, the added bonus, is while you’re in Utah, you could also add immersion or volunteer elements to your time visiting the area.

“Extreme Fitness in Lavish Locations” ( offers packages for girlfriend getaways, or as they like to call them, “girlfriend sweataways.” Here the emphasis is on activity (prices vary due to location, starting at $199 per night) which includes five hours each day of intensive workouts biking, kayaking, strength training, core conditioning, Pilates and yoga, agility drills, and cardio kickboxing.

There are a variety of boot camp programs offered through health spas, like Canyon Ranch, or you can easily create your own fitness vacation by combining new experiences, like hiking, swimming, or cross-country
skiing, with new places, and giving back through volunteering as well.

I’ve interviewed women who have come up with all kinds of fascinating and interesting ways to get in shape and travel. Diane’s goal was to walk the Continental Divide, which took “five years of weekends and vacation days and was the biggest personal accomplishment of my life.” A group of New York State girlfriends decided to walk the Erie Canal, which they combined with visiting wonderful B&B’s along the way, learning the history of the area, and singing “The Erie Canal Song,” also called “Low Bridge, Everybody Down.”

The Catalina Island Conservancy ( offers a variety of volunteer programs to choose from. “My two teenage daughters and I went for a week of building hiking trails and planting new areas on Catalina Island,” says Marilyn. “I’m a movie buff and I only knew about the island from the movie and the song, but it was a place I always wanted to visit. Not only did I do something I never thought I could do, I lost 12 pounds in one week doing it and a big chunk of our vacation was tax deductible.”

When I needed a week’s break on a tight budget where I could relax, get some work done, eat well, and exercise, I rented a cabin on a Pennsylvania State Park ( for $200. I walked every inch of the park, did volunteer cleanups along the way, ate my favorite foods, photographed my adventures, and lost weight and felt better than I had in months. Fifty percent of fitness is feeling great about what you’re doing for you. Take a break, take care of yourself, visit a new place, connect with the surroundings and the people and enjoy a healthy, happier you.

Sheryl Kayne is a writer, adventurer, performer, educator, and public speaker. She is the author of Volunteer Vacations Across America and Immersion Travel USA: The Best and Most Meaningful Volunteering, Living, and Learning Excursions (Countryman Press, a division of W. W. Norton and Company). Sheryl would love to hear from you at