Destination Fit

Awe-inspiring places around the world to help you achieve your most ambitious fitness goals

By: Angela Kwan 

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Pack Your Bags

Working out on the road can be less than inspiring—especially when your hotel’s fitness center feels more like a closet than a gym. The solution: Turn your next vacation into a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with one of the following fitness friendly destinations. These trip ideas are unrivaled in majesty and exhilaration, so plan your excursion now and stay motivated to train all year in anticipation.

Try 5 great run-on-the-mill workouts

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Run a Marathon

Destination: Australian Outback

Event: Australian Outback Marathon; July 30, 2011

This 42-kilometer off-road run takes you across Australia’s famous red earth with breathtaking views of Ayers Rock and the Olgas. You may want to pack trail-running shoes, because the terrain is mostly hard and soft sand, though a small part of the route covers asphalt road. Expect an average daytime temperature of 70ºF and less than 10 percent humidity. Race entry must be purchased with a vacation package that ranges from 3- to 6-night stays. Prices range from $1,306 to $5,598 a night.

Train: Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a first-time marathoner, build your endurance with this plan.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Bike Like a Pro

Destination: Southern France

Event: L’Etape du Tour; July 11 and 17, 2011

Each summer, L'Etape du Tour gives 10,000 cycling enthusiasts the chance to conquer a Tour de France mountain stage with the luxuries of closed roads and support cars. Stage 2 of this year’s race starts in Issoire, zips through the Massif Central Mountains, and ends at Saint-Flour. (If you want to explore the French Alps, Stage I may be your preferred route.) You’ll start at an elevation of 1,315 feet, and over the course of 129 miles, you’ll climb more than 1,000 feet four times before coasting to a halt at 2,893 feet. Registration and packages are available through Custom Getaways.

Train: Want to get your bike ready for the big day? Here’s everything you need to know.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Unwind with Yoga

Destination: Bangalore, India

Stay: Shreyas Yoga Retreat

If you find yourself in the “Silicon Valley of India” and need a respite from the 5.7 million people swirling around you, check out of the city and check in to a yoga retreat, such as Shreyas. The 25-acre property emphasizes ashram-style living that offers daily yoga classes, meditation and chanting sessions, and organic vegetarian cuisine (sans alcohol). Individual yoga sessions and spa treatments are also available. The retreat’s maximum occupancy is 25 people. Rates start at $300 to $680 a night.

Prepare: Transform your body and clear your head with this 2-week yoga plan from Slim Calm Sexy.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Finish an Ultramarathon

Destination: Cape Town, South Africa

Event: Two Oceans Ultramarathon; April 23, 2011

If you want to keep running after 26.2 miles, you may as well pick a path with stunning views. In the Two Oceans Ultramarathon, you’ll pass the Indian and Atlantic Oceans as you traverse 34.8 miles across the charming city of Cape Town. The steepest of three climbs occurs in the last third of the race when you ascend 705 feet over 2 miles. (A half-marathon also takes place the same day, but the 2011 race is sold out. Maybe next year.)

Train: Prepare for your ultramarathon abroad with a 26.2-mile race at home.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Bike through the Jungle

Destination: Costa Rica

Event: La Ruta de los Conquistadores; November 2 to 5, 2011

Here’s a new way to explore Costa Rica: Start at the Pacific Ocean and bike about 250 miles across verdant forests and surf towns to the Caribbean Sea. Pros and amateurs alike compete in the annual 4-day mountain bike race with stages that last up to 10 or 11 hours. This year’s course is still being finalized, but if it’s anything like last year’s, you should brace yourself for an epic journey through hot, muggy climate and cold mountain temperatures.

Train: Gear up for race day with these lower-body exercises.


Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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