Preparing for Your First Fitness Trip

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We do homework for school. We probably read reviews before seeing a movie. But should we prepare for a fitness or yoga trip? Here are to do lists for such a trip, based on fitness level and a bit on age. For all levels, remember to tell the instructor if you have injury or special needs. And for all, know what your goals are.

Not Fit Group

Before you decide to kick start by taking a fitness trip, you should consider a few items.

What is the level of exercise at the resort? You have to ask personnel and be honest with them about your level. The brochure photos will tell part of the story, as will lectures if included. If the lectures are about losing baby fat, retooling your executive health, or use the word: boot camp, look elsewhere.  If the resort is pushing millennials, it might be too difficult for an older guest or be full of events you don’t care about.

Can you benefit from ‘the million classes” they boast to offer each day?  Pool classes are excellent starter classes for the unfit. Do you know how to use fancy machines in the gym? Do you have stamina for the easiest walk? Can you not be swayed by instructors pushing you?

I recently went to a famous health resort in the Northeast. After noticing that most of the guests were a lot younger, I carefully chose familiar classes. Class instructors are also motivators- remember that. The class was weight lifting. I took 2 small weights. All went well until the instructor said: Now let’s all move it up a notch. Her assistant looked at me and handed me new weights based on her visual evaluation. A few lifts of heavy weights, and I was feeling faint. A few more and I almost blacked out. The room was full of young women; I was embarrassed to be shaky and it was hard to leave.

Since most fitness resorts sell packages from 3-7 nights, it is important to be able to use all the days you bought. If you are not fit and buy into a tough routine, you might get hurt and lose the whole vacation. Again, choose the resort that sells you what you can do, not what they want you to do. And definitely ask if they have personal trainers and what they cost.

Since you probably do not own good sneakers or workout clothes,first buy good sneakers in a shop where they help with fitting. A Nike shop or department store will usually be a good choice.  Super discounters do not usually fit you and the sneakers look good but they are NOT good.  Workout clothes: shelve your ego, use that old tee and sweats in the closet and fill in with cheaper quick dry stuff from Target type stores.

Do you like to have a drink before dinner? Don’t be afraid to ask. Is there a doctor on site? You really must ask this one.

Medium Fit

If you are a walker, pool goer, and gym rat, your choices of resort will be easier. Here you will want to look at what you wish to polish up and what you wish to try that is new.  You might want to go for the walks and hikes or the rough mountain destination. There is a difference between walks and hikes which can be on rocks and dirt. Whereas walks are usually easier on paved surfaces or flat trails. Sneakers are not appropriate for hikes; so this might be your one investment here.

You will want to check altitude; walking and working out at high altitude will be harder, push you aerobically beyond your limit and require you to drink a lot of water. Question: Is the bottled water free of charge? Are the walks and hikes outside of the property included in the price?

A much younger friend went to a health resort out West in the desert. She was able to conquer many classes; then there was one aerobic class that really did her in. Leaving the class she was so dehydrated, she fell on the steps. Staff basically ignored her; she barely made it back to her room. If you look fit, you will not get as much help-unless you demand it! If you are in a dry area, you must drink before you are thirsty.

Perhaps there are machines you never saw before and would like to try? Is there someone in the gym all the time to show you how to use these? Or does the attendant merely hand out towels?  Can you hire a trainer there? A good idea, if you can pay for a trainer, is to go over the machines beforehand and list those you want to learn. Or pick a part of your body, say legs, and tell the trainer all you want to learn about is legs fitness. Again be careful of overdoing any machine.

Fitter women should also check average age of guests and lecture themes. Some resorts for the fitter will also be vegetarian or vegan or non alcoholic or spiritual. Make sure you are getting what you want by going thru the site carefully and seeing what words are used: spiritual, retreat, awakening, insights, detox etc? Holistic can be interpreted in various ways from life changing to simply an intense treatment.

Very Fit

Here women should make sure they will be challenged, be comfortable amongst other guests at their level and still learn something about their fitness. They need to ensure they get enough to eat; sounds odd but a very fit week can drop a lot of  your weight quickly. Who wants a lettuce leaf for dinner after a ten mile hike? Do you want vegan food?  Is there a place to get a bite between meals? Intense cardio classes will be for these women as will be long hikes and exercise with props like bikes and weights.

A guest laundry is handy for those doing heavy exercise daily. Access to steam and sauna is a must as well as massage therapy.

Boot camp is for these gals.  This is a type of group physical training program conducted by gyms, personal trainers, and former military personnel. These programs are designed to build strength and fitness through a variety of intense group intervals over a 1-hour period of time. Do you like group stuff?

The Mayo Clinic says to ask these questions before you join a Boot Camp:

What are the instructor’s qualifications?

Is the class a good mix of aerobics and strength training?

What do people who’ve taken the class have to say about it?

Is this class a good match for my fitness goals?

Have I established a base level of strength, conditioning and proper movement patterns to prepare me for the class?

If you are super fit, definitely limit your choices to US resorts where spa is less emphasized. Definitely make sure there is a doctor on site or 24/7 nearby.

We hope these tips help you to choose a fitness vacation.

The Women’s Travel Group http;//  offers occasional fitness trips for women as well as tours around the world. Small group tours are to colorful destinations and cover holiday periods.

Upcoming is Ixtapan Spa/Yoga/Fitness Week May 28-June 4 escorted by President Phyllis Stoller.The resort specializes in women like The Tomatoes, differing levels of fitness.  Interested in a budget deal? $1425 share and $1609 single, all inclusive. details our Discount Prices.

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  • Phyllis Stoller has a BA from Tufts University, an MA from New York University and a Finance Degree from the University of the South Bank, London England. Phyllis founded the leading tour operator for women's travels in North America. After selling her company in 2006, Phyllis started a new company for women: The Womens Travel Group which she defines as Smart Tours for Women. She was voted top in women’s travel by Travel & Leisure Magazine,the first to receive this honor. Phyllis has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, Lifetime TV for Women and others. Phyllis now resides in New York and London For more information: or to join a trip this year: Phyllis Stoller Visit her web site: Follow her on Facebook: on Facebook at /toursforwomen For more information: or to join a trip this year:

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