Studies show that in the United States by 2020, 83 percent of men and 72 percent of women will be overweight or obese. But another trend offers hope, and it’s associated with a traditionally unlikely fitness activity: vacation. In the past few years, more health resorts are being built in gorgeous places around the world with this mission: Hijack the lifestyle to which we’ve grown accustomed and kick our behinds into something tauter. From intense three-day triathlon-training programs to high-gear fitness routines, these retreats provide crash courses on maintaining a healthier lifestyle, one vacationers can take home with them.
Within five hours of Las Vegas are several health resorts in serene spots where you won’t mind breaking a massive sweat. And, yes, all of the resorts offer traditional spa pampering, too.
Red Mountain Resort, Ivins, Utah.
Outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world come to this tiny town near St. George for its hikes and adventures, but this resort, which has only 82 rooms and 24 two-bedroom villas, has become known for its off-the-beaten-path indoor activities. Red Mountain, whose buildings blend in with the majestic scenery, offers wellness programs such as iridology (reading of the eye’s irises), acupuncture, life-healing sessions with a shaman, and eating and personal-fitness options. Packages start at $230 a night; RedMountainResort.com.
Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge, Ivins, Utah; Biggest Loser Resort, Malibu, Calif.
Fitness Ridge wasn’t always a Biggest Loser-branded property. But, in 2009, after two years of operation, it caught the attention of the show’s producers. Now guests at these two resorts (the Malibu location opened to meet the overwhelming demand in 2010) face a fat-fighting regimen of workouts and workshops that begins at 6 a.m. and goes for 12 hours. Most guests stay at least one week, which gives people plenty of time to get to know each other and build relationships. That’s the key at this resort, as relationships help provide accountability that extends well beyond the time spent here. The resorts are super structured but also allow visitors time to unwind with spa treatments and one-on-one sessions with trainers and life coaches. Prices start at $2,695 per week based on a private room; BiggestLoserResort.com/Utah.
The Oaks, Ojai, Calif.
The Oaks’ casual, come-as-you-are atmosphere is a big draw. Coupled with programs that are not overly difficult, this resort attracts a demographic of women in their 40s, although it is appropriate for both sexes and all adults. It is designed for anybody who wants to incorporate more health and wellness into their lives. Guests can choose from noncompetitive activities such as private hikes, scenic bike rides and even Hula-Hooping. With personal fitness consultations and personalized “prescriptions” (think adjustments to the daily routine that can be of benefit, like doing five minutes of heel raises while drying your hair, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator—the Oaks strives to make the goal of being healthier at home more attainable. Packages start at $995 for five days; OaksSpa.com.
Mii Amo at Enchantment Resort, Sedona, Ariz.
The small resort, which has only 14 guest rooms and two suites, offers three-, four- and seven-night Journeys. Its all-inclusive package includes three daily meals, two daily spa treatments, plus fitness classes, lectures and use of the spa facilities. The architecture of the resort is designed to honor ancient Native American cliff dwellings against the idyllic backdrop of Boynton Canyon. The health programs carry out that theme, as many of the more than 100 activities pay tribute to the area’s Native American heritage. Options include drumming, dance and musical performances, and guided medicine walks. It’s up to each person how much or how little they get out of their time at the resort. Packages start at $2,250 per person; MiiAmo.com.
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, Ariz.
If you’re a competitive health nut, this resort and spa features a staff filled with high-caliber athletes. Sign up for the three-day triathlon-training program, for example, and you’ll be working with former Olympic swimmer Misty Hyman. For everyone else, there is the four-day Satori Wellness Retreat, which pairs guests with personal trainers for private sessions and spa treatments. The retreat can even be customized to focus on yoga, Pilates, outdoor adventure or even romance. Packages for Satori start at $2,455 per person; Triathlon Prep Program starts at $1,797; SanctuaryOnCamelback.com.