With spring break in full swing (or already passed for many!) thoughts turn to summer and upcoming getaways. If a beach getaway is in the books, a surf session is likely on the agenda. While it’s rare to have a surf school nearby in most areas of the country, there’s plenty you can do now to hit the waves feeling strong, prepared and confident.
“Pre-training is important for excelling, keeping safe and having fun with summer water sports,” says Rob Stuart, private trainer at The Sports Club/LA in Washington, D.C. Four to six weeks before your departure, follow Stuart’s plan for a three-pronged approach at a surf-ready (and beach-ready) body:
- Cardio 15 to 20 minutes three days a week
- Total-body strength training three days a week
- Yoga and swimming to complement
To hit all the muscle groups you’ll need on the board, try these seven moves during your strength sessions. Do three sets of 12 reps of each exercise.
- Squat Push
- Deadlift with dumbbells
- Lat Raise Combo
- Modified T Push-Up (Make it harder: Do this move on your toes.)
- Triceps Extension (No machine? Try this with a resistance band or swap in the Triceps Sit.)
- Roll and Curl
Now tell us: Are you planning a spring or summer getaway? If so, do you change your exercise routine beforehand?
Tonight on The Bachelor, Ben and his eligible bachelorettes take their love show on the road, jetting to gorgeous Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, where they stay at the W Retreat & Spa. Apparently the romantic, tropical locale has contestant and former FITNESS cover girl Courtney feeling frisky: She leads Ben to the W Beach for a late-night swim (skinny dip, perhaps?), the show’s promo teases.
We can’t wait to watch—to catch all the drama and the beautiful Vieques backdrop.
FITNESS was recently invited to stay at the laid-back luxe retreat (alas, not while Ben was there) and explore Vieques. We found a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation—an ideal destination for a fun, fit couples trip or an active girlfriend getaway. If you go, check out these top hits on our Fit List:
- Morning yoga: Start each day with a 90-minute traditional morning yoga class on the outdoor deck behind the W’s SWEAT fitness center. (The class sometimes takes place on the beach when weather allows.) Non-yogis: Work out on the brand new cardio machines and weights in the fitness center or hit some balls at the nearby SWING tennis courts.
- Hiking and kayaking adventure: Black Beard Sports, located next to SWEAT, offers several custom guided tours of the island. We hiked to a nearby breathtaking vista and then kayaked to Red Beach for a gourmet picnic. See if Mark is available to be your guide.
- Biking: You can also rent a bike at Black Beard. For a scenic and moderately challenging four-mile spin*, take a right on the road (Route 200) from the retreat and head past the airport to Starfish Beach, where you may spy bright red starfishes on the sand. On your way back, hang a left to ride out to the end of the mile-long Mosquito Pier for a stunning look back at the island. You’ll pass dozens of the island’s free roaming horses along your route. (*The folks at Black Beard can provide detailed directions.)
- Bioluminescent bay tour: Don’t leave Vieques without taking a nighttime kayak tour on the magical bio bay, which is filled with microscopic organisms that release a chemical whenever there’s movement in the water, making it glow. Every paddle stroke creates a trail of light. The W can arrange your outing with a company such as Abe’s Snorkeling & Bio Bay Tours. Request a tour with Abe himself, if he’s available. He’s a total trip and excuse enough to visit Vieques.
My Christmas cards finally went out, complete with a list of 11 things I learned in 2011. Among the lessons? “Sometimes you have to peel shrimp before you eat them. —Dewey Destin’s, Emerald Coast, Florida”
(I also learned Yoloboarding in Florida, but I wanted to keep my destinations diversified!)
My point: As the year wraps up, we can’t help but think about the memories we made in the past twelve months and the trips we took. Our Fit Stop readers have heard about staff adventures like Karla’s in Colorado and Marla’s in Mexico, and I’m going to throw another log on the inspiration fire: When you’re thinking about your affordable options in 2012 and looking to get a little sand in your soul and in between your toes, I’d head toward the “Emerald Coast” (Destin area) in Florida. Because I like lists, here’s why:
*It’s where YOLO/paddle boarding really took off! You can rent a board for $20 from lifeguards and don’t need any special lessons. I scored mine right outside the Inn at Crystal Beach, which is where I was lucky enough to stay.
*Locals call it the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and just look!
*There are a lot of family-friendly things to do, like parasailing, jet-skiing, the “Gulfarium” (sooo fun!), dolphin watching, and more!
*There are grown-up things to do, too: golfing, wine and cheese cruises, and even the top level of AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar turns into quite the party later at night!
For more on the Emerald Coast, visit emeraldcoastfl.com or check out this cool video.
I’m back in New York from the white sandy beaches of Mexico with some more great stories to share with you! (Missed part one? Catch up here!) One the second day of my stay at the Paradisus La Perla in Playa del Carmen, I was given the opportunity to enjoy a deep tissue massage at the Yhi Spa (pronounced like “G”).
Walking into the spa was like a dream—the scents, the sounds, the friendly and prompt staff—it was as if I was the only customer they were tending to, which is such a nice feeling to have! I was directed to the changing room, where I was given a big comfy robe and sandals to wear, and then had the option of using the steam room, the sauna or the pool, prior to my massage. After a few minutes of some relaxation time, I was brought to my suite where I met my wonderful masseuse, and experienced one of the best massages I’ve ever had! It was relaxing, soothing and all of the knots that I had in my upper back (trust me, there are many) were suddenly released. It was such an amazing experience, and I wish I could go back. I didn’t want it to end!
The spa at the resort offers a variety of massages, facials, hair treatments manicures and pedicures, and is honestly one of the most serene places that I have ever been. Now that I am back in New York, I’m wishing I could be back at Yhi getting another massage. Wishful thinking!
More from FITNESS: Follow this guide to turn your home into a serene spa.
Hola from Playa del Carmen! I’m blogging straight to you from the gorgeous and brand new (like no one has slept in the sheets yet, new) all-inclusive resort, Paradisus Playa del Carmen, for the next few days! Crazy, I know. I’m pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to experience all that this resort has to offer and I am so excited to be here on behalf of FITNESS Magazine!
I arrived yesterday afternoon to a glass of champagne (hard at work, or hardly working? I’ll let you decide) and a lovely staff. Shortly after, I ate a fabulous lunch by one of the resorts many pools and then got to experience a tequila tasting with a few other editors who are on this amazing adventure with me. I learned so much about one of my favorite liquors, and here is a little secret tip for you…you can actually sip on tequila! Most of us are used to the quick shot, lime and salt tradition, but if you sip your tequila, like you would a scotch or brandy, you will be less likely to drink multiple glasses (or in some cases shots), therefore saving yourself some calories. See, I’m working here!
The rest of the afternoon was spent touring the massive resort, which is actually split into two separate sides: a family side and an adults only side. There are tons of pools, lots of restaurants, an amazing gym (which offers yoga, spinning, Pilates and basic aerobics!), a gorgeous spa, and so much more. You could spend hours walking around this place—which we did. Can someone say unexpected workout?! I love my job!
I’ll be back with more on Monday, including details about the spa. I’ll be getting a much needed deep tissue massage! Can’t wait!
Countless scientific studies have proven the health benefits of vacations. But it’s not like you need another reason to start booking your next respite! Looking for a relaxing retreat this fall? We stumbled across a yoga event that may be just the ticket.
Kristin McGee, who has shared her yoga know-how with Tina Fey, Bethenny Frankel and Steve Martin—not to mention FITNESS readers!—is hosting “the ultimate yoga weekend” beginning November 10. The three or four-day retreat offers yogis the opportunity to train closely with McGee herself and receive a customized yoga routine based on your specific goals. Participants will be treated like stars with two yoga classes per day and a massage at the Tides Zihuatanejo, a resort in Playa la Ropa, Mexico.
Ready to drop everything and find your zen? Click here for more details.
If you’re short on vacation days or keen on saving cash, here are a few resources to create your own yoga retreat in the comfort of your own home:
- Step 1: Take our simple quiz to discover which style of yoga is right for you.
- Step 2: Treat yourself to one of our top yoga mat picks.
- Step 3: Learn about the surprising health benefits of yoga.
- Step 4: Think the practice can’t blast fat? Think again! Try this workout and burn 500 calories.
- Step 5: Give yourself an at-home facial as a reward!
- Step 6: Before slipping between your sheets, do these five relaxing poses designed to help you sleep better.
Now tell us: What would be included during your dream fit vacation?
Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to spend an active weekend in Aspen, Colorado—basically the epicenter for the healthiest lifestyles in America. As I was reading a city magazine in my hotel room when I first arrived, it was clear that this place was different. (A resident detailed his daily routine, which started with a hike, followed by a few hours in the office, a ski break at lunch, catching up on a bit of work and wrapping it all up with a run.) So I knew I was in for a load of fun during the next few days!
The adventure crew at The Little Nell, the gorgeous hotel that hosted our group in Aspen, kicked things off right with a morning of fly fishing. While I’m no pro, the guides helped me taste a little victory—I caught two fish! (Although I have to admit, they were both less than six inches long. And don’t worry, we just released my little Nemos back into the pond.) After fueling up with a gourmet picnic lunch, I got the rest of my activity in by shopping the afternoon away.
Later on during the weekend, we hit the skies during a paragliding outing. I wasn’t nervous one bit until our Land Rover kept climbing, and climbing, and climbing up Aspen Mountain. We reached about 11,000 feet (more than 3,000 feet higher than our landing spot) and saw our parachutes and pros waiting for us. I started to get what you might call “Sweaty Palm Syndrome” when I saw the steep hill we’d be jumping off while strapped to a person we’d known for five minutes!
For the conclusion of my paragliding escapade and more fit trip details, click below.