Boot-Camp Vacation
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Boot-Camp Vacation

When features writer Chee Gates signed up for the three-day About Face boot camp at Costa d'Este Beach Resort in Vero Beach, Florida, she had no idea how hard she would work to win the weight-loss war.
The Pain

"As one of seven cadets-in-training, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to workouts with drill sergeants/trainers Steve and Bonnie Pfiester: wheeling tires the size of the moon up and down the shore and schlepping 30-pound jugs of water after doing mountain climbers, jumping jacks, and planks. Forget poolside pina coladas; the rest of our stay was filled with fitness classes, an unorthodox calorie scorcher on the treadmill (see the mud-crawl photo) and an obstacle course with a 10-foot-wall. Sound like the getaway from hell? I actually enjoyed the challenge. An exerciser who wants a kick in the pants will find herself in paradise."

The Gain

"When I got home, I checked my progress -- three pounds lighter, and the jeans I used to wrestle into slid right on. Plus, boot-camp lessons have stuck with me: Why run on the treadmill when you can do squat jumps and lunges? Healthy fat is part of every meal (bring on the olive oil). I've dropped two more pounds and 3 percent of my body fat. Bonnie and Steve would be proud."

About Face Boot Camp at Costa d'Este Beach Resort in Vero Beach, Florida: $499 for double occupancy, or $599 for single, for a three-day boot camp, including accommodations, activities, and meals. To receive a 15 percent FITNESS discount valid through 2010, go to and click on the FITNESS logo. When booking, type in the promotional code "fitness."


Originally published in FITNESS magazine, April 2010.