Need to get away but don’t want to lose progress in your lifts? Believe it or not, you don’t have to! If you’re the kind of person whose ideal week off involves sunshine, cocktails, and barbell training, take a look at these four retreats that cater to the jetsetting strength athlete. You might even hit a new PR or two.
1) Unit 27, Phuket, Thailand
Fitness vacations in Thailand usually come in two flavors: easygoing yoga retreats and hardcore Thai kickboxing camps. Former British Army Commando Robert Hallam saw a gap in the market and pounced with a vengeance, hiring a diverse group of CrossFit coaches, strength and conditioning specialists, and yogis to staff his unique gym in Phuket: Unit 27.
The city’s first CrossFit affiliate, Unit 27 offers programs that range from two to four weeks long and include everything from Olympic lifting and powerlifting to Pilates, yoga and mobility. In addition to as much exercise as you can stomach, Unit 27 also offers on-site saunas and ice baths, bespoke meal plans, massages, physiotherapy, body composition assessments, blood tests, and more. Accommodation and airport transfers are included, and if you book during the low season (between May and October), your package is ten percent off.
2) WOD Holidays, Mallorca or Gran Canaria, Spain
If you like sun, surf, and high-intensity barbell complexes, you’ve got a new reason to explore the Spanish isles. WOD Holidays offers five- and six-day vacation packages on two islands: Mallorca in the Western Mediterranean and Gran Canaria, located off the southern coast of Morocco.
Both islands are governed by Spain and whichever option you pick, you’re in for a trip that redefines “vacation.” Typically, workout days begin with a strength session comprised of Olympic lifts and barbell complexes, and finish with a beach WOD of bodyweight movements, kettlebell circuits, and sprints. Surfing, mountain biking, and hiking are all on offer as well, but packages always include a couple of off days to rest and recover in the five-star hotels and the famous nightlife that surrounds them.
WOD Holidays offers about six packages throughout the year (2017’s dates will be released in January), but they also sell customized packages for private groups of eight or more.
3) Zendo Fitness, Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Barbell training fifty feet from a kiteboarding beach? That’s Zendo Fitness, a small-scale fitness camp that operates out of the eco-friendly Extreme Hotel on the northern shore of the Dominican Republic. Headed up by trainer Zach Greig, Zendo offers retreats with two-a-day workouts that can include Olympic lifting, old school bodybuilding, TRX, yoga, trapeze, surfing, and of course, kiteboarding.
Your trip also includes nutritional counseling and meals from the camp’s own organic farm, and the hotel is nestled in a vibrant international community that’s home to a happy mix of health nuts, party-hard expats, artists and musicians. Zendo offers both packaged retreats and bespoke getaways; your best bet is to reach out directly to arrange a visit that’s tailored to your needs.
4) Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, Texas
It’s hard to finish a retreat roundup without including Lake Austin Spa Resort: it’s one of the best known wellness retreats and it’s located right in the old U.S. of A. And while it’s far and away this list’s largest resort at 25,000 square feet on a nineteen-acre property, and it offers the most diverse range of activities, it’s true that Lake Austin is catered more to wellness folks than strength athletes.
We still think it’s worth considering. For its sheer size and scope, Lake Austin is almost unmatched in the U.S. industry, and the all-inclusive package includes unlimited access to classes like Barbell Strength, Kettlebell Circuit, Simply Strength, Foam Rolling, and even a class dedicated to Valslide training. When you take into account the gourmet cuisine and cooking classes, we think the pros outweigh the cons – and you’ve always got access to the gym if you want to lift heavy every day.
Remember, taking the occasional week off from lifting is essential to improving strength and reducing the risk of injuries. But if you want to escape the grind and keep training hard, you’ve got more options than ever before. Talk about the best of both worlds!
Featured image courtesy of @wod_holidays