On the one hand, it inspires giddy elation at the prospect of escaping to a far-off land. On the other, there lurks the terror of being forced to reveal your beach body.
However, the great minds at TNT have come up with the ultimate solution: a boot camp holiday that’ll whisk you away and whip you into shape. And with that, we present our five favourites.
1. Transylvania Fitness, Romania
First up is a destination that doesn’t immediately scream ‘get fit retreat’: Transylvania. But Dracula’s spooky locale will have you pouring sweat instead of sucking blood.
Combining traditional workouts (think yoga and gym) and outdoor activities with a mix of tourist attractions, Transylvanian Fitness gives you a great mix of a boot camp and a typical trip abroad – so you can look great on your holiday snaps.
Set in the region of Brasov, the camp is enclosed by the majestic Carpathian Mountains, forests and medieval castles. The sublime surroundings provide some comfort as you’re put through your paces.
The folks at Transylvanian Fitness first evaluate you and tailor a diet and fitness programme to your needs.
You will be fed organic foods from local farmers, giving you a taste of traditional fare, and the brochure promises you’ll feel full, not hungry.
Thankfully, every day is different, so you won’t get bored doing the same old exercises.
You’ll be ‘enjoying’ everything from a beautiful hike through the mountains to sweating your butt off in a more standard boot camp set-up. Tourist excursions are included, with Dracula’s castle (pictured) an obvious stop.
At the end of the week, Transylvanian Fitness sets you up with a long-term plan for sticking to your new healthy lifestyle. A fit body for a lifetime? Sign us up.
An all-inclusive week with Transylvanian Fitness costs £1700 per person per week, with options for one- or two-week stays.
2. Texas Cowboy Fat Camp
Don’t take offence at its name – the Fat Farm is just a no-nonsense dude ranch located in the sweeping hill country of Texas.
Everyone here is given the real cowboy treatment; in between gym work and hill hiking, you’ll be lugging hay and horseback riding.
So, grab your cowboy hat and give it a “yee-haaaaaah!”. This ranch-style boot camp rings in at about £851 for the all-inclusive week.
3. Jungle Bay, Dominica
Committing to the boot camp vacation doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be pampered as well. This jungle island holiday comes with three (much-needed) 30-minute spa treatments.
The idyllic setting makes the exercise that bit easier to stomach. Between yoga sessions, hikes to secret beaches and waterfalls, plus snorkelling through local reefs, you’ll be fooled into thinking you’re not working out at all. From £1105 for a week in high season.
4. Lake Mead, Nevada
Some of us just want to get down and dirty with nature – and if mountain biking, camping and kayaking are your idea of an awesome day off, check out this adventure-filled fitness holiday.
A typical day could include jumping on your mountain bike to race down a rarely used path, running a couple of miles through a desert canyon, and then paddling your kayak to a beach to set up camp for the night. Prices are startlingly reasonable; from £287 for a three-day adventure.
5. Bikini Boot Camp, Mexico
Bikini Boot Camp fills your days with walks, yoga and hardcore fitness workouts, all to a backdrop of the beach. There’s also the chance to race up Mayan ruins, go swimming in freshwater holes in the jungle, and learn kitesurfing in the Caribbean sea. You also get to enjoy great local food: freshly caught fish, pineapple and mango are just a few examples of the low-fat, chemical-free fare you’ll be dished up. A beachside massage and Mayan clay treatment are included. From £1245 for five nights.
Photos: Thinkstock, transylvanianfitness.com, ranchocortez.com, junglebaydominica.com, kayaklakemead.com, bikinibootcamp.com