There’s a lot to be said for building a fitness regime slow and steady – however, some of us need one big push to ditch the bad habits and kick-start a new healthy lifestyle with gusto. If you’re one of those people, a boot camp retreat might be just what you’re looking for. Expect intense workouts, military-style training and lots – LOTS – of sweat. For those based in Europe – or looking for a wellness escape on the continent – check out our favourite boot camps in Europe for a fitness retreat like no other.
GI Jane: UK
This fitness retreat is not for the faint of heart, and it has a fierce name to match its attitude. Based in Kent in the United Kingdom, this women’s only boot camp is run by seasoned professionals who will put you through the ringer, quite literally. A favourite with celebrities like Michelle Keegan, it’s grown in popularity over the last few years, with its reputation as a fast fitness and weight loss solution solidfying it as one of Britain’s best.
From 5.30am until 8pm, you will follow a strict daily fitness regiment operated in a militarised manner by highly trained professionals. But it’s not all pain, no gain; throughout your weeklong stay, you will also participate in life coaching sessions, meditative practices, and, thankfully, the occasional massage. Participation in a weeklong course also includes full accommodation, food, and a nutritional consultation. Prices start from $1,441.
Epic Sana: Spain
The Insane Fitness programme is as tough as it sounds, but it comes with some serious perks, too. With six workout days, you’ll undergo a fitness assessment at the start of the week, followed by a series of fitness classes tailored to work on your body’s needs and to help condition and tone your muscles. Throughout your healthy holiday stay here, you’ll also have full access to group classes and spa treatments. But while you’ll be working hard, you’re guaranteed a little downtime, too. For seven nights in the beautiful Portuguese region of the Algarve, you’ll sleep in luxury, deluxe accommodation, dine on high-quality nutritional food from a specially designed diet programme, and ease your aching muscles with not one, but two, massages. Prices start from $3,230.
38 Degrees: Ibiza
When searching out intensive boot camps in Europe, the party capital of the world may not be first on your list of healthy holiday destinations. However, the Optimal Fitness programme – a high energy, high-intensity workout week – will have you working in short, sharp bursts, getting results quickly.
Your standard day here would include classes such as HIIT, kettlebells, and Pilates while ensuring body and mind are harmonised with the addition of mindfulness sessions, nutritional coaching and lectures and seminars. Setting you nutrition and health goals once your stay here is complete, you’ll be able to stay on track with the help of an online coaching follow-up session.
Take a week in the wilderness at Wildfitness, which has permanent locations in Crete, Zanzibar, Costa Rica and New York, and additional pop-up boot camps in Europe, in Scotland, England and Croatia. The concept of this programme is to get fit through fun. The intensive programme, which includes training sessions in boxing and weightlifting, is balanced with activities like hiking, trekking, game circuits and wild living workshops. There’s a strong glamping vibe at many of their camps, which gives a chic feel to your week in the wilds. It’s ideal for those seeking a digital detox and an escape from the city, as well as fitness fanatics. Prices start from $1,954.
Shanti Som: Spain
Promoting holistic wellness through a combination of eastern and western health practices, Shanti Som’s Fitness High-Intensity programme is the perfect way to cleanse your body than to put it through the ringer. This boot camp helps you boot the toxins from your system, taking a more rigorous approach to hitting the reset button on your body.
For six nights in luxury accommodation in Malaga, you’ll be dining on healthy fresh food that promotes weight loss, with a nutritional consultation upon arrival. To keep you active throughout the week, guided hikes, group yoga and pilates classes and personal training sessions are on offer. You’ll also have full use of the steam room, swimming pool and sauna throughout your stay. Prices start from $2,243.