BOSTON The military-style fitness "boot camps" which originated in the United States have invaded nearly every corner of the earth.
If you're looking to combine travel with hardcore fitness in a team environment to jumpstart your exercise regime this year, you may enjoy online travel advisor Cheapflight.com's Top 10 Fitness Boot Camps around the world. Reuters has not endorsed this list:
1. St. Vincent, Caribbean
The volcanic St. Vincent Island is located in the Caribbean Sea, between Saint Lucia and Grenada, and served as a filming location for Pirates of the Caribbean.
Buccament Bay Resort and Fitness 4 Boot Camps are offering guests the chance to reach (and sustain) their weight and fitness goals with a special holiday exercise camp.
Led by ex-Royal Marines, guests can choose between five, six, 10 or 12-day courses offering a variety of daily exercises, including circuit training, obstacle courses, swimming, team games, boxing and yoga.
2. Algarve, Portugal
The most popular tourist destination in Portugal - and one of the most popular in Europe - the Algarve attracts around seven million travellers each year. They are drawn to the region's year-round sunshine, golden beaches and fabulous food.
With this welcoming location as your backdrop, Luxury Algarve Bootcamp offers training and nutrition courses to take your fitness to the next level.
The program includes health and fitness assessments and consultation with a nutritionist, twice daily boot camp classes featuring yoga, Pilates, beach boxing, jogging, running, mountain biking, swimming, circuit training and resistance training.
3. Kent, England
In the rolling hills of the lush Kent farmland the female-only G.I. Jane Bootcamp puts women from all over the world through their paces.
Over the course of three or seven days, women take part in intensive physical training, supported by a professional team with the aim of getting fit, losing weight and gaining mental strength.
Working in small, close-knit groups, everyone receives equal attention and the varied workouts keep guests on their toes. Meditation, nutritional advice and life-coaching also help guests kick start a new way of living.
4. St. Petersburg, Florida
In the sunshine state of Florida, St. Pete Beach is home to Getaway Fitness' boot camp at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort.
Travellers come to St. Pete to take in the pristine white sand coastline, enjoy the clear gulf waters and soak up the sun. All this makes St. Pete Beach the ideal location for a butt-kicking workout.
A typical day begins with a beach boot camp session and is followed by five to six hours of structured, intensive fitness activities until about 2:30 p.m. when guests are free to make the most of the beach, enjoy spa services or just relax.
5. Ibiza, Spain
Healthy living might not spring to mind when you think of the beautiful party island of Ibiza, but it's the setting for No 1 Boot Camp's Luxury Fitness Retreat.
This peaceful retreat is the perfect place to detox and exercise with a week's worth of tough military-style fitness and yoga. A typical day includes challenging, but breathtaking hikes to the Goddess Island, core stability exercises and team activities.
6. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Taking the concept of boot camp to new heights, why not kick off a year of health and fitness with a climb up Kilimanjaro?
Run by British Military Fitness, two experienced military mountain leaders will take a group of 30 on a seven-day trek up and down Africa's highest peak.
The package includes training days as well as assistance in the run-up to the challenge, and the crew will give you a great chance of getting as high up the mountain as you are able.
Plus, you'll be tackling this life-changing feat with a group of like-minded, adventurous people.
7. Tulum, Mexico
With ancient Mayan ruins and untouched beaches as your setting, a Bikini Boot Camp in Mexico will have you looking summer-ready in no time.
Classes include circuit training, body sculpting, beach cardio, kickboxing, Pilates and cardio dance. Plus, there are guided bike tours to the Mayan ruins of Tulum and the Sian K'aan reserve.
But Bikini Boot Camp is more than just a fitness vacation. It's a combination of exercise, healthy eating, adventure, relaxing and pampering, giving guests a break from routine and a chance for some 'me time.'
8. Phuket, Thailand
Thailand's largest island, Phuket, is a partygoer's paradise and one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.
Surrounded by tropical forest, the Raw Fitness Boot Camp is not only empowering and fun, but aims to transform guests on all levels - body, mind and spirit. There is no competition, judgment or pressure; just support and encouragement every step of the way.
Intensive fitness sessions run from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily and include beach training, group training sessions, martial arts classes and an optional healthy detox program.
9. Queensland, Australia
Within the rainforests, waterfalls and mountain views of Lamington National Park Queensland, the Commando is ready to whip you into shape.
A highly qualified coach famous for his appearance on TV's The Biggest Loser, the Commando (aka Steve Willis) is hosting five 'no excuses' three-day camps at Binna Burra Lodge.
The atmosphere in the camps is one of support and camaraderie to anyone who puts in the effort.
Based on the CrossFit system, the programme also aims to improve endurance, strength, mental toughness and adaptability.
10. Watamu, Kenya
On the white sand beaches of the Indian Ocean, Watamu is the perfect destination for chilling out, watching the sun set, meeting friendly monkeys, snorkelling and getting into shape.
Wildfitness is based at Baraka House on the north coast of Kenya, and boasts panoramic rooftops, beautiful balconies overlooking the sea and easy access to the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve.
The sleepy fishing village of Watamu is a designated UN area of outstanding natural beauty. It is said to be one of the top 10 beaches in the world and its waters are teeming with coral reefs. Wildfitness is designed for people of all ages and fitness levels. Courses run for nine days, two weeks or three and a half weeks and are packed with workshops, movement classes and adventurous training.
(Editing by Paul Casciato)