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Exercise

Fabulous Fitness Travel

Staying in shape is easy when you’re on home turf. But what happens when you travel? It’s the perfect time to try a new fitness regimen! A change of scenery may be just what you need to make your fitness anything but routine. Check out these destinations across the country and see how you can get your fitness in – no matter what zip code you’re visiting!

Atlanta, Ga.

WHAT TO DO: Personal Training, Jogging

You may not at first notice Bien-Aime Strength & Stretch, a studio located on an unassuming street in Atlanta. But this little fitness enclave packs a big punch. Owner Ulrick Bien-Aime, who has been perfecting his personal training craft more than 30 years, transforms individuals by creating programs specially designed for their bodies and goals. Our morning started with a mini-version questionnaire he asks of all his clients to access their current health and fitness level. Then it was onto an ergonomic bike for a warmup and then to his outside workout garden. He put me through some tough, but ultimately rewarding moves that included pull-ups on a series on uneven bars and Medicine Balls throws. Ulrick’s philosophy is to rebalance the body through strength training and flexibility, and he ends his workouts with a healing hands-on stretch. I also got to taste water that he filters himself.

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If you’re in Atlanta for a conference and booked at Hilton Atlanta Downtown, walking from its lobby, through the Hilton-Marriott Skybridge and around the adjoining mall complex could be a workout in itself! At the hotel, I took advantage of the executive floor perks, which included a nutritious evening snack of cheese and olives, as well as a full-on breakfast in the morning with healthy options. While I could have run on a treadmill in its fully-equipped fitness center, I chose instead to take my workout to its outdoor jogging track, taking in a few laps while enjoying a view of Atlanta’s skyline.

Santa Barbara, Calif.

WHAT TO DO: Athletic Conditioning, Restorative Yoga

There’s one lady that will whip you into tip-top condition in Santa Barbara, and that’s Jenny Schatzle. This positive dynamo behind the Jenny Schatzle Program serves up a dynamic blend of conditioning and cardio that will whip any body into shape. But she’s even more dedicated to instilling a positive mindset. Jenny’s hugs and reinforcement are needed to get through her sweaty class. During an hour-long session, I ran, rowed, stepped and squatted on all the equipment located in the West Carrillo St. location. There are plenty of trainers on hand to guide you on equipment and modifications of exercises. During cooldown, Jenny made a motivating speech about how we need to love our bodies. “Don’t come here to get thin… come here to get fit,” she stressed. I did, and I loved every intense minute of it.

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Jenny’s program is in harmonious contrast of the restorative yoga I took at Alchemy Healing Spa. Walking into its peaceful studio for yoga wellness director’s Siddhi’s class, it was all about restoring chakras and rejuvenating joints. The moves aren’t aggressive, at one point, Siddhi just had us extend our arms, and I could still feel myself trembling. This is truly a class for all ages; most of the students that day were over 50. I left feeling eternally youthful. After class, I headed down to Alchemy’s organic cafe for their life-reviving elixirs.

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If you’re going to a beach town, you might as well stay near the water. The Fess Parker, named for the actor who brought Davy Crockett to life on TV, is a sprawling complex of rooms, suites and villas with a tennis court on premise, and bike rentals seasonally available. You can also walk across the street, and take a leisurely stroll down the boardwalk for an hour or two to get your cardio in play.

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West Palm Beach, Fla.

WHAT TO DO: Biking, Yoga

West Palm Beach is a gorgeous beach city, so of course, I wanted to check out it sandy shores. Instead of hopping in a cab, I hopped on SkyBike, West Palm Beach’s bike-sharing program. Conveniently located in kiosks throughout the city, a bike can be rented for 24 hours for $24. Checking out a bike located at a rack in CityPlace, I headed for a ride through the town, down shop and restaurant-lined streets and across Flagler Bridge into the ritzy Palm Beach community, which makes for breezy and scenic views to the water. A round trip takes about 90 minutes – the perfect Sunday morning workout.

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One of the best reasons to stay at the Hilton West Palm Beach is its offering of morning yoga, located right on the premises. Yoga master Jennifer Martin, a popular instructor in the area, conducts this lawn-based class every Saturday, and she has a dedicated following in their 50s and 60s. Jennifer directs the classes through different yoga poses, with modifications to cater to every fitness level. As the sun beat down on my stretched limbs in various asanas, it was evident this sunny practice is one of the best ways to do a downward dog. Class is $10, and I got a complimentary mimosa for my hard work. Hilton West Palm Beach also has a fully furnished fitness center and one of the best outdoor pools to lounge at once workouts are complete.

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Join me next month for more fitness travel destinations!