For me, beach vacations have always meant a lot of time stretched out on the sand, with my nose in a book or gazing at the sea. Activity usually equals the bike ride for fish tacos, the dribbling of a drip castle, the shore stroll at sunset. So a “get-fit” beach vacation didn’t really seem like me—that is, until I discovered it was being held here:
…the sleek and sunny Gansevoort Turks + Caicos, home of this gorgeous pool and an ocean and sky that call to you in three shades of blue….
It’s also home to the aptly named Exhale Spa, where co-founders and unfailingly encouraging fitness gurus Elisabeth Halfpapp and Fred DeVito hold retreats for folks who like to earn their lounging time. I wondered, could I really enjoy a seaside vacation of classes like Core Fusion Sport or Core Fusion Barre, designed to deliver chiseled abs, toned legs, cut arms, and a high, lifted butt? Those promises don’t come lightly. I inhabited the back row of class with a mostly open mind, a progression of light to heavy drops of sweat, and muscles pushed paaaast their norm, hearing grunts and woots of achievement and solidarity from my neighbors in mid-twisting, leg-lifting contortions on adjacent mats in our breezy, open-air pavilion. Relaxation takes on a whole limp-body, transportive new meaning on your oceanfront balcony after this type of salt-air exertion. Ahhhh, exhale.
Gansevoort keeps the good-time toning coming by arranging everything from kayaking to snorkeling for guests. And I had a first in store: stand-up paddleboarding. Guided by the inspiring banker-turned-water-adventure guide Lynn Robinson of Big Blue Unlimited, I set out on a rising tide against the wind, having mastered the trick of staying up on the board, only to look to the shoreline and realize I was churning treadmill-like in place. After choice words and a rising spirit of I’m-gonna-show-this-board-who’s-boss, I crossed the wide windy channel into the calm 360-degree scenic bliss of the mangrove shallows, where I could see schools of tiny fish flicker out from under my board, and a surprisingly fast swimming sea turtle breaking the surface beside me for a half-second of air before zooming past. (Here’s a shot of one of his momentarily chill mates taken by Lynn. Just, wow. And that’s marathoner-on-the-side Lynn, next.)
It was a gratifying reward to encounter that splashing, dashing turtle soul, and it felt like a sign: a get-fit vacation fits me way more than fine.
Want to get toned in Turks and Caicos? Gansevoort Turks + Caicos rates start at $495/night; find more information about Gansevoort Exhale Get-Fit Retreats at gansevoorthotelgroup.com/offers/get-fit.
Ready to get away?