Take a trip to burn off some holiday calories

  • By Andrea Sachs The Washington Post
  • Thursday, December 27, 2007 2:44pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Go ahead and grab another helping of plum pudding or a third glass of eggnog. It’s the holidays, for Santa’s sake.

However, once the bubbly has gone flat, it’s time to get back into shape. To lose those three to five pounds that dietitian Rebecca Mohning says many folks gain over this festive stretch, skip the gym and instead take your body on vacation. We picked three levels of fitness trips — for the reveler who ate the whole ham, the partygoer who snatched extra Christmas cookies and the celebrant who chomped the last candy cane on the tree — plus additional activities for those with energy to spare. Once you reclaim your Adonis figure, we then show you where to treat yourself.

Just don’t get carried away, or it’s back to the fat farm you go.

High intensity

The vacation: The Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas (12200 Preston Road, 972-239-7223, www.cooperaerobics.com) was founded by Dr. Aerobics himself, Kenneth Cooper, who coined the word and concept in 1968. Guests at the 30-acre campus enroll in an intensive program that includes tailor-made workouts (kickboxing, tai chi, water aerobics, etc.), fitness-stress management-nutrition lectures and three daily meals, plus snacks, that carry a dietitian’s seal of approval. The boutique rooms at the guest lodge feature Starbucks coffee but no minibar, and a spa tends to aching muscles and chipped nails. The four-, six- and 13-day packages are held two weeks per month; prices start at $2,495 per person, plus $159 per night for a double room.

Extra burn: Hike, bike or in-line skate around the 10-mile loop at White Rock Lake, or get your heart pumping on the Katy Trail, a 31/2-mile path that follows an old railroad track. Dallas has many municipal golf courses, such as Keeton Park (2323 Jim Miller Road, 214-670-8784, www.keetonpark.com; fees from $8), whose greens are dotted with pecan trees.

Indulgences: The Cooper center is near such oil-money malls as NorthPark Center, Highland Park Village and the Galleria. Texan cuisine is hardly rabbit food; fill up on Tex-Mex at El Fenix (www.elfenix.com) or barbecue at Sunny Bryan’s Smokehouse (302 N. Market St., 214-744-1610). Toast your weight loss with margaritas at Monica Aca y Alla (2914 Main St., 214-748-7140).

Moderate intensity

The vacation: The Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa in southeast British Columbia (800-661-5161, www.hiking.com), near Nelson, emphasizes calorie counting and exercise in the great outdoors. Over a week, guests partake in four full-day and two half-day hikes (by boot or snowshoe, depending on the weather) in the Canadian Rockies. When not trekking, vacationers fill their time with yoga, core strength, weight training and more. Accommodations are plush-rustic, with private baths. High-season price starts at $4,185 per person per week. (The center migrates to Costa Rica Jan. 12-Feb. 23. Cost: $3,251.)

Extra burn: Skiers carve through powder at Whitewater Winter Resort (800-666-9420, www.skiwhitewater.com), south of Nelson. The Kootenay region also has heli-skiing. The Nelson &District Community Complex (305 Hall St., Nelson, 250-354-4386) offers a world of sports such as swimming and ice skating.

Indulgences: At the Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort (11 miles north of Balfour, 800-668-1171, www.hotnaturally.com), soak in pools and caves filled with hot mineral water. Pair a facial with a dip at Halcyon Hot Springs (888-689-4699, www.halcyon-hotsprings.com) in the West Kootenays. In Nelson, All Seasons Cafe (620 Herridge Lane, 250-352-0101) serves left coast inland cuisine, such as confit duck risotto. For more options: Nelson &District Chamber of Commerce (877-663-5706, www.discovernelson.com).

Low intensity

The vacation: At the 75-acre Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley, Pa. (109 River Birch Lane, 866-953-8500, www.thelodgeatwoodloch.com), visitors can choose their activity level — from spastic to slothful. The packed schedule includes snowshoeing, power yoga, art classes, Inner Smile Meditation and more. The three daily meals are nutritional yet savory, and the on-site spa provides full-service pampering. The rooms are modeled after a country manor’s. Cost: from $350 per person double per night, including meals and activities but not spa treatments.

Extra burn: Strap on skis or hop on a snow tube at Big Bear (570-685-1400, www.ski-bigbear.com) in nearby Lackawaxen. Canoe, kayak or whitewater raft down the Delaware or Lackawaxen rivers.

Indulgences: Shop for antiques in Hawley. For succulent eats, try Settler’s Inn (4 Main Ave., 800-833-8527) or Torte Knox Bistro (301 Main St., 570-226-8200). Info: Discover Pike Pennsylvania (www.discoverpike.com).

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