So you’ve re­solved to get fit, eh? There’s noth­ing like a trip to a boot camp on the beach in Florida to help you pull your head out of the sand.

The Washington Post Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - BY NANCY TRE­JOS

I’d never been afraid of a wa­ter bot­tle be­fore.

This, how­ever, was not just a wa­ter bot­tle. This was a five-gal­lon wa­ter bot­tle, weigh­ing 42 pounds — more than onethird my weight. And my trainer had just or­dered me to carry it around the gym­not once, but four times.

My body said no, butmy mind said yes. I was on Day 2 of a fit­ness boot camp vacation, and I was de­ter­mined to prove to trainer Doug Betts that I could carry, push and pull any­thing he put be­fore me, even though I was the small­est per­son in the class.

There was only one prob­lem: My en­tire body was aching.

I’d be­gun the day at 7 a.m. with a four-mile run on the beach, played car­dio ten­nis for an hour, spent 40 min­utes on the el­lip­ti­cal ma­chine and then 45 min­utes do­ing ab­dom­i­nal crunches.

My class­mate Tony was feel­ing light­headed and had to sit down. Our other class­mate, Robin, was in her room nurs­ing a knee in­jury. It was up tometo com­plete the bizarre cir­cuit of ex­er­cises that Doug had con­jured up for us. In ad­di­tion to car­ry­ing the wa­ter bot­tle, he wanted me to push a free­stand­ing punch­ing bag across the room, jump back and forth over a rope ly­ing on the ground, roll on a sta­bil­ity ball while hold­ing weights and have a stick fight with him.

On the fi­nal lap with the wa­ter bot­tle, my arms started to give out. Doug came to my res­cue and grabbed the jug be­fore I dropped it. Then he re­placed it with a pack­age of 24 bot­tles of wa­ter — about four gal­lons, or 34 pounds. “I’ll have some mercy,” he joked.

Mercy was in short sup­ply dur­ing my three-day, post-Thanks­giv­ing “de­pri­va­tion vacation” in Florida. In­stead of sip­ping cock­tails and read­ing trashy mag­a­zines on a beach, I’d en­rolled in Core Fit­ness So­lu­tion, a boot camp in Madeira Beach, about an hour from Tampa. I was go­ing to ex­er­cise all day, eat low-calo­rie meals and meet with a nu­tri­tion­ist and a life coach to learn how to de­velop more health­ful habits. I promised not to use the el­e­va­tor, to wake up at 6:30 a.m. each day and to cut out caf­feine, carbs, sweets and al­co­hol.

Though fit­ness camps first emerged years ago, de­pri­va­tion va­ca­tions, for trav­el­ers look­ing to im­prove their health and their life­style, are a more re­cent trend. Amid con­cerns about ris­ing obe­sity and the pop­u­lar­ity


From left, Kath­leen Beach of Semi­nole, Fla., Jen­nifer Devlin of Trea­sure Is­land, Fla., and Core Fit­ness So­lu­tion founder Lin­daMullins work their way down Madeira Beach. Af­ter they fin­ish that frolic, it’s on to the ket­tle weights! Mullins’s typ­i­cal greet­ing to guests: “Hap­pyMon­day. We’re go­ing to crush you.”

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