Seven Places Where You Can Work Out With Actual Olympians
You don’t need to fly to Rio to get up close and personal with gold medalists. In fact, you can get training time with some of the world’s best athletes at vacation spots in nearly any corner of the globe. From weeklong fitness getaways at renowned resorts to beginner-friendly, one-on-one coaching sessions, here are seven ways you can work out like—and with—an Olympian. Just be prepared to work around their schedules; professional training regimens can be even more all-consuming than starting a finance career at Goldman Sachs.
Sailing in St. Lucia
“Give us your body for a week, and we’ll give you back your mind” is the tagline of the Body Holiday, an iconic all-inclusive wellness resort, where multiple Olympians rotate through as fitness instructors for “WellFit Families” fitness weeks. On the lineup: Olympic diver Leon Taylor (until July 17), runner Jamie Baulch (July 17-31), rower Steve Williams (Aug. 14-28), and Paralympic champion Danny Crates (Aug. 7-14).
During the six-night, all-ages retreats, the athletes will lead guests in group activities such as rainforest hikes, volleyball matches, sailing regattas, and waterfall abseiling. (One-on-one time can also be arranged at additional cost.) After a workout, retreat to the spa for an Ayurvedic massage or book a spot on a sunset booze cruise. Just because it’s a wellness retreat, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for indulgence. $530 per person, per night, including all meals and activities.
Hiking in Hampshire, England
The English countryside is usually the place for such civilized pursuits as horseback riding and falconry, but at Chewton Glen, you’ll work up a sweat trying to keep up with James Cracknell, a two-time Olympic gold medal-winning rower. At this grand, 130-acre estate 90 minutes southwest of London, trainers under Cracknell's guidance lead hikes, nutritional sessions, Pilates classes, and cardio workouts. If you want to get on the water in nearby Southampton, you can easily make arrangements through the concierge. But since Cracknell sustained a cycling-related brain injury in 2010, his coaching has been reserved for activities (and inspirational talks) on dry land. From $1,526 per person for two-night programs.
Cycling in Mallorca, Spain
From Oct. 20-24, you can get in the saddle alongside David Millar, former captain of the British Olympic team and the only British cyclist to win all four Tour de France jerseys. To prepare for the three-day bike-fest at the luxe Jumeriah Port Soller resort in Mallorca, Spain, participants will receive a customized training plan before they arrive; once they check in, they'll get their own personalized jersey from Chpt. III, a clothing line Miller recently created in collaboration with Castelli. Riders will be treated like pros throughout the weekend, which means morning briefings, on-site mechanics, and Maserati support cars. From $4,347 per person, including airport transfers, nightly dinners with Millar, and more.
Personal Training in San Diego
Book at least 10 days in advance at the U.S. Grant, a Luxury Collection hotel in downtown San Diego, and you can customize a workout with one of the property’s noted trainers—which include Olympian rower Luke Walton. Since he participated in the 2004 Athens games, Walton has been competing in triathlons, coaching triathletes and rowers, and serving as a personal trainer. At the U.S. Grant, he customizes workouts according to each guest’s needs and interests; you could do a heavy-duty cardio conditioning session in the hotel gym, do some TRX right in your room, or go on a run along the waterfront. Sessions from $300.
Skiing at L'Apogée Courchevel, France
This sleek reinterpretation of the traditional Alpine lodge is set at the top of a former Olympic ski jump, so it’s easy for guests to get caught up in the spirit of the Games. Go in March for the chance to hit the slopes with a bona fide skiing star, Florence Masnada, who has three bronze medals in combined and downhill skiing, along with 15 French championship titles. She’ll be participating in a three-day-long series of programs featuring pre-breakfast workouts, technique drills, recovery exercises, evening chats, nutrition tips, and more. Along the way, you’ll get to take in the beauty of the vast Trois Vallées ski area, which encompasses the tony ski towns of Courchevel, Méribel, and Val Thorens. Three-night programs for $2322 per person.
Nordic Walking in Boulder, Colo.
A mere $10 can get you access to Swedish-born Annette Tånnander Bank, who earned All-American status as a student at the University of Colorado-Boulder before participating as a high jumper and heptathlete in the '76 and '84 games. After spending 15 years on the Swedish National Team, she retired in Boulder, where she now leads regular classes in Nordic Walking, a low-impact, full-body workout that burns up to 46 percent more calories than you normally would on foot. It’s also known to help strengthen the muscles in the shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, and chest. Weekly one-hour classes take place at various locations around town, and include pre- and post-walk stretching. Intro clinics and an easy starter class are also available. They’re all listed here and can be booked via e-mail.
Mountain Biking in Deer Valley, Utah
This luxe, slope-side St. Regis offers private training sessions with local resident Jillian Vogtli—one of the rare few to compete in both the summer and winter Olympics. (She skis and cycles.) Summer workouts in Park City, Utah, are best; that’s when Vogtli takes guests out on the trails for mountain bike rides. She tends to add a dash of spirituality to her fitness regimen, claiming that “in order to obtain overall wellness, it is essential to find the balance of the body, soul, and mind. Without balance, one cannot even dream of reaching their potential.” Training sessions from $100.