KAYAK THE BAY OF KOTOR
Lonely Planet rates Kotor as the number-one city to visit in 2016, and for a good reason — this place is a UNESCO World Heritage stunner. In Kotor’s fortified old town, narrow laneways twist around medieval-style buildings, leading to a clear, pebbled bay encircled by limestone mountains. While the Bay of Kotor attracts cruise ships, it doesn’t have the tourist saturation levels of places like Dubrovnik in neighboring Croatia, despite only being a two-hour bus ride away.
The best way to enjoy the Bay of Kotor is to hit the water, and Adventure Montenegro offers three-hour kayaking tours where you’ll also learn ancient legends of the bay.
Train for it: If you don’t have access to kayaking, then check out indoor rowing! Almost every gym will have a rower, or find one of the new rowing studios or rowing classes (like our featured Shockwave workout), and work on your stamina and technique. Balance out your sore muscles with Cat and Cow yoga moves.
STAND-UP PADDLE IN VENICE
Venice’s waterways were traditionally navigated by paddle-craft, so stand-up paddle boards seem an appropriate addition to the city’s transport system. The boards are still few and far between, with only one local guide offering tours of the city by SUP (and it’s strictly forbidden to paddle alone).
The tours are suitable for experienced paddlers, given the idiosyncrasies of canal traffic rules, but if you’re confident stopping in a current and making quick 90-degree turns on your board, this is an experience you don’t want to miss.
Train for it: Balance is specific to the circumstances and the changing environment, but you can train for improved ability to balance and coordinate. Try bodyweight training, yoga with a focus on balance poses like Tree Pose — perhaps adding a blanket or mat under your foot as you get stronger — or train on a Bosu. If you are really adventurous, find a local slackline group!
BOUNCE ON AN UNDERGROUND TRAMPOLINE
With a bit of out-of-the-box thinking, a 176-year-old disused slate mine in Wales has been transformed into the world’s largest underground trampoline. This epic adult playground opened in 2014 and is made up of nearly a mile of netting connected by slides and tunnels, illuminated by technicolored lights.
For the kids, there’s Bounce Below Junior, where kids as young as 3 can bounce themselves silly, and in the same location you’ll also find the world’s largest underground zip-line course. It’s the perfect day out (or in), whatever the weather.
Train for it: Bouncing is great for the health of our heart and for our lymphatic system. Luckily if you don’t have access to an outdoor trampoline or an indoor trampoline center, you can buy an inexpensive rebounder, available at almost any sporting goods or larger retailer. Try bouncing for 10-15 minutes a day. Be sure to take good care and move your ankles and calves before and after, for healthy mobility.
RAFT IN GLACIER MELT
Switzerland is famous for its snow, but between May and September, glacial melt from the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains creates thrill-seeking rapids in the resort town of Interlaken, primed for white-water rafting. Daily tours run in the mighty Lütschine River by adventure company Outdoor Interlaken.
Alternatively, you can test out the first jet boat operation in Central Europe, with a scenic trip down the 14-km-long Lake Brienz, to the east of Interlaken. Tours run between April and October and take you across turquoise water and past waterfalls and fishing villages.
Train for it: Rafting is a unique sport that interestingly enough requires massive endurance and a very keen mindset. Train for your trip with a combination of swimming intervals, and meditation and breath retention work. Learn about the terrain you will encounter, and visualize — with a set breath pattern — your responsiveness to the waves. The mental and physical benefits of this combination of training and mental practices are sure to keep you steady, no matter what rocks your boat.
FAT BIKE THROUGH THE SNOW
The fat-biking trend is gaining worldwide popularity, but its roots lie in Alaska, where bikes with wide tires were developed to traverse snow and keep locals fit during winter. When the cold months close in, hundreds of miles of world-class trails appear across the country, including the renowned Iditarod Trail between Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, and Nome on the west coast, where an annual 1,000-plus-mile endurance ride through the snow is held in February.
Train for it: Biking outdoors in cold, tough terrain takes some guts and serious leg strength. Get on an indoor bike and get to it. Work with resistance in intervals, as well as building your base strength and endurance through longer rides. Alternate with ankle mobility and even a seated bike with resistance, to ensure you have mastered as many leverage angles as possible.
HIKE TO PRAIA DA URSA
The Sintra-Cascais Natural Park sits in the westernmost part of mainland Europe and includes one of Portugal’s most scenic coastal hikes. Undulating trails take you through colorful seaside succulents down to the secluded beach Praia da Ursa, where large, jagged rocks jut out of a rough sea. The track isn’t well-marked and sections involve climbing near-vertical cliffs, so it’s recommended to travel with a guide.
Outdoor Adventures Portugal offers guided tours that take you on a loop across the mountains and down to the beach, finishing at the Cabo da Roca lookout.
Train for it: Fitness becomes breathtaking in beautiful scenery, but it’s all uphill work to get ready. Grab a backpack, put some sandbells in it or add a weight vest, and hop on the stepmill or treadmill on incline, with a slow but steady speed.Be sure to include some release techniques such as gentle side bends and twists for your back, which you can use while training and while moving up towards the mountain peak.
Ditch the Land Rover and gallop alongside zebras and giraffes — in one of the world’s most famous national parks: the Serengeti. Run in northern Tanzania by environmentally conscious group Singita Grumeti, equestrian tours are tailored for intermediate to experienced riders, and can be done as a day trip from the highly-rated Singita Sasakawa Lodge, or as part of a longer Singita Explore tour between June and October.
Train for it: Horseback riding is a wonderful activity that requires a strong core, flexible hips and impeccable posture. Stability-ball training is an excellent modality to train all of these. Practice planks, knee balances, bridges, and a variety of stretches on the ball, for a responsive and healthy spine.
SNORKEL CRYSTAL CLEAR RIVERS
A five-hour bus trip towards the Paraguay border from Campo Grande, Bonito is considered Brazil’s ecotourism capital. Here, a series of crystal-clear rivers chock-full of marine and plant life run through private farmland, which is open to travelers for snorkeling and, in some places, scuba diving.
The area is tightly controlled to limit the number of people entering the properties at once, so guests must book a tour through one of the city’s tourism agencies. Bookings can be arranged through accommodation providers or via a company like Bonitour, and other operators can be searched on the Rio da Prata website.
Train for it: In such a beautiful space, you want to be light and nimble on your feet. Jumping rope is a legendary practice to make you “fly like a butterfly.” Start with timed intervals and simple moves, and build up a regimen every other day. Eventually, you can add tricks and locomotion to your routine, and you’ll have a healthy heart and ability to move through any terrain.
A RUNNING TOUR OF NEW YORK
The best way to check out one of the world’s most famous cities is to join a running tour. The locations of the group tours change daily, but include places like Central Park, Brooklyn and the West Village.
If you want to combine work with play, you can opt for a beer-themed running tour through neighborhoods like Red Hook and Williamsburg, where your efforts are rewarded with a complimentary beer at a local brewery upon completion.
Train for it: Running is one of the most accessible activities in the world. But it’s not always the easiest on your body. The best way to achieve a running goal and actually be able to enjoy it is to train for it, progressively. Start with walking outside and/or jogging or running on a treadmill inside. There are a ton of great apps to use to add mileage to your routine. Take your movement prep seriously and pay attention to form and technique. When you hit the streets of the Big Apple, your body will thank you.
KITESURF IN A DESERT
A trip to the Middle Eastern desert during summer may sound foolish, but the strong and consistent winds of Oman’s monsoon season make it one of the world’s best kitesurfing locations. Masirah Island on the east coast has the best conditions, and is suitable for beginners through to experienced surfers. Kiteboarding-Oman has classes available and can assist with transport and accommodation if required.
Train for it: Kiteboarding and surfing are unique experiences, no matter where you are. Intense weather requires that you train for resilience, endurance, and balance. Interval strength training is an excellent modality to prepare your body for a variety of situations. For best results, be sure to mix up your movement patterns, your choice of resistance modality, and the intervals you use in the training. With this preparation, the wind will be child’s play.