Fitness professionals know how hard it is to getaway; you have clients to train, classes to teach and bills to pay. But if you could go on vacation while only working a few hours each day teaching classes or doing personal training, would you do it? All it would take is a nominal fee and a short work day for an exotic vacation in a sun-drenched resort with endless fun, food and drinks.

I was surprised when I heard about this from another trainer in my club and it is a viable option available to fitness leaders. So how can you get ready for your fun-filled fitness vacation?

Finding a provider
Before you decide to pack your flip flops and bathing suit, you need to shop around for a fitness vacation provider. Depending on who you go with, you will have to pay a nominal fee that covers an administration fee and a gift fund amount. A "gift fund" is what the company gifts to the hotel for allowing you to teach there. Two providers are offered at the end of this article.

What do you teach?
Depending on your area of expertise, you may be more sought after at specific resorts. Yoga, Pilates and spinning are thought of as specialty classes; boot camp, hi-lo and sculpting classes are more open to all instructors; some resorts even look for meditation instructors.

If you're a personal trainer, don't fret. Some resorts are also looking for trainers to do workout sessions with hotel guests. You may also be supervising the weight room, and possibly teaching group classes as well.

No matter what your format, you will probably be expected to teach some aqua fit classes as well, water classes are a staple in hot countries.

Choosing your resort
If you're lucky, you will have the option of picking which resort you want to stay at. If you are travelling by yourself, you will enjoy many options. You can do an adult-only resort, a high-end, luxury resort, or even a family-oriented resort.

Going with a spouse or friend? You still have the above options, but you may have to contribute more depending on if the hotel charges extra for another person. Some higher-end resorts have a nightly charge on top of the gift fund and administration fee.

Going with kids? The adult-only resorts won't be available to you and some resorts may have restrictions on how many children you have. The family of four will have a much easier time than the family of five or six. Most resorts cater to foursomes. Be sure to check ahead if you have more than two children.

Depending on how much you want to work, and at what time of day, you may also need to sift through the resort options. Some will have you working early in the morning, and not again until dinner time. Some may want classes back-to-back. Depending on how you want to schedule your time, you need to be aware of what the resort is looking for.

When you go on vacation, you have all the time in the world to spend on doing whatever you want to do. Going on a fitness vacation is a little bit different, and it is important to remember that when you get to your resort. You are staying at the resort as an employee of sort, so you are expected to maintain a certain standard of behavior.

You will be expected to be available for the teaching times you agreed to when you picked your resort. Some times and classes may vary from what you expected, so you need to be open-minded and ready to switch things up. Make sure to be friendly and professional during your classes, as you would always be. You need to be upbeat and outgoing; you will be expected to promote your class and let people know to recruit people to your classes!

Classes may vary in length from 30 to 60 minutes; keep in mind what the participants are looking for while they're on vacation and deliver a dynamic and fun class. Since you will have international participants, try not to rely as heavily on verbal cuing. Body language is very important. If you can learn a few fitness related cues or phrases in Spanish, it may also be helpful for you.

You may be expected to participate in more than just your fitness classes. There will often be a variety of activities offered at the resort, and it bodes well to participate in some of the other options to increase your visibility and participation as a visiting instructor. Some companies will ask that you wear clothing that announces yourself as a fitness instructor when you are not teaching. It's important to be professional and dressed presentably at all times when out in the public.

Enjoy the downtime
A working vacation is more than just teaching or doing personal training. There are so many great ways to enjoy yourself at the resort. Here are some of the things you can enjoy on your working vacation:
- Take advantage of the activities that are offered such as Spanish lessons, scuba diving lessons, dance lessons, archery, rock wall climbing and more
- Relax on the beach and catch up on some much needed rest
- Visit the local town (after you classes are taken care of) and get a taste of the local culture
- Enjoy the many restaurants that the resort has to offer
- Take part in the nightly entertainment; catch a show and relax with your friend or family

So if you're tired of the local snow and cold weather, but think you can't afford a tropical vacation, think again. A warm weather working vacation is easier than you think.

Here are two sites that provide resources for fitness professionals looking to participate in a fitness vacation:

Fit Bodies (
Fees: Vary on average between $500 and $800, includes both the administrative and "gift fund" fees. Air travel is not included. 
Classes: 2-3 classes per day on average. The types of classes are listed on their website with the resort information. Some of the options include: group, yoga, Pilates and aqua fit. Don’t teach fitness? Some resorts also look for tennis pros.
Program includes: The resorts are all-inclusive, some vary as to what they offer you. You can bring one adult companion and usually two children unless it is an adult-only resort.
Resort options: Many available in countries including Mexico, Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

Fees: $250 for administration and $300 value of purchased items during low season, $150 more for administration during the high season.
Classes: 2 classes per day on average. The types of classes are listed on their website with the resort information. Some of the options include group, mind/body, Zumba and tennis.
Includes: The resorts are all-inclusive; some vary as to what they offer you. You can bring one companion and sometimes two children unless it is an adult-only resort.
Resort options: Countries including Belize, Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

Cruise Line Instructor (
Why go for a week when you can stay onboard a cruise ship for up to six months at a time? Cruise Line instructors teach classes, supervise the gym, and do personal training, all while at sea!

Nicole Palacios, BSc is a certified personal trainer and group fitness leader in Vancouver, Canada. Her fitness expertise has been quoted in Shape, Arthritis Today and Breakfast Television. She blogs regularly about health and fitness at


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