How to Shape Up for Summer – The Best Get-Fit Escapes in Europe

Beach season is almost upon us, and we all want to fit into our bikinis (or trunks). But how to get fit if you don’t like the gym? Lucy Fry picks the best shape-up breaks – from cycling in Spain to cardio in the French Alps via wild food on the Isle of Wight. You have nothing to lose but your love handles …

This way to fitness: You can shape up with a cardio-boosting break in the Alps

This way to fitness: You can shape up with a cardio-boosting break in the Alps

Saddle up for mastering Mallorca’s mountains

With 300 days of sun a year and lots of punishing hills, it’s no surprise the Tramuntana mountains are a training favourite of GB Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.

Renowned former cycling pro Stephen Roche (also a former Tour de France champion) also came to the island to set up his cycle holidays — in the south-western region of Calvia. There are rides of varying lengths every day to match tired legs, with groups organised from beginners upwards. The bikes are excellent and a support van is always nearby.

Creature comforts: Mid-morning ensaimadas (renowned local cakes).

Details: A week at four-star Ponent Mar hotel starts at £383 per person; bike hire costs £101 per week and guided riding is £93 per week. Stephen Roche: 034 971 683 665, Cycle Holidays are a training partner of Human Race,

Quote code HR2013 to receive a discount; visit for more information on the region.

Onwards and upwards: Spain's Serra deTramuntana mountains provide a tough test for any cyclist

Onwards and upwards: Spain’s Serra deTramuntana mountains provide a tough test for any cyclist

Beef up army-style in Devon

Like mud and got guts? Revival’s three- or seven-day boot camps are designed to help you shed weight and build fitness levels with military efficiency. Begin with an assessment and orientation, before ex-marine Marty Yardley leads a tough but varied training regimen.

Sessions include ‘boxercise’, circuit training, swimming, high ropes and 20-mile hikes along the coastal paths. And there are cooking demonstrations and nutrition lectures in between the meals, and snacks that make up guests’ strict 1,300 kcal-per-day diet.

Creature comforts: On-site spa with hot tubs and massages.

Details: Boot camps start at £799 per person, with £200 discount for a limited period. Includes accommodation, meals, training and activities.

The next one is May 17-24, 020 3608 3666,

Train like a pro in Portugal

Want to be fitter, leaner, stronger?

Try five days of high-octane, warm-weather training at Reach Fitness’s Portugal training camps. Run by Richard Tidmarsh (trainer to English rugby star James Haskell, among others), sessions take place three times a day in the elite facility’s state-of-the-art gym.

They provide circuit-based conditioning, movement and agility work, and strongman training — think tyre-flipping and rope pulling. You need: determination, team spirit and a sense of humour.

Creature comforts: Pool recovery sessions.

Details: Camps run approximately every three months, next one September 12-17; from £629 per person, including accommodation, training and food, 0845 519 3425,

Best foot forward: Mountain running is a great way to get into peak condition

Best foot forward: Mountain running is a great way to get into peak condition

Get high on cardio in the French Alps

When the French ski team want to improve strength and conditioning, they call for coach Peter McKnight. He also leads Adventures In The Alps’ six-day fitness break in the beautiful surroundings of Lake Annecy to help guests build muscle and boost metabolism with high-intensity cardiovascular sessions either in the gym or on the nearby lakeside.

And for relaxation: kayaking on the lake, trail running, walking, sauna and swimming.

Creature comforts: Bubbly hot tub with lake view.

Details: From £1,200 per person, including accommodation, all training, meals (other than final night), spa, a sports massage and transfers. The adventures runs every six months, next break September 7-14, 020 7193 7660,

Run for your supper in the Dolomites

On Fitscape’s week-long fitness retreats men and women of all ages are invited to feel the burn during cardio circuits and boxercise sessions and improve their running technique with a new dedicated clinic, focusing on breathing and stretching in mountainous surroundings.

And there’s no slumming it when you get back to your accommodation: the luxury Rosa Alpina, 5,000ft above sea level in the northern Italian province of Bolzano. Guests can wind down with a drink (alcohol is allowed) in the drawing room before enjoying local gourmet cuisine.

Creature comforts: Fine wines on the private terrace.

Details: Holidays start at £1,795 per person, including accommodation, transfers, meals, exercise classes, fitness consultations and personal training. Dates: June 15-22, July 20-27, September 7-14, 020 8968 0501,

Stretching out: Summer is coming, and so is the beach

Stretching out: Summer is coming, and so is the beach

Back to nature on the Isle of Wight

This unusual three-day energiser holiday from Wildfitness combines the joys of natural movement with hunter-gathering, from its base of an English Heritage mansion in 15 acres on the Isle of Wight.

All meals abide by the back-to-basics ‘wild eating’ guidelines: munch on anything that is grown, reared or falls from the tree.

Thankfully, there’s nothing primitive about the in-depth education you’ll receive, on everything from movement and fitness to metabolism. Plenty of information to help you keep up the good work when you get home.

Creature comforts: Massages on-site.

Details: A three-day energiser course starts at £690 per person, including accommodation, meals, transfers, training sessions, activities and workshops. Next course: July 4-7, 020 3286 4886,