today is Sep 27, 2022

iFit Iceland

One of the most popular trainers on the global iFit platform, Johnnie Gale has filmed both walking ... [+] and strength training class series in Iceland. Now he is taking his students there in person for a breathtaking fitness vacation.

Kelly King

During the pandemic the popularity of home gyms exploded, and at times it was virtually impossible to buy top quality stationary bikes and other equipment. But even before COVID-19, technological breakthroughs and new software platforms were driving people out of gyms and fitness studies and into their basements, home offices and living rooms.

Now, in an ironic twist, home fitness technology is getting people out of their homes - for vacations.

In many high-profile cases, such as Peloton and Soul Cycle, the new paradigms took existing in-person classes led by instructors inside brick-and-mortar studios and delivered them digitally to the home. Now that model is being reversed in a dramatic way – at-home fitness classes are transporting participants outdoors, and to some of the most beautiful workout locations on earth.

This time the innovator is well-known equipment manufacturer NordicTrack and its increasingly popular iFit software platform. According to the company there are currently more than 6 million iFit users, and while the subscription-based app is integrated into treadmills, ellipticals, climbers, rowers, bikes and strength training mirrors from NordicTrack (as well as other brands under the corporate umbrella, including ProForm and Freemotion) it can be used with any brand of home equipment. Or for things like strength training, yoga and Pilates, with no little or no equipment at all.

iFit Adventures Bryce Canon Utah

If you use the iFit platform for treadmill, you may have tried Casey Gilbert's virtual trail ... [+] workouts in Utah's National Parks. Now he is taking students there in real life.


Besides the sheer breadth of types of workouts and equipment that iFit offers classes and training programs for, the big differentiator is that a lot of its content is not classes at all. While competitors have focused on recreating the studio group experience through the tablet, iFit has long focused on bringing the outdoors in. This is accomplished with first-person, on location travel workouts led by trainers, featuring very high-quality production values. Examples are hiking, trail running and mountain biking behind the instructor on famous trails or road biking the most desirable routes around the world, even walking through exotic cities. You can also virtually run the Boston marathon and other famous races.

WIRED Magazine described the technology this way in a review: “The iFit bike workouts on the Nordic Track S22i are super fun. You don’t often get to pedal crazily behind a world-class mountain biker as she…takes jumps in one of the best mountain bike parks in the world.”

I have personally used the iFit platform to preview places I’m going, doing hikes in Big Sky, Montana and Zermatt, Switzerland before visiting these trails in person.

Now that many of the iFit trainers who lead these activities around the world have developed followings, the company has capitalized on it in a way that opens a new frontier in fitness and travel, with live fitness vacations led by its previously “virtual” trainers.

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The first iteration of this was the iFIT Retreats program, which launched last year with sessions held at the CIVANA Wellness Resort Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona (ranked the #4 U.S. Destination Spa by Travel + Leisure magazine). The luxury retreats are all-inclusive and jointly led by iFIT’s trainers and CIVANA’s expert Wellness Guides. According to the company, “iFIT Members will have the unique opportunity to step out from behind the screen to connect with their favorite trainers in real life and discover new ways to take control of their individual wellness, renew their mindset and break away from the stress of everyday life.”

The inaugural iFit Retreat was last November, with three sessions this year, coming up soon. The March date sold out but there is still space for April 14-17 and May 15-18. Each is a four-day, three-night experience ($3,995) led by a top iFIT trainer and open to all fitness levels. Rates include all accommodations, meals, beverages, fitness classes, and wellness activities with specially designed itineraries for the program. Guests will learn the nutrition habits of their iFIT trainer host and receive a customized nutrition plan after a one-on-one consultation with a registered dietician. Each guest will enjoy a 60-minute spa massage treatment along with time at the spa’s signature Aqua Therapy Circuit, consisting of hot and cold pools and waterfall shower. Assorted iFIT gifts, hydration kits, cookbooks and other keepsakes are also included.

iFit John Peel french Alps

iFit trainer John Peel is popular for his strength training and hiking classes, and is leading a ... [+] group hiking trip to the French Alps.


But this year the company took travel up a notch with the new program featuring a slate of iFIT Adventures , trips to breathtaking locales around the world based on their most popular iFIT platform workouts These run 4-13 days across variety of settings and challenges, from America’s spectacular national parks to the French Alps and tougher high-altitude expeditions to the summit of Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp in Nepal. The novel concept is an in-person, real life version of workouts members may have already virtually hiked, rowed, ran, or cycled.

“As a natural next step in the iFIT ecosystem, we’re pulling back the digital curtain and opening the door to in-person adventures with an iFIT edge,” said Mark Watterson, President and Chief Experience Officer at iFIT. “Now, with iFIT Adventures, we’ve expanded our platform to bring destination workouts to our community, both on and off screen.”

The first adventure will take place on May 5-8, 2022, with a four-day, three-night hiking trip led by iFIT trainer Casey Gilbert to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah. Attendees will experience guided hikes, restorative sunrise yoga and meditation sessions, daily chef-prepared meals and accommodations at a private luxury ‘Glamp Camp’ created especially for the trip.

Most trips feature hiking, but some also include yoga, stand up paddleboarding, snorkeling, cycling and lots of group fitness classes. The rest of the schedule includes:

Costa Rica (May 18-22)

The French Alps (July 15-20)

Iceland (August 15-21)

Mount Kilimanjaro (September 15-21)

Everest Base Camp (November 1-13)

All-inclusive packages (except air) range from $3,995 to $8,995, varying by location, with all activities, ground transportation, lodging, food, beverages, and any specialty equipment needed.