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Keywords:

  • fitness;
  • wellbeing;
  • bodies;
  • nature;
  • health

This paper explores the relationship between health, exercise and the body through the lens of fitness holidays. It conceptualises fitness tourism within Foucaudian ideas of the care of the self and bodily discipline, arguing that the holidays and the practices they employ need to be seen as part of the shift in health in which the individual is required to take a more active part in regulating and managing their own health and wellbeing. The paper stresses the relationship between health and beauty, and the importance of appropriately sized and shaped bodies within contemporary ideas of wellbeing. It goes on to show how nature is present in both the kinds of bodies that are seen as healthy, and the spaces and practices used to produce those bodies. Drawing on interviews, client testimonials and publicity material the paper examines the motivations behind the provision and consumption of fitness holidays. It argues that despite a set of novel and ‘transformative’ practices (incorporating strong links between diet, relaxation and exercise and an emphasis on ‘reeducation’), consumption of and satisfaction with the fitness holidays is heavily dependent on conventional outcomes of weight loss and body size reduction.