If you are doing our 30 day fitness program you will know all the exercises were chosen specifically so that they can be done in the privacy of your own home and without the need to join a gym but there’s no reason why you can’t start outdoor training, especially if room is tight indoors or there are family distractions.
It’s a fact that gyms are not a comfortable place to be when you are out of shape. It won’t be long before some of them are vetting membership applications by insisting they bench press x amount before being allowed to join! Whilst having members pumping huge amounts of steroid enduced weights will help attract a certain type of clientele, average Joe looking to stay in shape is not going to be one of them.
I love training outdoors and as a personal trainer I tell all my private clients that there is no reason to join a gym unless your goal is massive muscle definition and even if that is your ultimate ambition, first you need to get into shape and where better to do that than out in the fresh air away from family and TV distractions?
What’s the first thing in your head when you think of going outdoors totrain? Most think exercising in their local park means going for a jog and jogging is boring. In reality though you can do a total exercise regime in your park without the need for any equipment apart from some suitable clothing.
Whilst it’s true jogging can be quite boring its popular for a reason – it works. It will burn off the weight, work your heart and improve your stamina. A tip I recommend is to plan your route before hand and then time yourself each run and aim to improve on it each time you go. This gives you a target to aim at and keeps it interesting.
Of course, you won’t beat it everytime and you don’t need to but as long as you are seeing improvement you will be motivated to keep going. Being able to measure results, whether it be time, weight or waist size is essential to losing weight and getting fit otherwise human nature kicks in and we lose interest.
As part of your outdoor training routine try adding one or two of these to your workout. Start off by doing just a few reps as part of your warm up routine. If you have done or are close to completing our 30 Days to a Better Body program you will want to add all 3 as part of your workout. A ranch style fence or short wall will do just as well if you aren’t training in the park.
The Park Bench Press-up
A standard press up but made harder because of the raised legs. Start with your arms straight and slowly lower your face to the ground keeping back and legs straight. Once down, hold for 2 seconds then poerfully come back up, hold and repeat.
The Park Bench Bulgarian Split Squat
Tougher than it looks and ideal as a warm up and stretching exercise before your run. Plant one foot in front of you and your other behind you on the bench. Balance and hold then lower yourself until your front thigh is parallel to the ground.
The Park Bench Triceps Dip
Bend your elbows to lower yourself down until sat on the floor then push back up and repeat.
Training outdoors can remove the monotony of your exercise routine. There is something invigorating about it that beats hands down the confines of training at home or the smell of jocks pumping iron down at the gym.
If you are lucky enough to live on the coast then even better is a warm up using the exercises shown above followed by a run down the beach or promenade and then a dip in the sea.
Open Water Swimming
Swimming works all your muscles and is a great way to get fit but swimming up and down a lane at your local pool endless times might be ok for Ian Thorpe but can get boring for the rest of us.
Swimming in the sea or a lake takes away the boredom and makes it a much more interesting way of doing your outdoor training. Obviously you need to put safety first which means you can’t go alone but having someone to swim with just makes it more of a workout as you can add a little competitiveness to the swim.
Open water racing is becoming extremely popular world wide as the inland waterways and seas are being cleaned up so if you find you take to it like a duck takes to water you will find plenty of competions to enter to test your progess.
Before jumping (or diving) in though its best to check the water you plan to swim in is safe to do so and if it is the sea you will be swimming in check for any strong local currents and tides. You can find information on open water swimming at The Outdoor Swimming Society and The US Open Water Swimming website.
A Few Final Thoughts
While a cold, frosty morning might not look tempting I much prefer it to a hot sunny one. The ideal weather conditions for outdoor training is low to moderate humidity, a slight chill in the air and a little breeze to help keep you cool. Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air and the more there is, the less oxygen we get per gulp so the harder it is to exercise.
During the Summer try to get out early morning before it gets too hot. Invest in some polorized sports sunglasses so you can see where you are going and hopefully avoid any dog crap when running in the park. A good Sun block and cap are also essential.
For open swimming you are going to want nice warm days but wear a hat to keep the Sun off your head and preferrably a bright colored one so the day boaters and jet ski riders that come out with the Sun can see you.
Whatever you do for your outdoor training routine just make sure you enjoy and appreciate it. Soak up your surroundings, admire the view, breathe in the air. When the going gets tough ask yourself where would you rather be, outdoor training for free or on a treadmill in a gym surrounded by grunting Jocks and paying for the privilege?