How to Take Your Fitness Routine Outdoors
Ever feel like a hamster stuck on a wheel while you're hitting the treadmill? Or maybe you're fed up with hearing the jacked-up guy next to you groaning while he's lifting an ungodly amount of weight? We feel you. The gym isn't for everyone!
A lot of people give up on getting in shape because they feel like the gym is their only option, but that just isn't true. We might be a little biased because we are a southern California sports nutrition company and the weather here never gets all that bad, but taking your workout outdoors can be a huge breath of fresh air (literally!).
Before you venture out into the wild (or hit the city streets), check out these tips on how to make the most of an outdoor workout.
1. Canvas your area by doing research ahead of time
Before you head outside, explore your options for outdoor exercise. Many local parks will have permanent fitness stations installed where you can do bar exercises, sit-ups and more. Compile a list of local hiking trails that are well-suited to your fitness levels, or look for maintained bike paths that will be feasible to navigate. If you live in a cold-weather climate, explore options like skiing, ice hockey, pulling sleds, or even organize a team snowball fight!
2. Take advantage of unconventional fixtures for exercise
When you exercise outdoors, the world is your playground! A park bench or picnic table can be a great place to do box jumps, push-ups and plyometrics. Check out this article for some great tips. Use stairs and ledges for high intensity interval training bursts, or find safe spots to climb up rocks or through forest terrain. You can also bring light, convenient equipment with you such as a jump rope or resistance bands to amp up your cardio or add in some some strength training!
3. Bring your protein shake or recovery snack with you
The same rules apply for indoor and outdoor workouts: stay hydrated, and have healthy recovery calories on hand for when you've finished. Before you leave the house, measure out a scoop of a smooth-blending protein powder into a shaker bottle and keep it somewhere handy such as in a backpack or your car. Just add in water and shake it up when you're through with your workout. This trick makes it easy to get clean, pure protein needed to leverage the benefits of all your hard work out and build the muscle you worked for!
4. Take safety precautions
We've already said this, but hydration is critical for outdoor workouts, as is sunscreen! It's also a good idea to make sure that the path you're taking is well-lit, in a safe area, and that you can place an emergency cell phone call if necessary. If you're venturing out into nature, check out this checklist by REI to make sure you're bringing the correct gear.
Cold weather can bring additional concerns- make sure you layer appropriately, know the symptoms of hypothermia, and check your weather report for heading out.
5. Track your progress with an app or a fitbit
Tracking how many calories you've torched outside isn't as straightforward as your standard gym cardio exercises, so if you're closely monitoring what you've burned, using a Fitbit or a pedometer app will help give you a rough estimate of what you've accomplished. Sites like MyFitnessPal have comprehensive databases that allow you to calculate the amount of calories that outdoor activities burn based on the amount of time you've worked out!
6. Invite a friend or join up with a group that has similar fitness goals
Perhaps the best perk of outdoor exercise is that it's much more conducive to bringing someone along. Check your local Facebook groups for people with similar fitness interests, join a site like Meetup to meet other people in your area, or instead of asking your friends to coffee, ask them to go on a walk with you instead. Better yet, bring your furry friend along (you can try taking your cat on a walk, but no guarantees for a fun time there).
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