Shape-up for Summer: Outdoor Fitness Training
With temperatures gradually rising, and evenings getting longer, what better time is there to change-up your exercise routine and make the most of being outdoors? If you want to see changes in both physical fitness and self-confidence, then outdoor fitness training is the perfect thing to try this summer.
Envisaging a bootcamp-style workout, crawling through mud, whilst an intimidating muscle-man yells at you to drop and give him twenty? I did too – until I tried it with one of the many outdoor fitness providers, and realised that none of this was the case (well, apart from getting muddy – that does happen, but you’ll have the biggest smile on your face when it does). Having just hit my one-year anniversary of outdoor training, I’m the fittest I’ve been in years. My body shape has become noticeably more toned (like Bridget Jones, I was previously convinced my thighs would always be “just a little bit fat”) and I’ve found both a physical strength and mental energy that other exercise classes failed to achieve.
Outdoor training typically combines running and interval training with a series of bodyweight exercises, from press-ups to planking, crunches and much more. This tackles that magic calorie-burning combination of both cardio and muscle-strengthening (including some muscles you’ll probably not realise you had until you start using them! Who knew I had obliques under there…).
Don’t be put off by the bootcamp connotations. The instructors are there to encourage and challenge you – but only in a positive way (this really isn’t Saving Private Ryan). They rely on the team-spirit nature of the sessions to bring out your innate competitiveness, and eradicate any of the cliquey-ness you may have encountered at other group exercise sessions. This is a huge motivator – knowing that everyone around you is pushing outside their comfort zone makes you want to do the same. When that treacherous little voice in your head is telling you to stop, spotting that the well-built, 6’3” guy next to you is struggling too, makes you realise that it’s OK to feel challenged – and this is what makes the real difference to your body shape and strength over time.
Does outdoor training ever get cancelled due to the weather? Err…no, sadly not. But there is something empowering about training in every season – after a long day inside the office, it’s exhilarating to be doing crunches looking up at the stars, or press-ups in front of a rosy sunset.
So take advantage of the long, light evenings and give it a try – here are three options to get you started:
British Military Fitness: the UK’s No.1 provider for outdoor fitness, with 100 groups across the UK running sessions several times a week. Classes start from £32 a month.
One Element: train at 12 parks across South London. Classes start from £35 a month.
UK Outdoor Fitness: based in a number of parks across Leeds. Classes start from £25 a month (if you sign-up for 12 months).