No Gym Required: The Outdoor Circuit Workout
To get started, you need to acquire some basic knowledge and simple equipment. First, take a good look around your neighborhood. The best thing to look for is a park in your area (or near your hotel if you are traveling). Look for basketball courts or a jungle gym, and some benches or concrete blocks that you can use for steps. Also, check to see if the park is near any hills that you can jog or walk up. This is an excellent way to get your heart rate pumping—and all it takes is a little time spent getting the lay of the land.
Next, you should think about buying some portable resistance equipment. The best options are the TRX suspension system, or the more affordable JC travel resistance bands. Both of these are almost endlessly versatile pieces of fitness equipment—they can be used just about anywhere, and will pack up in the side pocket of your suitcase.
Now that you've surveyed the neighborhood, pick a spot for your workout—probably a park, baseball field, or playground. But, don't just drive there and get started. Instead, jog to your destination from a point 15 to 20 minutes away. This will help to get your body warmed up and get you amped about doing an outdoor workout. Once you arrive at the spot you've chosen, you will begin your workout—and you'll be mentally and physically ready to go. If you brought your resistance tubes or TRX, set them up. You'll need to get creative for this—you want to make sure you put your bands around a fixed point that won't move when you pull on them. You'll find some great options in many parks, such as the pole for a basketball hoop or the bars of a jungle gym. Either will let you easily adjust the height when you switch up the exercise.
Adjust Your Mentality
Take your mindset out of the gym. In the gym, we tend to think in terms of specific muscle groups. But for this kind of integrated outdoor workout, don't worry about which body parts to focus on. Think instead about committing to the workout as a whole, and you'll manage to hit many of the same goals anyway. Just because you're not inside pumping up your chest doesn't mean that you won't get a good workout, and you may even surprise yourself and get some muscle soreness.
Instead of thinking about muscles, think circuit. For outdoor workouts, your bodyweight will be the only factor of resistance, rather than weights and machines. This means all that set-up and adjustment time will be gone. You are going to be doing more repetitions, and alternating between exercises fairly quickly, with very little rest. It's going to be less about volume than your gym workouts, and more about overall exertion.
Get to Work
An outdoor workout is your opportunity to let loose. You're not locked into the gym, nor to your spreadsheet of weights and reps. Think of this as an opportunity to try new things and get creative about challenging your body. The sample outdoor circuit workout below should take about 50 minutes to complete—remember to get started with a 15- to 20-minute warm-up jog. Use this workout as a template that you can modify with other exercises and cardio types (such as biking) throughout your vacation.
|THE OUTDOOR CIRCUIT WORKOUT|
|WARM-UP: JOG TO STARTING POINT|
|Warm-up Jog||Cardio||15 to 20 minutes||Jog at a moderate pace|
|RESISTANCE WORK 1: SET UP TUBE OR TRX; DO CIRCUIT 4 TIMES IN A ROW|
|Push-ups||Chest, Core||1 per circuit; 4 total||20|
|Tube Rows||Back||1 per circuit; 4 total||20||Use tubes or TRX|
|Prisoner Squats||Legs, Core||1 per circuit; 4 total||20||Keep your hands behind your head as you squat|
|CARDIO 1: 5 MINUTES OF RUNNING|
|Side Shuffle Runs||Cardio||1 minute||Run in a side shuffle so that you lead with the outside of your foot. Do 30 seconds each direction|
|Backwards Jog||Cardio||1 minute||Run backwards. Look over your shoulder!|
|Controlled Forward Jog||Cardio||30 seconds||Jog at a moderate pace|
|Sprint||Cardio||30 seconds||Run as fast as you can|
|Backwards Jog||Cardio||1 minute|
|Side Shuffle Runs||Cardio||1 minute||Do 30 seconds each direction|
|RESISTANCE WORK 2: GO TO BENCH, STAIRS, OR LOW WALL; DO CIRCUIT 4 TIMES IN A ROW|
|Step-ups with Alternating Knees||Legs||1 per circuit; 4 total||20 per leg||Use the step, bench, or wall|
|Triceps Dips||Triceps||1 per circuit; 4 total||20||Use the step, bench, or wall|
|Incline Push-ups||Chest, Shoulders, Core||1 per circuit; 4 total||20||Put your feet up on the steps, bench, or wall|
|CARDIO 2: 5 MINUTES OF RUNNING|
|Repeat Running Circuit 1 Above||Cardio||5 minutes total|
|RESISTANCE WORK 3: RETURN TO TUBE OR TRX; DO CIRCUIT 4 TIMES IN A ROW|
|Walking Lunges||Legs||1 per circuit; 4 total||20 per leg||Put your hands on your head for these.|
|Alternating T Push-ups||Chest, Core||1 per circuit; 4 total||30 seconds|
|Speed Tube Curls||Biceps||1 per circuit; 4 total||1 minute||Use tubes or TRX|
|Tube Rows||Back||1 per circuit; 4 total||1 minute||Use tubes or TRX|
|COOLDOWN: JOG BACK TO STARTING POINT|