Monday, June 20, 2011

Do you train? Do you ''park''?

TRX tied to a tree

If you train, you must also ''park'', because well, in most of the world it's summer and there is no excuse to keep your body confined to a gym for all of your workouts. You can ''park'' anywhere, from your backyard or apartment complex playground, to your local or city park, beach, or hiking trail.

Training outdoors is my favorite thing to suggest to clients when spring and summer come around. Here's why:

1. You connect with yourself. You spend quality time outside, away from technology, and that essentially allows you to rest. Electromagnetic waves and neon lights aside, in a standard gym you are subjected to music, computers, television screens, and the sound of treadmills. You hear other people talk. You hear other people's i-pods. If you are a runner, you know what it means to be alone with the road when you can hear just your breath, your steps, the birds, and ultimately, your joy. You don't know how much the gym robs you of your inner peace until you start to ''park'' your workouts.

TRX rows

2. It's a major change of routine. How so? Well, you are not in the gym. Even if you kept your workout structure in terms of exercise selection, you would still be using different tools. You would be using different weights and weight adjustments, different angles of pulling or pushing and even if you just did push ups, well, try some push ups in the grass and then some in the sand and then some on concrete floor, and tell me if it's the same exercise :) We know you will be changing your routine, because training outside also means you can...

power wheel 2

3. ...use tools you don't normally find in a gym, like a power wheel, TRXs, Indian clubs, bands, rings, ropes, and balls. No toys, no problem? You have your body, some natural hills, as much space as you need and endless imagination. You can sprint, roll, do body weight movements, crawl, jump, and do a myriad of walks, from spider man to bear and gorilla, through inchworms, you can literally conquer the whole animal kingdom!

power wheel aligator walks

4. You have all the space you need. Whether you are doing fat loss complexes, getting better at one leg squats or 1 arm pull ups, sprinting, trying to climb a tree with the help of your TRX or having power wheel races with your workout partner, there is space for all of that outdoors. To make it more fun, the surface is not perfectly even, so you get to do some of your regular training in a naturally challenging environment, making you better at reacting in real life situations.

5. You get the benefits of sunlight and fresh air. Remember how important vitamin D is. Essential. Essential means you cannot maintain health without it. It's integral to the endocrine and immune systems and can be protective against many diseases that we face today. If you live in a climate where winter is long and dark, I bet you have at least felt the effects of sunshine on your mood and sense of well being. If you need to get informed about the many benefits of vitamin D, here is where to get some great information!

If you haven't thought about the quality of air conditioned air you breathe inside your gym, please don't, because you may never step foot in there again. I have seen some authors claim that indoor gym air can be as much as 10 times more polluted than the one in a downtown area. Just know the park gives you more oxygen, and exercise where trees and plants are air conditioning for you 24/7. One of the things I like to now is do yoga by myself outside, instead of doing the group class at the gym. My reason? Quality of air and contact with the ground under my feet - both integral to yoga and both missing from a conventional gym.

sitting hamstring stretch

Of course there are levels of parking, and I love all levels! On a low key day I may do some yoga, and if I feel like giving it my all, I will join a bootcamp or do a lot of kettlebell work.

Level 1: walk, or walk faster, or walk uphill, do yoga, breathing and stretching
Level 2: walk, and run, or run uphill, bike, roller blade, skateboard
Level 3: run, sprint, hill sprint
Level 4: take your strength training or fat loss workout to the park
Level 5: get other people involved, or join a boot camp, maybe you will learn how to flip tires or carry other people on your back!

Let me know how you park!


  1. Wonderful article, dear! It reminded me that I've never worked out in open air. Never! Unfortunately, except jogging, walking or skating, you know that here in BG you can rarely see someone making yoga, strength or fat burning workout in the park. Very few people here can be proud of having their own house and backyard. Our apartment complexes playgrounds are only suitable for walking the dog but nothing more for sure. And yes, the local park stays but there you are exposed to the serious danger of getting ticks all over you. How sweet picture of home :)) But I would really like trying working out in a park if I have that chance.

  2. You have the beach there and I know Milena and Victor are doing some awesome work outside. Think of joining them :)

    As for parks in Bg, yes, I have had a tick, even after getting bug spray all over me and wearing long sleeves. One tick in 100 workouts is kind of a slim chance though :)

    You can do so much in the Морска градина, I have trained there many times :) Good times ...

  3. That's a great article Galya! Very energizing and inspiring - full of life, sun and colour! Thank you :). I loved running in the park in the past! Or even just reading or studying, or sitting and thinking. It's very "earthing" to be in such immediate contact with the nature, in whatever activity!

  4. You are more than welcome :)
    Еаrthing and ''grounding'' are very very easy to feel. I get so much out of being barefoot anywhere in nature:)

    You may find this interesting:

  5. Yeah, I've noticed that you like being barefoot in the nature, even in your apartment. That was the first thing I noticed when I saw you for first time and entered your flat in Sofia :))) My sweet girl!

  6. Barefoot is best :) You are at the seaside, no excuse for shoes ;)

  7. I always go to the park to have my workout sessions there. I go jogging most of the time or maybe I'll bring my dumbbells bike with me. I find working out at the park a lot better than at the gym because it just seems fresher and you get a lot more space.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...