Dressing for the Seasons

outdoor fitness

Spring and summer can be tough times to workout outside. Not because it’s difficult to work out, but a lot of people don’t know what to wear when the seasons are changing. In the summer it’s easy. Shorts and T-shirts will do the trick just fine. Same in the winter, sweats and a medium jacket will keep you comfortable even through the most strenuous exercises.

What about the in between times? In the spring and summer it can be cool in the morning, but then turn around and be hot in the afternoon. So most people under dress or over dress for their outdoor workouts. It is really simple to figure out what to wear. First of all, just check the current temperature outside. If you’re going to work out and it is 72°, you know that shorts or light sweats will be perfect.

weather forecast

The key thing if you are going to be working out later in the day, is to check the hourly weather forecast to see what it will be at your workout time. And then of course, plan appropriately. People usually fall into two categories; either they think that it is going to be warm when it is not, or they think it’s going to be cooler and they over dress.

Going out when it is too cool can cause your muscles to contract and make it more difficult to work out properly. Plus the fact that if your muscles are properly warmed, you risk injury if you’re not careful. On the opposite spectrum, if you go out when it is hot and are overdressed, you could lose too many bodily fluids which can cause dehydration. Since most people won’t remove layers during their exercise, this could cause them to lose extra electrolytes and sodium that their body needs.

It’s all pretty psychological. If it is May, then people assume it is going to be warm when in fact a cold front can make the temperature dip into the 40s. As well as, if it had been a cool spring and people plan to bundle up while exercising outdoors, a sudden warm day could cause them to overheats and lose necessary fluids.

So once again, it is really simple. Check the hourly weather forecast in your area, and see what the temperature is going to be when you plan to work out. And then dress accordingly. Don’t hamper your outdoor exercise by not planning properly.

dress for the season

Working Out with a Purpose

workout in park

Take a break from my usual work out stories, and talk about people who work out to help them with their jobs. A friend of mine runs a cross training class in the park near my house. He asked for my help for some of his lessons, because he had torn his hamstring and was limited for a few months. Of course I agreed, and enthusiastically jumped right in.

Most of the people there were working out to look better or feel better, which is the normal reason people exercise. But I stumbled upon of group who were there to get stronger and faster for their jobs!! I thought that was so amazing!! Most people hate their jobs, and dread going to work every day. Here were some folks who took it to the other extreme. They worked out to be better at their jobs. That was a new level of dedication that I have not yet seen. One gentleman was a landscaper, another was a carpenter, and there were several construction workers as well.

construction crew

They wanted to get bigger and stronger so they could perform better on the job. I would love to own a company, because I would have hired all of these people. I feel that certain jobs should require their employees to maintain a certain level of fitness to make sure production was at its best. Unfortunately, no companies enforce this type of policy, and that is a shame.

I met one guy who had long hair and a long beard, and I asked him what he did for a living. He was a drum instructor who taught drum lessons for beginners. His name was Jon, and he had a website called Jonkois.rocks. He explained to me that playing the drums for hours at a show was hard enough, but when he had to do hours and hours of drum lessons on top of that, it became really challenging. So his answer was to work out more and get stronger and healthier. He was not doing it to impress the chicks, or to become bigger. His goal in exercising was to be better at his craft, and provide a better service to his students. I thought that was fantastic.

When you do something in your own time to make yourself a better businessperson, leader, or entrepreneur that raises the level of your integrity. The people in that class were warmer, friendlier, happier, and just had a glow about them because they were there for a purpose. When you act out of purpose with a desire to be a better person for yourself and the people around you, that speaks volumes about your character.

The Mall is Not Just for Shopping

mall snow

When I think of winter outdoor workouts, the shopping mall comes to mind. I know that may seem funny to some of you, but here’s what it means to me. I live near a very large mall with lots of department stores, movie theaters, and restaurants. It’s huge. Whenever we get a big snowfall, they plow all of the parking lots and pile the snow in huge mounds around the perimeter of the mall. It is literally about 2 miles of mini mountains waiting to be conquered.

These Mount Everest’s provide the perfect ground for some serious cross training. I start by running one lap around the entire mall going up one mound, and down the other side. For this exercise I allow myself to use my hands for traction, because it can be quite slippery. It is a good idea for excursions such as these two wear thick gloves and even knee pads. The winter chill slowly fades is I start to sweat from my routine. After my lap, I allow myself to rest for about five minutes before moving onto the next set.

For my next exercise, I do decline push-ups with my feet on top a big pile of snow. I performed 10 sets to exhaustion and then stop for another five minute rest. The next exercise I got from a movie. I don’t remember the name, but there were gladiators competing in rock throwing. Not small rocks, but the big ones. So I do the same thing, but with huge mounds of snow. I make a bowling ball size roll, and throw it is far as I can. I push upwards and outwards, so I’m getting exercise to my chest and shoulders.

After 10 sets of those and a five minute rest, I prepare for the next challenge. I take the same ball I used in the previous exercise, place it on the ground, and roll it until it gets bigger and bigger. When it becomes too big for me to move then the exercise is over. To finish up the day, I take the same path that I started in the beginning, but this time I just walk. My legs are so tired at this point, but I keep pushing forward.

food court

Once again, I have gotten a complete workout without spending a dime. Nature has become my playground, and it is as tough as any gym I have ever been to. My routine after this worked out is to go to the mall food court, and get a protein smoothie. I sit back in my chair while I finish my drink and watch the people just wandering aimlessly around the mall. I am so glad I had the desire to make myself fit and healthy and enjoy every environment that I am in.

The World is my Gym

gym

While anyone can get fit in the gym, I enjoy doing my training outdoors. Lots of room to move, fresh air, and more of a variety of activities to be involved in. No matter what your sport, you can train for it in the outdoors. And the best part of all, being outdoors is free. No monthly dues, no towel fees, and no add on services. Just you and nature as God intended.

I am a triathlete, so luckily all of my training happens outdoors anyway. But aside from the regular biking, swimming, and running, I can also do my strength training exercises and other forms of cardio. One of my favorite things to utilize is a children’s jungle gym. There is more training in that realm than in any gym I could imagine. My favorite thing to do is to get there predawn, and give myself a thorough work out before school starts.

jungle gym

I start with upper body cross training. I will do a round of pull-ups on the cross over bars, followed by a set of decline push-ups with my feet on top of a bench, and top that off with dips on the parallel bars. After about 10 sets of each of these my muscles are already tired. Then I switch to a upside down hanging position, where I do sit ups while hanging from those same parallel bars. After about 30 seconds rest I do the same sit ups but cross over and touch my knees with the opposite elbow.


Next I go over to the tires, and run through the tire maze over and over with 30 seconds rest between each set. I then give myself two minutes of rest before I started this whole routine over again. I keep up this pace for 30 minutes, followed by a five minute cool down. So in 30 minutes, I have exercised my entire body to the point where my muscles are shaking. Now let me tally the cost of this work out. Zero. That is awesome.

After a day or so of rest, I returned to my regular training on the bike, in the lake, or running the open roads. Then the following week, I will return to the jungle gym once again to torture myself for another 30 minutes.

So as you can see, all of my workouts take place outside in the fresh air, and don’t cost me a dime. You don’t have to wait for a machine to open up, for fresh towels to be brought out, or for them to refill the water cooler. You just can’t beat it. So if you have a cross training routine, consider taking it outside and enjoy life as nature intended.