3 Exercises to Work into Your Summer Fitness Plans

It’s that time of year when people start spending more time outdoors and want to look good for the beach, vacations, and special events. It’s motivation for a lot of people to revisit those New Year’s goals and get back on track with a health and fitness plan. But it also presents a different set of challenges. You want to spend more time outdoors than in the gym, how are you going to fit exercise into your schedule?

Eliminate Excuses

As a trainer, I prescribe workouts, demonstrate correct form, and provide nutrition guidelines, as well as deliver motivation and accountability. And even when I’ve done all those things perfectly, clients still come up with excuses for why they can’t work out. With better weather coming, I’m bound to hear excuses such as:

  • I skipped my gym workout because I wanted to be outside.
  • I went to the beach for the weekend and didn’t have a gym nearby.
  • I spent the day at the pool with my kids and didn’t have time to work out.

Guess what? As a trainer, it’s my job to help you eliminate excuses and develop fitness training plans that fit your lifestyle. And these better-weather excuses are great for doing just that. Complement your fitness routine with these three no-equipment exercises that you can literally do anytime, anywhere. If you feel you need a mat, I like this Dual-Grip Yoga Mat Towel.  It can easily be rolled or folded up and takes up very little space in your gym bag.  I also use this towel on top of my traditional yoga mat for hot yoga.  It keeps me from sliding around all over the place!

burpees

1. Burpees

This full-body exercise trains the arms, chest, legs, back, and core muscles. Hustle through a couple sets of burpees, and you’ll burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time, build strength and endurance, and boost your metabolism. You can literally do this exercise just about anywhere: your driveway, the backyard, the park, or at the beach.

Burpee Instructions
Start in a standing position, feet shoulder-width apart with arms at your sides. Squat down, lean forward, and place your hands on the floor. Kick your legs backward, and move into push-up position. Complete one push-up. Kick your feet forward and return to a squatting position. Then push off on your feet, raise your hands over your head, and jump up as high as possible.

Options

  • 3 sets of 10 reps, with 1 minute of rest in between sets
  • As many reps as possible in 1 minute. Then 1 minute of rest. Repeat for 10-20 minutes.
  • Or a one-set finisher to wrap up another workout.

woman-plank-exercise-yoga-outdoors

2. Planks

Here’s another no-excuses exercise you can do anytime, anywhere: planks. This basic bodyweight exercise works the abs and core muscles while strengthening the back. It also engages the glutes and hamstrings and improves posture and balance.

Plank Instructions
Get in a push-up position, with arms extended at about shoulder-width, palms flat on the ground. Extend the legs, keeping only your toes on the ground. Your body should be parallel to the ground. From this position, place your forearms on the ground, palms down. Then hold.

Options

  • For beginners, hold the plank position for 30 seconds. Rest 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat 3-5 times. If a traditional plank is too hard, hold it in push-up position instead of placing the forearms on the ground.
  • For those who are stronger, hold the plank position for 1 minute. Rest 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat 3-5 times.
  • Advance option: Get into plank position. Then lift one leg off the ground. Hold for one minute. Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat, raising the opposite leg.

Bulgarian Split Squats

3. Bulgarian Split Squats

This exercise requires a piece of equipment, but it’s readily found at parks, campgrounds, recreation areas, the beach, and backyards. All you really need is a chair or bench to perform Bulgarian split squats, which strengthen the legs, work core muscles, and improve hip and knee mobility and balance.

Bulgarian Split Squat Instructions
Stand in front of a chair or bench. Take a step forward. Extend one leg backward, placing the top of the foot down on the bench or stool. While balancing on your front leg, squat down, leaning forward slightly and bending at the knee. Make sure your ankle and knee are aligned as you squat; do not push your front knee forward. When your front leg forms a 90-degree angle, push off from the bottom of your foot to return to the starting position. Repeat on opposite leg.

Options

  • For beginners, perform 3 sets of 10 Bulgarian split squats per leg, resting 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.
  • If it’s too easy, hold a weight in front of you as you work through the reps and sets. (A medicine ball works at the gym. Weighted alternatives for an outdoor workout may include a jug of water, picnic basket, heavy rock, or log.)

If you plan to spend more time outdoors during the summer months and still wants to work out, simplify your fitness training plans so you can continue making progress. Performing burpees, planks, and Bulgarian split squats outside is simple, and they help build muscle, increase strength, improve balance and mobility, and elevate metabolism and boost fat loss.


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