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Easy Exercises for Teens

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Finding it hard to fit in fitness? Just getting through a day of school and after-school commitments can leave most of us wondering where to find time.

Experts recommend that teens do 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. Most of that should be moderate to vigorous

activity. Aerobic activity is anything that gets your heart going — like biking, dancing, or running. Then take a few minutes for some strength training. Exercises like the ones below help build muscle and boost metabolism. Flexibility is the third component of well-rounded exercise. Check out yoga as one way to stay flexible.

You can do these three strength-building exercises at home. There’s no need for special equipment, expensive gym fees, or lots of time. Just check with your doctor, PE teacher, or coach first to be sure these exercises are OK for you.

Sit Backs: Step 1

  • Sit on floor, legs bent
  • Arms straight in front

Sit Backs: Step 2

  • Lean back gradually
  • Keep arms straight and tummy tight
  • Take it as far back as comfortable
  • Slowly return to sitting position
  • Repeat

Chair Squats: Step 1

  • Stand tall
  • Chair behind you

Chair Squats: Step 2

  • Arms straight in front
  • Slowly start to sit down
  • Stop before your butt hits the chair
  • Slowly straighten to standing
  • Repeat

Butterfly Breath: Step 1

  • Stand tall
  • Feet hip width apart
  • Arms lifted out to the sides

Butterfly Breath: Step 2

  • Exhaling, lift right knee and touch it with left elbow
  • Inhaling, return to position one
  • Switch sides and repeat

About Sets and Reps

Most fitness instructors recommend repeating a particular strength training exercise several times in a row. These are known as repetitions, or “reps,” and they’re done in “sets.” Each set consists of a specific number of reps, usually between 8 and 15. Fitness instructors often recommend that people rest after one set and then perform another set (or more) of the same number of reps. For the exercises shown above, start with 10 reps, adding sets of 10 as you get comfortable. Rest for 30 seconds between sets.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD Date reviewed: June 2018

Physical Activity Guidelines for School-Aged Children and Adolescents

It is important to provide young people opportunities and encouragement to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety. Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.

    • Aerobic: Most of the 60 minutes or more per day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity on at least 3 days a week.
    • Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days a week.
    • Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days a week.

See Chapter 3 of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd editionexternal icon.

The best parts about warm temps: Saying byeee to the gym.

Working out outdoors comes with perks no gym can offer: It’s prettier, for sure; it’s free; and you’ll get your daily dose of vitamin D while you’re sweating your ass off.

Still, flinging yourself around in the grass can be awkward if you’ve got no clue what you’re doing.

So Elise Young, an NCSF-certified trainer based in New York City, put together three outdoor workouts for everyone from beginners to cardio bunnies to toning fanatics.

Outdoor Workout for Beginners

Together, these four exercises are quick, effective, and great for beginners.

Time: 10-15 minutes

Equipment: None

Good for: Total-body toning, beginners

Instructions: Perform each move for the number of reps indicated, then take a brief rest before repeating the whole circuit for a total of two or three rounds. Add this circuit into your workout routine two to three times per week.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Bodyweight squat

How to: Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your chest up, lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees, clasping your hands in front of your body (a). Pause, then slowly push yourself back to the starting position, swinging your arms down and behind you as you propel yourself back up (b). That’s one rep. Do 12 reps.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Plank chest tap

How to: Begin in plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width and legs extended. Keeping spine neutral, bring right hand to tap left shoulder. Return hand to floor, then bring left hand to right shoulder. Continue alternating to perform eight to 10 taps on each side.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Reverse Lunge

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips, chest up, and shoulders back. Keeping your upper body still and core tight, take a large step back with your right foot, then bend both knees to lower into a lunge. Press through your left heel to return to standing. Repeat, stepping back with your left foot. That’s one rep. Continue alternating to perform eight to 10 reps on each side.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Seated twist

How to: Sit on the floor, hands clasped in front of your torso; lean back and raise your feet a few inches off the floor, keeping your core tight and knees bent. Rotate your shoulders and torso to one side. Pause, then rotate back to center and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Do 20 total.

Outdoor Cardio Workout

There’s no need to log miles for a cardio workout outdoors; these four exercises will get your heart rate right up.

Time: 12-16 minutes

Equipment: None

Good for: Cardio

Instructions: Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Rest for 30 seconds at the end of each round of four exercises. Repeat for a total of four to five rounds. Do this workout two to three times a week.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Jump squat

How to: Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly out. Keeping your chest upright and core tight, bend your knees and sit your hips back, clasping hands in front of chest (a). Press through your heels to jump as high as you can off the ground, swinging your arms behind you (b). That’s one rep. Land softly and immediately lower into your next squat.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Pushup to mountain climber

How to: Start in a plank position. Perform one pushup, moving your body in a straight line. Once you reach the top of your pushup, follow it with two quick mountain climbers (bring left knee in toward chest; return to start, switch legs and repeat on the other side), keeping hips and spine in a neutral position. Repeat.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Hop lunge

How to: Step your right foot forward and bend both knees to 90 degrees, keeping your chest upright and core tight. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees, raising your left fist toward the ceiling and lowering your right fist toward the floor. Jump as high as you can, switching your arm and leg positions in midair and landing in another lunge. That’s one rep. Continue quickly alternating.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Kick through

How to: Start in a tabletop position; hover your knees an inch or so off the ground (a). Lift your left leg and thread it under the right, keeping leg straight, tapping right foot to the ground. At the same time, lift right arm, so body comes into reverse tabletop, dropping your hips to nearly tap the floor (b). Return to start, then repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternating.

Outdoor Bodyweight Circuit

An outdoor bench can take strength moves to the next level by distributing your bodyweight differently, making your muscles work harder.

Time: 20-25 minutes

Equipment: None

Good for: Total-body toning

Instructions: Perform each move for the number of reps indicated, then take a brief rest before repeating the whole circuit for or total of three or four rounds. Add this circuit into your workout routine two to three times per week.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Straight-arm decline plank

How to: Get into plank position, with your hands underneath your shoulders, and place your feet on a box or bench. Keep arms extended and hold the position for 30 seconds. To make it harder, drive your right knee up toward your elbow, pause, then return to start before repeating on the opposite side.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Step up with knee drive

How to: Stand in front of a step or bench and place your left foot on the step. Pumping your arms, push your body up until your left leg is straight and drive your right knee toward your chest, then return to start. That’s one rep. Repeat with the right leg, and continue alternating. To make it harder, add a hop at the top of your knee drive. Do 12 to 15 reps on each side.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Bench dips with toe touch

How to: Sit on the edge of a bench and place your palms face down next to your thighs, fingers gripping the edge. Place your feet on the floor in front of you, knees bent at 90 degrees. Keeping your arms straight, scoot forward until your hips and butt are in front of the bench. Bend your elbows and lower your hips until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. As you push back up, extend your right foot, lifting your left arm to tap your toes. Lower hand and foot, then repeat on the other side. Continue alternating to do 15 reps on each side.

Courtesy of Elise Young

Split squat

How to: Stand with your back facing a bench that’s two to three feet behind you, hands on hips. Swing your right leg back and place the top of your foot on the bench. Keeping your abs tight and your back straight and tall, raise hands to cradle head, and bend left leg and lower your hips toward the floor until your front thigh is parallel to the ground (a). Press back to the starting position (b). That’s one rep. Complete 12 to 15 reps, then switch legs.

Ashley Mateo Ashley Mateo is a writer, editor, and UESCA-certified running coach who has contributed to Runner’s World, Bicycling, Women’s Health, Health, Shape, Self, and more.

The weather has turned and the temperature is rising so it’s time to get outside and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors.

I became a fan of Fittest Travel because I believe the world is our playground. With a little creativity and motivation, it’s possible to workout ANYWHERE!

Read on for tips and example workouts you can do anywhere you go without equipment.

First and foremost, ensure you are being safe. Whether you’re traveling in a new city or at a local park in your hometown, always put your safety first.

We’re big fans of the Little Viper, the world’s first and only fashionable, pepper spray, self-defense bracelet. The product is lightweight, about the size of your average fitness tracker, and airplane-safe, so it can travel with you anywhere. We rave about it on this blog post from March.

The easiest way to protect yourself is to be aware of your surroundings. Pumping up the jams is the best way to motivate yourself and get into the groove before sweating it out.

If you’re like me, your go-to is plugging in your headphones and escaping everyday life. However, when you’re running a few miles or working out in a park, having your music up loud with headphones that block sound may cause you to be aloof. I suggest only having one headphone in so you’re constantly aware of the new surroundings you’re exploring.

Usually when you’re without a gym or working out on the go, you’re limited on time and resources. We highly suggest doing movements that are FUN and enjoyable to you. Who cares if you’ve done lunges two days in a row, you’re doing something. And something is better than nothing.

We’re going to breakdown some outdoor workout ideas for beginners with no equipment based on locations you’ll have access to anywhere you go.

Parking Lots

Find a larger parking lot that has lots of empty spaces and isn’t busy with bustling cars coming in and out. Parking lots provide a few benefits including flat surfaces, a large open space and painted lines.

The only equipment you’ll need is a towel to protect your hands from the concrete (bring your own or borrow from the hotel).

Example workout

Perform five rounds of the following:

  • 2x – Run down 10 parking spots and back.

  • 1x – Side shuffle down 8 spots and back then face opposite way and repeat.

  • Lunge down 6 spots and back.

  • 4 Slow Motion Push-Ups

  • 20 Sit-Ups

Driveways

You may be visiting a friend or relatives house that is almost guaranteed to have a driveway. A lot of what you can do in a parking lot, you can do in a driveway too.

Take advantage of the slant to make movements harder by working out uphill. You can also add more cardio on your driveway workout by running down 10 or so houses and back.

Take a look around your hosts garage too, maybe you’ll find something like a basketball (turn that into a wall ball) to assist your workout! Again, the only equipment you’ll need is a towel to protect yourself from the concrete.

As many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes:

  • 4x – Jog backwards down driveway, sprint up.

  • 30-Second plank hold

  • 2x – Lunge down and back up

  • 20 Air Squats

  • 10 Flutter Kicks

  • 5 Burpees

Public Parks

This is where the world really becomes our playground! Just about any major city or local suburb will have a public park within reach. Parks offer many opportunities to get a sweat in including benches, grassy spaces, walking routes and playground pieces.

Finding a local park is a great way to get to know your city or exploring an area you’re traveling in. If you happen to find a badass park like Freeway Park in Seattle, the workout options are endless (check out my workout at Freeway Park here).

We’re going to break this down a little differently since every park is different, we’ll let you create the workout using our movement guides with the tools you’ll have access to.

Park Bench Workout

  • Tricep Dips

  • Push-Ups – Hands on bench, feet on ground (beginner), feet on bench, hands on ground.

Advanced

  • Box Jumps onto Bench Seat – Two feet (beginner), single leg (advanced).

  • Burpee Box Jumps – Perform a burpee in front of the bench and end by jumping onto seat.

  • Lunges – Facing bench with lead leg up, facing away from bench with back leg up.

  • Calf Raises – Using bench for balance (easy), without holding onto bench (medium), standing on bench with heels passing below edge of seat (advanced).

Outdoor Workouts Without Equipment

It’s that time of year when springtime reinvigorates clients and participants, coaxing them to come out of hibernation and play. Why not leave the fluorescent lights behind and take class outside? Parks, fields, even parking lots are great places to lead outdoor workouts. There are options for everyone—and you don’t have to lug around a bunch of equipment, either. Maximize your time and space by incorporating simple, effective body-weight exercises that improve strength, speed, power and flexibility.

Take the Initiative

For those who live in consistently warm and relatively dry communities, taking classes outside is nearly a year-round option. In other parts of the country, late spring, summer and early fall are ideal for scheduling outdoor fitness classes. Work with your program director to find community-based outdoor locations, including local parks and recreation areas. A bonus: You will expose facility members to outdoor fun and fitness options for the entire family.

Check out your parks and recreation website or look for open spaces that offer a place for safe movement. Scout and explore the area before you take your class on location. Check for paved or gravel pathways, stairs, benches, playground equipment, courts, fields, curbs, walls, and fences. Ensure you have the legal right to be on that site. Some communities require a permit to hold fitness classes in parks and public spaces, so check with your local municipality and be sure you understand the rules and guidelines. Additionally, make certain that your liability insurance is up to date and that it covers workouts and exercise classes outside of the fitness studio location.

No-Equipment Outdoor Workout Guidelines

Take your fitness classes outside for a no-equipment workout.

Although this workout requires no equipment, having a few items on hand will make it easier for participants to understand the expectations and follow along with minimal confusion. These tools will also help you, the coach, to stay focused, on task and in control of the group.

Colored cones are useful for marking off a work area. Inexpensive and portable, they can indicate movement boundaries. A stopwatch allows for accurate drill timing, and a whistle is handy for signaling exercise switches, start and stop expectations for cardio drills, and class duration.

Movement Terms

To help attendees grasp what’s expected of them, use consistent terminology for drills and exercises.

BASIC DRILLS

  • Movements are easy to follow.
  • Each participant performs them at his or her own pace within the time frame.
  • The exercises can be partner-based, team-based or performed individually.

PACERÔÇôPARTNER CHALLENGES

  • One person is the “pacer” and the other the “partner.”
  • The pacer sets the timing for the movement block.
  • The partner keeps going until the pacer has completed the assigned activity, and then they switch places.
  • Both partner and pacer keep moving through the assigned drills. The pacer takes the lead (sets the pace) on the switches until time is called.

GROUP CHALLENGES

  • Everyone is tasked with the same activity.
  • The challenges are timed.
  • The bouts are typically short bursts of high-intensity activities.

No-Equipment Outdoor Workout Sampler

Refer to the following examples to create safe, effective and consistent fitness experiences in the outdoor environment. This format is easy to replicate and can be adjusted based on participants’ needs and the space available.

WARMUP (5–10 MINUTES)

Form lines and perform these drills in 30- to 60-second intervals:

  • high knees, walking
  • high knees, jogging
  • front crawl
  • lateral shuffle (R and L)
  • quadruped bird dog
  • forearm plank

ROUND ONE: BASIC DRILL (5 MINUTES)

  • Power walk, jog or run on walking trail or path (use cones to mark start and end points or to create a “track” if there isn’t one).
  • Perform squat jack 10x and lateral skater 20x.
  • Goal: 2 rounds. Continue to work, repeating all drills until time is called.

ROUND TWO: PACER–PARTNER CHALLENGE (5 MINUTES)

Pacer

  • Do forearm side-plank leg lift 10x each side.
  • Perform body-weight bridge 20x.

Partner

  • Do burpees (vertical jump and pushup are optional) (pacer sets time).
  • Goal: 2 rounds.

The pacer completes all reps and then switches with the partner when complete. Pacer and partner continue to switch until time is called.

ROUND THREE: PACER–PARTNER CHALLENGE (10 MINUTES)

Pacer

  • Do walking lunges to cone, then back again.

Partner

  • Perform jumping jack 20x, situp 10x and pushup 5x.
  • Goal: 2 rounds.
  • The pacer completes the entire distance and then switches with the partner when complete. Pacer and partner continue to switch until time is called.

ROUND FOUR: GROUP CHALLENGE (3 MINUTES)

Do plank jack 50x and frogger (deep squat jump with fingertips touching ground between jumps) 50x. Anyone who finishes before time is called is rewarded with extra rest and encouraged to cheer on the others as they complete the challenge.

For cooldown, best practices and coaching tips, see “No-Equipment Outdoor Workouts” in the online IDEA Library or in the April 2019 print edition of Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.

30 Minute Workout Programs for Busy Clients

Here’s a quick 30-minute workout that will get clients on the road to fitness!

The biggest excuse people give for not working out is, “I don’t have time!” Of course, as a fitness professional, you know that time is not a viable excuse. We have to make time to keep our bodies healthy. People are busier than ever today, and to be honest, fitness is not a priority in most people’s lives. As fitness professionals, we have to educate people on the benefits of exercise and teach them how they can maximize their overall health in a minimum amount of time.

Limited time does not have to mean a limited workout. In 30 minutes we can get a client’s heart rate up and take them through at least two circuits of core, balance, reactive, and strength training. Here’s how:

  • Have your client foam roll (self-myofascial release) “hot spots.” These are the areas where you noticed imbalances when you assessed your client. This should take five minutes.
  • Next, move your client to the elliptical trainer, if you have one available. Keep them in good posture and ask them to draw-in and count out loud to 10, 20, or 30, depending on their ability. This will get them to start warming up their stabilizing mechanisms. The elliptical is a great machine to help warm up your client because it forces the client to use their glutes to pull them into hip extension, as opposed to the treadmill which pulls the client into hip flexion. The cardio warm-up is a great way to target and train numerous areas in a quick five minutes. If you do not have an elliptical machine available – don’t worry! The treadmill still works to get your client warmed up and ready to go.
  • Train core and balance exercises in a circuit. For example, start with planks (regress and progress appropriately for your clients), then move to a single-leg balance with reach. Do 12 repetitions for core and 10 repetitions for balance. This portion should last around seven minutes. When you are done with this circuit, let your client rest 30 seconds and move on to resistance training.
  • For the reactive and resistance-training portion of the program, you’ll want to do another circuit. Remember that increasing a client’s heart rate and keeping it there will be beneficial for their cardiovascular health, as well as help burn more calories during the session. Your strength circuit should include chest, back, shoulders, and legs. The biceps and triceps are worked in various exercises, so depending upon your client’s goals, we’ll skip those exercises in the short workouts.
  • Cool your client down with flexibility. We suggest using static stretches to help restore proper length-tension relationships in the tissues and avoid future muscle imbalances.

Whether your client is a beginner, an intermediate exerciser, or an advanced fitness enthusiast, we can fit any workout into 30 minutes. Here are examples of each:

BEGINNER
Body Part Exercise Sets Reps Intensity Tempo Rest Interval
Core Plank/Prone iso-abs 2 12 Bodyweight 4/2/1 0
Balance Single-leg balance 2 10 Bodyweight 4/2/1 0
= 6.4 minutes
Body Part Exercise Sets Reps Intensity Tempo Rest Interval
Chest Ball Dumbbell (DB) press 2 12 60% 4/2/1 0
Back Ball DB row 2 12 60% 4/2/1 0
Shoulders Single-leg scaption 2 12 60% 4/2/1 0
Legs Single-leg squat 2 12 60% 4/2/1 45 sec.
= 11.1 minutes

When you add self-myofascial release and cardio to the time, the total session adds up to 27.5 minutes. Cool your client down with static flexibility for the last few minutes. Stretch tight, short muscles as indicated by your assessment.

When you add self-myofascial release and cardio to the time, the total session adds up to 29 minutes. Use any remaining time to cool your client down with static flexibility to avoid future muscle imbalances.

For the advanced client, instead of cardio in the warm-up, utilize dynamic flexibility. An example would be:

  • Prisoner squats (20)
  • Pushups with rotation (10 total, 5 each direction)
  • Single-leg squats (10 each leg)
  • Walking lunge with a twist (10 total, 5 each leg)

Do each exercise in a circuit, quickly moving from one to another. This should take five minutes.

ADVANCED
Body Part Exercise Sets Reps Intensity Tempo Rest Interval
Core Cable rotations 2 10 80% 1/0/1 0
Balance Multi-Planar (MP) hops w/stabilization 2 10 80% 1/0/1 30sec.

= 3 minutes

Body Part Exercise Sets Reps Intensity Tempo Rest Interval
Chest Bench press 3 5 85% As fast as possible 0
Chest Medicine Ball (MB) chest pass 3 8 10% of bodyweight As fast as possible 0
Back Seated row 3 5 85% As fast as possible 0
Back MB soccer throw 3 8 10% of bodyweight As fast as possible 0
Shoulders Seated overhead press 3 5 85% As fast as possible 0
Shoulders MB soccer throw 3 8 10% of bodyweight As fast as possible 0
Legs Squat 3 5 85% As fast as possible 120 sec.
Legs Jump squats 3 8 10% of bodyweight As fast as possible 120 sec.

= 8.6 minutes

When you add self-myofascial release and cardio to the time, the total session adds up to 21.6 minutes. Use any remaining time to cool your client down with static flexibility to avoid future muscle imbalances.

Quick sessions can help your clients get an integrated workout that keeps the heart rate up and burns more calories. Remind your clients that their health should be a top priority and that it takes only a few minutes to add years of good health to their lives!

6 Simple Steps to Building Beginner Workout Programs

✅ This article will show you the 6 simple steps you can use to create beginner workout programs.

✅ You’ll learn how to choose the right number of repetitions, the best exercises to include, and how to incorporate cardio and a proper warmup.

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EVERY NEW CLIENT IS DIFFERENT. They come from different backgrounds, have different challenges, and therefore have different needs.

As a trainer developing your clientele, the goal is to make your clients feel comfortable and safe with exercise as quick as possible. In addition, it’s important as a trainer to stay consistent with your programming in order to establish your reputation.

A common problem for new and experienced trainers is that they don’t know how to create beginner workout programs. You have likely been working out for years and may have a difficult time putting yourself in the client’s shoes.

A “make or break” period exists with new clients where the trainer has to get them to buy-into their program quickly. Usually, introductory packages are small and the trainer might only have 2-3 weeks to impress the client and entice them to commit.

The Focus System is a simple, straightforward system that’s specifically designed to create effective beginner workout programs. With this program you will be able to cover all the bases and design a great program easily and quickly. By following the six steps below, you will be able to program effective beginner workout programs in less than 30 minutes.

The 6 Steps to Creating Beginner Workout Programs

Step 1: Rep Range (The Great Decider) for Beginner Workout Programs

In the Focus System, rep range is the deciding factor. As soon as you have established your client’s goals, you should know the rep range they need to be working in. For example, if they want to train for power, their rep range is 1-5, muscle endurance 12-15, etc.

The rep range dictates the number of sets and exercises in a workout. If a client is training in the 1-5 rep range, their sets are going to be higher than in the 12-15 rep range.

To take this point one step further, if the client is doing multiple sets in the 1-5 rep range they will be completing fewer sets over the course of the workout. Faster more dedicated/focused sets are more important when improving power. In the 12-15 reps range, fewer sets per exercise will be involved, so more exercises will be included in the workout. Efficiency of movement is also less important when working muscular endurance. There will be less of a focus on perfect form, and neurological fatigue isn’t as much of an issue as it is with the power workout.

Rep range will also dictate the type of exercise that you will include. If the workout includes exercises that sit in the 1-5 reps range, you probably will not include biceps curls. You would opt for power-exercises; perhaps a deadlift or squat variation. Although you may need to perform power training on isolated muscle groups for certain sports–it’s just not the norm for the average client.

Tempo to a degree is also determined by rep range. A power exercise may include a 1-0-1 (1s eccentric – 0s pause – 1s concentric). When trying to improve muscle endurance, there are a number of different tempos that can be useful. Pausing under tension will increase the stress on the muscle and is a good way to push the client that extra 10%. The most common tempo that’s used is the 3-0-1 for muscle gain during hypertrophy workouts (6-10 reps).

Lastly, you can easily determine what rest intervals are appropriate based on rep range. A power reps range of 1-5 reps will require 2-3 minutes to replenish the creatine phosphate system. Your goal is to train the client efficiently. If the client is fatigued, the training will be counterproductive. Muscle endurance, on the other hand, requires much shorter rest intervals. The goal is to improve the client’s recovery, so that’s the system that you need to stress.

This article is quite thorough and detailed. In response to demand, I’ve made this guide to creating beginner workout programs available as an . Enter your email in the box at the bottom of this page to get that Ebook sent to your inbox.

Step 2: Primary Exercises for Beginner Workout Programs

The primary exercises are the focus of the workout. You can expect the client to get their gains primarily from these. Therefore progression is measured based on the client’s performance on the primary exercises.

If they’re getting stronger at the front squat, then watching for progression on the leg extension becomes a moot point. That said, you should still track all the sets and reps of each workout.

To pick the primary exercises, I use a combination of intuition and knowledge. I do an analysis of the client’s body type, and in combination with their goals and assessment, decide on the MOST IMPORTANT exercises. These exercises are exclusively large multi-joint exercise and are usually some variation of the squat, deadlift, lunge, chin up, row, or chest press.

The reason for so much emphasis on the primary exercises in the Focus System is two-fold:

  1. Beginner clients cannot get good at more than 2-4 exercises at one time. Writing a workout containing 16-20 exercises that you want the client to get better at is not practical. The client will not learn the form effectively and won’t build up the supporting structures to continually progress.
  2. It’s much easier to sell a client on 2 exercises than 20.

Here’s an example using the reps schemes described above:

In a power workout where the client would be working within the 1-5 reps range, two primary exercises might be the sumo deadlift and bench press. In the 12-15 muscle endurance reps range two primary exercises might be the Goblet squat and alternating row.

Step 3: Secondary Exercises for Beginner Workout Programs

The secondary movements are where you can have the greatest flexibility and the most fun. These can be programmed as supersets or circuits. Although form is important, it is not necessary to be as picky as with the primary exercises. At this point in the workout, the client will be mentally and physically tired since the primary exercises demand constant focus.

The exercise selection here has the biggest variance. Remember that your purpose with secondary exercises is to support the primary and take the client one step closer to his or her goal. This is where you can include things like single joint movements, abdominal work (rotation, flexion, anti-rotation), and single-leg exercises.

In a power workout where the primary exercises are the sumo deadlift and bench press, you might choose barbell glute bridges and dumbbell skull crushers as secondary exercises. For the muscle endurance workout, the example primary exercises were the goblet squat and alternating row. The secondary exercises could be a single-leg squat and dumbbell cross-body hammer curl.

Step 4: Tertiary Exercises for Beginner Workout Programs

Tertiary exercises can be built into one of two different spots in the Focus System. They can either be used as active rest in between sets or after the secondary exercises if there is time left in the workout. Also, have some prehab exercises on hand if time allows.

When I originally designed the Focus System, the tertiary exercises were purely rehabilitative in nature. I’ve now expanded the term to include prehab. Some clients will need enough rehabilitation that prehab will have to wait. Rehab does not necessarily mean that the client has an injury; it could be an imbalance that needs to be addressed.

The unique aspect of the tertiary exercise is that it won’t change depending on the type of workout. If the client needs rehab exercises or to fix an imbalance, it doesn’t matter whether they’re training power or muscle endurance. Prehab exercises vary depending on the different stresses that primary exercises place on the body.

Step 5: Cardio for Beginner Workout Programs

I am not a big proponent of cardio. Like any aspect of fitness, it has a time and place, but usually sufficient cardio can be programmed into a resistance training routine with appropriate attention to rest intervals. That said, steady state cardio is meditative and can be very beneficial for the mind. For a client with a stressful job, unloading on the treadmill, bike, or elliptical for 30 minutes at a medium pace can be the perfect medicine.

The cardio protocol that you prescribe for your client has to fall in line with their goals. Cardio can be counterproductive if improperly programmed. For example, a hypertrophy workout should not have much, if any, steady state cardio. You can be good at putting on muscle and cardio at the same time, but you can’t be great at both–something’s gotta give!

A sample cardio protocol for a power program might be 1-2 days/week of HIIT (high- intensity interval training). For muscle endurance training, try a combination of steady state running with hill or interval training.

Step 6: Dynamic Warm Up and Myofascial Release for Beginner Workout Programs

The dynamic warm up depends on the client’s comfort and skill level in the gym and the nature of the workout. For example, a power workout will likely have more hip and shoulder mobility drills. In addition, since movement efficiency is of the upmost importance, include more myofascial release. The warm up for a muscle endurance workout will include more movement prep work and less individual dynamic stretches. In addition, you might opt to do the myofascial release at the end of the workout.

A beginner client with low efficacy will be reluctant to do a long, dynamic warm-up by without you there. If this is the case, perform the warm up with the client for as long as needed until he or she becomes more confident in the gym. I found that doing the warm up with my client during their initial anatomical adaptation phases was a good guideline.

If the client is more confident then they can handle a warm up with dynamic stretching and myofascial release. Go through the warm up once with them, provide them with a handout reviewing each exercise, and communicate your expectation that the full warm up be completed before each session so you can maximize your time together.

The System in Action

Here is a sample workout that may be appropriate for an intermediate client with no injuries but bad posture due to a desk job. Their goal is fat loss and to improve core strength.

Please note that this program is not meant to teach you what exercises to include. It wasn’t designed for a specific client. Rather it is meant to illustrate the Focus System. The following section breaks down the workout in order to showcase each of the 6 steps.

Day 1 (full body push)

1. Squat (Primary) 4*8-10 superset no money drill to help with external rotation (tertiary)

2. Bench Press (Primary) 4*8-10 superset lat stretch (tertiary)

3. Speed interval 1.5min at 80-95%MHR

4a. Tight Pushup (secondary) 2*15-20

4b. Abs Plank – Fast Hands (secondary) 2*5 superset chest stretch (tertiary)

5. Speed interval 1.5min at 80-95%MHR

6a. Dumbbell skull crushers (secondary) 2* 10-12

6b. Single leg squats (secondary) 2*6-8

7. Scaption (tertiary) 2*8-10

Day 2 (full body pull)

1. Dead Lift (primary) 4*8-10 superset hip stretches (tertiary)

2. Chin up (Primary) 4*8-10 superset chest stretch (tertiary)

3. Speed interval 1.5min at 80-95%MHR

4a. Glute thrust 2*6-8 (secondary)

4b. Side bridge with minor twist 2*12-15 (secondary)

5. Speed interval 1.5min at 80-95%MHR

6a. 1 arm bent over row 2*8-10 (secondary)

6b. Glute ham raise 2*6-8 (secondary)

7. Pallof press 2*25s holds

Cardio guidelines – 2x/week. One day perform a 30min job at 70-80%MHR. The second day perform 45s speed intervals at a 6:1 rest : work ratio.

Note: 4*8-10 denotes 4 sets of 8-10 reps. If I have a ‘1.’ before the exercise then all sets are to be completed before moving onto the next exercise. If, for example, I have a 1a and 1b then the exercises are meant to be done in a superset.

The Workout Broken Down

Step 1: Rep Range. The client is working throughout a variety of rep ranges. Since the primary goal is fat loss, the client needs to build up some muscle so have them working within hypertrophy ranges mostly. The workout shifts to becoming more metabolic when the client gets to the secondary exercises. The reps increase and speed intervals are placed throughout.

Step 2: Primary exercises. I wanted to make both days full body so split the workout into push and pull. In choosing the primary exercises I also wanted the rep range to be in the hypertrophy range so I chose large multi-joint exercises and not power movements. Since the client is intermediate they would be able to handle 4 primary exercises. The squat, bench press, chin up and dead lift are all done by themselves so the client can focus on performing these movements well.

Step 3: Secondary exercises. This is where the most variance takes place and you can be very creative. In choosing these exercises I wanted to stay true to the push/pull split and put a special focus on core strength. Lastly I included some exercises that will improve the client’s performance within the primary movements. The single leg squat is a good example as it increases knee, ankle, and hip stability.

Step 4: Tertiary exercises. I opted to include the tertiary exercises within the workout as opposed to doing them at the end. Reason being, this client is an intermediate so will have performed most of these movements before. I also want the workout to be metabolic in nature and the addition of active rest periods in between sets is an added benefit. For this client I would also have a list prepared of tertiary exercises to throw in the workout in an unorganized manner.

Step 5: Cardio guidelines. Since I wanted the workout to be metabolic in nature I added sprint intervals throughout. In addition, I added two cardio days for the client to perform throughout the week. This is because the primary goal is fat loss.

Step 6: Dynamic warm up. Again, the client is at the intermediate level so he would be comfortable performing the warm up by himself. I therefore would provide them with the dynamic warm up handout package and show them through it once. Beyond that, their job is to have the warm up completed before they see me.

Avoid Overwhelming Your Client

Beginner clients often are overwhelmed by the whole experience of joining a fitness club and working with a trainer. By designing a complicated program, you make the experience even more overwhelming, and set the client up for frustration and failure.

The key to the Focus System is to ‘Focus’ on 1-2 of the most important things in your client’s program.

Get them excited about the couple exercises that are specifically going to help them, make the workout relevant, and base your progression on the important aspects as they won’t get better at everything.

No matter who your clients are or what your own background is you have to grow your clients step by step to their goals. Follow The Focus System and you will have your bases covered. Make sure not to get caught up in trying to do too much.

Resources Mentioned

I’ve created a .pdf document that lists all of the resources (both free and paid) in this article. To download it, click here:

–> Resources mentioned document

Other Trainers Found These Related Articles Helpful:

  • How to Fix Butt Wink
  • A Strength Training Template That Works For Any Client
  • Build Better Personal Training Programs

The Author

Jonathan Goodman is the founder of the Personal Trainer Development Center and author of multiple bestselling books for personal trainers. In addition, Jon founded the first-ever certification for online fitness trainers, the Online Trainer Academy. Originally from Toronto, Jon and his wife Alison spend their winters traveling the world with their baby boy, Calvin.

Fun Personal Training Session Ideas

Theme-based personal training sessions can bring more fun into your workouts with clients.

We all know the drill: Welcome the client, warm up, work out, stretch, schedule next week’s session, thank the client and say goodbye. While we may be offering a highly effective training session, did the client truly enjoy his hour with you?

At our very core, we trainers are a knowledgeable and experienced group of professionals. But how good are our motivational techniques? In order to keep each session unique, invigorating and – yes – fun, we occasionally have to vary our approach.

Many gyms host theme-based group exercise classes; why not offer our clients periodic theme-based personal training sessions?

Let Your Creativity Speak

To help stave off the late winter doldrums, consider introducing a week of “Spring Into Action” workouts. For every client you train during this week, create a regimen that weaves plyometrics training into the strength portion of the workout.

For clients with children, that final week of summer break before school begins can seem to stretch on and on. Designate this The “Final Stretch” week, and add an abundance of stretching exercises to each session.

The 7 days prior to Easter can become “Hop To It” week. Add hops and jumps to create mini cardio circuits in between strength training sets.

Certainly, we can have fun with more traditional holidays. Offer a “Punch Line” week prior to April Fool’s Day by incorporating boxing moves and hitting a heavy bag.

Valentine’s Day is a natural for “Good For The Heart” nutrition lessons at the end of the training hour.

Halloween can be filled with variations on the jumping jack theme for “Jack O Lantern” week. It’s easy once you get thinking!

Originality For Older Clients

Not all of our clients are equipped to bunny-hop or punch the heavy bag. For those participants with special mechanical considerations, we can still find ways to be fun and creative with themes.

Here’s a great example that grandparents will love! As a new grandparent myself, I can attest to the difficulty in restraining myself from buying every adorably feminine piece of clothing I see for our 1-year-old Madelyn!

Create a week of “Let’s Swap Buying With Biceps”! For 1 or 2 weeks, challenge those grandmas to train their biceps instead of honing their buying skills. They will laugh all the way through their workouts!

For those clients training to compensate for bone loss and osteoporosis, start a “Bend But Don’t Break” challenge to allow them to showcase their postural progress and balance skills.

Senior exercise enhances lives and can be fun!

Having Fun Is Fun-damental

My personal goal with clients has always been to have them leave the gym feeling empowered and excited to return. While not all clients “love” working out as much as I do, it isn’t all that hard to make our hour together at least pleasant enough to warrant a repeat performance, and sometimes we really have a good time training!

The power rests in your hands, your imagination and your skills in creating dynamic and fun programming!

What have been your best theme-based session ideas for making fitness fun?

Whether you’re on vacation, traveling for work, or spending time away from home for whatever other reason, it can be hard to adapt your usual workout outside your gym or at-home setup. Hitting up a local fitness class may be an option, but is not always feasible. Sometimes, you just need a quick, equipment-free routine that gets the job done no matter where in the world you are. Bonus points for something that works your entire body, and covers both strength and cardio.

To help you find your new go-to, do-anyhere workout, certified trainer Fajr Bashir, owner and head instructor at Island Physique, a boutique fitness and dance studio in Bermuda, put together a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout for SELF readers. Bashir knows that when people are on vacation, they don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of time working out. It’s about getting the work done in a short amount of time so that you can get to the day’s activities. (Obviously, we’re talking about any travel that’s not a fitness retreat where epic workouts are the main event.) The best option in this scenario, she says, is a HIIT workout.

“Short HIIT workouts like the one below can assist with increased overall athletic endurance, increase core strength, and help with lean muscle gain and fat loss over time,” Bashir says. “When you are short on time and need to get a quick total-body workout fix, I always suggest HIIT workouts.” HIIT workouts are short, super intense workouts that have you alternating between intervals of all-out effort with intervals of active recovery or rest.

Bashir’s workout includes a quick dynamic warm-up followed by two supersets. “A superset means that you’re performing two different exercises in succession with little to no rest in between,” she explains. “In this workout, the first superset is yoga push-ups (an upper-body-dominant exercise) followed by burpees (a total-body, plyometric exercise). The second superset is walking lunges (a lower-body-dominant exercise) followed by “get-ups to jump lunge combo” (a total-body, plyometric exercise).” Pairing a strength exercise with plyometrics—explosive moves, like jumping—is an effective way to amp up your short workout. “It’s a technique used by endurance athletes to boost speed, reaction time, and explosive power,” she explains.

Finally, there’s a core burnout section desiged to fatigue your abdominal muscles in a short amount of time. “When I choose core exercises, I think of total-body motions that lead to increased stability and balance. The core exercises that I selected in this particular workout are dynamic, move through various planes of motion, and are challenging and functional,” Bashir says.

To get the most out of this workout, you should do each exercise as intensely as you can while still maintaining proper form. Try not to take a break, except for when the workout calls for it at the end of each superset.

Here’s how the workout is set up:

Warm-up:

  • High Knees — 20 seconds
  • Crabby Crawl Out — 20 seconds
  • Squat to High Kick — 20 seconds
  • Grass Grabbers — 20 seconds
  • Rest — 30 seconds

Superset 1:

  • Yogi Push-ups — 45 seconds
  • Burpee to Lateral Jump Squat — 45 seconds
  • Rest — 30 seconds
  • Repeat one more time.

Superset 2:

  • Walking Lunges — 45 seconds
  • Get-up to Jump Lunge — 45 seconds
  • Rest — 30 seconds
  • Repeat one more time.

Core Burnout:

  • Single Leg Bicycles — 20 seconds each side
  • Push-up to Twist — 30 seconds
  • Sumo Squat Hold With Oblique Crunch — 30 seconds
  • Plank Hold — 30 seconds

Here’s how to do the moves:

Five Outdoor Workout Ideas For A Sunny Day

We love the gym as much the next person, but once the sun is shining we can’t help feeling that we should move our planned session outdoors. If you’re a fitness class regular or have a set free-weights routine, though, it can take a bit of thought to come up with a routine that works outdoors.

Thankfully, London-based trainer Jay Bolton (@jay_plantpower) runs outdoor group sessions and has done the thinking for you, sharing these simple sessions you can turn to at the drop of a hat.

“Exercising doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does it have to be boring or complex,” says Bolton. “We have been given these amazing bodies to work with and I’ve come up with a few challenges that you can do almost anywhere using just your own bodyweight.”

And of course, the usual advice applies. “As with every exercise or workout, ensure you warm up and down properly, and remain hydrated,” says Bolton. “Make sure you get advice when needed. Check with your GP if you are unsure about anything, especially if you’re just starting to exercise, but most important of all, have fun.”

1. Squat And Don’t Stop

This is a series of squats. First complete ten regular squats, followed by ten jump squats, ten knees to chest jumps and finally ten squats on tiptoes. Then repeat the circuit but with nine reps, then eight, seven and so on until you get to one. For an extra challenge, go from ten to one and then from one to ten.

The key to squatting is to keep a straight back and not to press up on your legs with your hands. Keep your hands on your collarbones, by your temples or out in front. Your legs will thank you.

2. Pyramid Of 15

Complete one press-up, then walk forwards approximately five metres. Do two press-ups, then walk back to your original spot and do three press-ups, and so on. The aim is to reach 15 reps but do a trial run, see how you get on and set that as your benchmark.

This workout is even better with a partner. Start with your partner facing you, both complete one press-up, then swap positions and do two press-ups, continuing in the same vein. For an extra challenge, the first to finish their reps should stay in the top press-up position until the second completes their reps.

3. Cardio Blitz

A little something to take your breath away.
 Start with mountain climbers for one minute. When the minute is up, run to a point approximately 20 metres away and perform ten burpees. Run back to your starting point and go straight into another minute of mountain climbers. When the minute is up, run to your position and complete nine burpees. Repeat this until you get down to one burpee. Time how long it takes you to complete and see if you can cut that time down over time.

4. Bar-barian

Hang on a pull-up bar in the chin-up position (palms facing you) and complete three chin-ups. Remaining on the bar, release your left hand and change the grip so your palm is facing away from you, then complete another three reps. Change the grip on the right hand so both palms are facing away so you are now in the pull-up grip and complete three reps. Change the grip of your left hand back to palm facing you, complete three reps, then change your right hand’s grip so you’re in the starting chin-up position and do three final pulls.

If you are new to the bars and don’t feel confident changing your grip, bend your knees while hanging from the bar and have a partner support your shins. You can also start by doing two reps and building up to three.

5. Music Medley Mayhem

This is always fun to do with friends. Play your favourite song and commence squatting. Once the chorus comes in, hold the bottom of the squat position until the chorus has finished. When the verse starts again, continue with your squats.

15 Outdoor Fitness Ideas You Can Enjoy This Labor Day

Between late-night BBQ’s, afternoon summer cocktails and lounging on the beach, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of year-round fitness – but the fix is really simple.

With all of the great workouts you can still enjoy this Labor Day weekend (and before fall and winter arrive), there is still time to find the perfect balance between staying healthy and treating yourself.

Our 15 Favorite Outdoor Fitness Activities!

1. Stand-Up Paddleboarding

If you’re already a fan of cross-training routines that challenge your balance and core, then stand-up paddleboarding (also known as SUP) will definitely be up your ally. This is a perfect summer workout that not only challenges the body, but provides a scenic view of the horizon and the relaxing ambiance of the water.

Many parks and beaches offer rentals by the day or by the hour, making it a convenient activity for a large group. All you need is a board and paddle and you can hit the water. To start, place your board in the water (towards the shoreline) and hop on, remember to focus on your core and balance. Use your paddle to guide you in the direction you would like to go.

2. Hiking

Hitting the trail this summer helps to build muscle, clear your head and invites in the fresh air. What better way to challenge your body then with a moderate-intensity hike at your favorite park, mountain or nearby trail.

An hour hike can burn over 350 calories and will challenge and tone your muscles when you’re trekking on an incline. Take your training up a notch by bringing other trainers and your clients, pack a healthy lunch and have fun.

3. Bike Riding

A good bike ride will torch up to 500 calories an hour, is gentle on the environment and a total body workout. With all of the options available for bike-share programs, rentals and cycle events; taking your bike out for a spin this summer is getting more and more popular for males and females of all ages.

Stay safe tip: Don’t forget to advise your client to stay in their bike lane, wear reflective gear at night and use turn signals. Google even offers bike maps of metropolitan areas to help you stay safe in traffic congested areas.

4. Beach Volleyball

Beach volleyball is a great sport to enjoy at the beach. Not only is it summer friendly but it will also help maximize your speed and strength. Think of how many times you jump, run, or rotate your body to perform a serve and win the game. According to Livestrong, “45 minutes of volleyball burns up to 585 calories, resulting in significant weight loss over an extended period of time. This reduces the risks of hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.” Get ready to have fun with your client and burn calories in the process!

5. Trail Running

Trail running is the perfect workout for your clients who love to run and perform cardio-vascular activities. It’s a great way to venture off of the pavement and enjoy a more calm and scenic run. Trails with an incline will tone your butt, quads and build core strength.

Trail running is also a great way to challenge the body. When your client is used to performing their workout on a treadmill or pavement, their body is likely to adapt. Trail running gives the body an extra boost that the muscles might be missing out on.

6. HIIT The Track

Since you’re already passionate about fitness then you already know that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) takes your training and fat loss to the next level. The best part? An HIIT workout is typically performed in about 20 minutes (because it’s so intense); so have your client take their favorite HIIT routine and hit the nearby track for an outdoor challenge.

7. Take your Yoga Outside

Yoga is a great way to challenge the body and ease the mind. Ditch your mat and perform Yoga with your client in the grass; performing Yoga outside takes away the controlled environment that you can often get in an indoor mat class.

After performing your favorite style of Yoga, wander off to a relaxing spot, sit for a minute and let the benefits of Yoga soak in. This is the perfect opportunity for your client to tune into their body and meditate.

8. Park Strength-Training

Strength-training just got even better! If you’re a fan of strength-training like we are, then take your workout this summer for a upgrade on all of our favorite moves. Not only will you challenge your client with these next four moves but you’ll benefit from the fresh summer air!

  • Perform reverse lunges with a swing or park bench instead of using a gym bench.
  • Upgrade your traditional bar pull-ups with a money bar.
  • Perform jackknifes with a swing instead of a stability ball.
  • Jump squats on a bench can challenge your body beyond a traditional squat.

Perform 12-15 reps of each workout and repeat for a total of 3 circuit sets.

9. Swimming

Swimming is a great way to get in touch with nature, challenge the body with an all-over workout and cool down. This summer favorite tones the body, boosts metabolism and burns massive calories; so what’s not to love?

If your clients loves challenging their body and getting a great cardio workout, look no further, swimming is about to become their new favorite summer workout.

10. Move your Class Outdoors

Many fitness centers and studios offer sporadic classes outside during the summer months. If your clients are passionate about taking Pilates or dance then take the class outside to the lake or the park. This is a great way to engage in fitness favorites and enjoy summer all at the same time.

Summer is short and sweet so don’t miss a beat with these workout ideas! If you have any other favorites, share with us in a comment below!

Get Out! 5 Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

You know that exercise provides many mental and physical health benefits. What if a simple change in location could exponentially increase those benefits?

Turns out, it can.

Outdoor exercise, also known as “green exercise,” combines two health-enhancing activities: moving your body and getting outdoors. And the results are exceptional. If you’re looking to enhance your mood, save money and avoid the time and trouble of getting to the gym, look no further than the great outdoors.

Here are five benefits of getting your sweat on with Mother Nature.

1. Improved Mood and Reduced Depression

Outdoor exercise provides a mental health boost beyond that of indoor gyms. Moving outdoors has been shown to reduce anger and depression and improve mood (Barton and Pretty, 2010). Exposure to sunlight enhances vitamin D production, which may be partially responsible for this mood-enhancing effect (Kerr et al., 2015). You don’t have to run a marathon or crush an outdoor boot camp to reap the benefit. Even low-intensity activities, like walking or gardening, will do. For a quick afternoon pick-me-up, head outside for a 15-minute walk break, and return to work feeling energized.

2. Enhanced Self-esteem

Research shows that as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve self-esteem (Barton and Pretty, 2010). Any outdoor location will do, but being near greenery or water enhances this effect. Interestingly, low- to moderate-intensity physical activity shows greater improvements in self-esteem than high-intensity outdoor exercise. Activities shown to improve self-esteem include walking, cycling, horseback riding, fishing and gardening. A regular dose of outdoor activity can help boost the already powerful esteem-enhancing effect of exercise.

3. Low Cost

People often cite cost as one of the biggest factors prohibiting regular exercise. The outdoor environment provides a low-cost solution for exercise enthusiasts and trainers alike. While high gym or studio prices can act as a barrier to exercise, outdoor venues such as low-traffic neighborhood streets and local parks offer free space for physical activity. Trainers can benefit from these spaces as well. A local permit and small fee is often all that’s needed to hold training sessions in public use areas, resulting in reduced overhead and increased earnings.

4. Ease of Access

Lack of time is another common barrier to exercise. Navigating traffic, parking garages and crowded locker rooms adds additional time needed to be active. Taking advantage of the great outdoors can reduce these time constraints. Local hills, tracks and neighborhood streets provide ideal walking, running and cycling settings, while nearby parks offer ideal venues for resistance training, boot camps and yoga classes. Many outdoor areas include benches, trees, inclined roads and even designated exercise equipment, allowing for a variety of resistance-training exercises.

5. Connecting With Mother Nature

One of the greatest benefits of outdoor exercise lies in its inherent opportunity to connect with Mother Nature and the people and places in your community. Finish your bike ride at a local coffee shop, wave hello to your neighbors as you jog the streets, or set up a weekly walking group with friends and neighbors. Exercising outdoors can help you feel grounded, deepen your connection to your environment and enhance your appreciation for the beauty around you.

Outdoor Exercise Precautions

Not all outdoor spaces are suitable for exercise. Traffic, weather conditions and safety are all things to consider before heading outdoors. Carefully assess your outdoor space to find a setting that is safe and meets your exercise needs. Depending on the conditions, sunscreen, a hat, warm clothes or protective rain gear may be necessary.

Get Out and Go!

Don’t let the prospect of outdoor activity scare you. If you’re new to exercise or just getting back into it, start with short exercise sessions and lighter intensity. Even five minutes will do. Whether it’s completing a circuit workout at your local park, mountain biking through nearby trails, or walking your kids to the bus, any movement counts. All you have to do it get out and go!

Barton, J. and Pretty, J. (2010). What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis. Environmental Science and Technology, 44, 10, 3947–3955.

Workouts to do outside

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