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We spend more than half of the year waiting for sweet summer to arrive. Then when it does, we persist in trudging to the stale, dank confines of the gym to do cardio on the same old machines we labored on over the endless frigid months. Nothing against treadmills, but it’s time to kiss them goodbye (well, not literally — yuck).
The following five expert-designed outdoor workouts will free you from the gym without compromising your fitness-building efforts. Go outside and try them today because as we learn all too quickly each year — summer is fleeting while winter is (seemingly) forever.
This on-the-oval regimen is the go-to of Samantha Clayton, vice president of Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness for Herbalife and a former Olympic track athlete. “Think of sprinting as the weightlifting of the running world,” says Clayton, who competed at the 2000 Olympic games in the 200 meter and 4×100 meter relay events for Great Britain. “It’s high intensity and high impact and promotes muscular growth — especially in the posterior-chain muscles like the glutes and hamstrings.”
* One time around a standard track oval on the inside lane is 400 meters.
Do the following moves in order for 30 seconds each. Complete three rounds.
Repeat the below sequence eight times through.Exercise Distance Sprint 100 meters (on the straightaways) Walk 100 meters (on the curves)
Training Tip: “If you’re a more advanced athlete, finish up with four 50-meter sprints with a 60-second recovery between each one,” Clayton suggests.
“Distance running is great for your body and your mind, and I like to think of steady-state runs as meditation in motion,” Clayton says. Even so, if you aren’t game to just lace up and run for 60 minutes straight, use the following workout, which includes running intervals and an exercise interlude to further engage the lower body. “Intervals help you build the stamina and confidence to work progressively up to longer-distance runs,” Clayton explains.
Repeat the below workout for six rounds, or a total of 30 minutes.Exercise Time Run (moderate pace) 5 minutes Walk 1 minute
Perform the below strength workout, resting as needed.Exercise Sets Reps Stationary Lunge 3 10 (per leg) Bicycle Crunch 3 10 (each side) Calf Raise 3 10
Training Tip: Eliminate a one-minute recovery walk each week. “That way, at six weeks, you’ll be running the full 30 minutes straight,” Clayton says. “This will equate to about a 5K — or 3.10 miles — distance.”
Though Spin classes are as popular as ever, the indoor cycling experience just can’t compare to riding a bike outdoors. Encountering real hills and physically propelling the bike forward requires insane intensity and focus. (There’s a reason that completing the Tour de France is one of the most difficult athletic achievements in sports.)
Patricia Friberg, group fitness manager at Equinox in Westlake, California, and creator of the Bottom Line A Core Defined and Belly Beautiful workout DVDs, devised the following cycling regimen that will burn max calories in minimal time. “Cycling also helps build lean muscle, improves mental well-being and reduces stress,” she says. Plot a route ahead of time that’s at least 1 mile long and includes a hill that is about 1/10 of a mile with a 20 to 30 percent grade incline.
Training Tip: “To increase the intensity, time yourself on the uphill sprints, striving to beat your time within the session and workout to workout,” Friberg says.
There’s nothing easy about carrying your bodyweight upward at an incline against gravity. “No gym equipment can simulate a lung-busting, total-body, muscle-burning stair workout,” says Teri Jory, a Los Angeles-based personal trainer, fourth-degree black belt and creator of the Poise method. “It’ll also burn fat quicker than many other types of cardio. For instance, a 155-pound woman will burn more than 1,000 calories in an hour of running up and down stairs.”
For this workout, source out some stadium stairs at a high school or college, or find a traditional staircase in a high-rise, parking garage or public monument. Since the size and number of stairs will vary, perform each section of this workout for 12 to 15 minutes.
Perform each section for 12 to 15 minutes.
Section 1: Single-Step Run
Section 2: Double-Step Run
Section 3: Two-Legged Hop
Training Tip: Don’t look down, which can throw off alignment and balance. “Pull your core in tight with your shoulders down and your eyes straight ahead as you climb the steps,” Jory says.
Looking for a one-stop outdoor option that combines resistance training and cardio? This boot-camp routine designed by Friberg requires nothing but a loop band and hits the whole body with extra focus on the glutes and core, and the high-intensity Tabata-style training maximizes calorie burn and incites a fat burn like no other. Do each part twice through with a short one- to two-minute rest in between rounds.
Perform each exercise for 50 seconds, then take 10 seconds to rest and/or transition to the next move (for a total of one minute each).
Alternating Arm Plank
Lateral Shift Bow and Arrow
No band? Do the moves without and simply perform more reps.
Perform each move Tabata style, doing 20 seconds of work with all-out intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest. Complete two rounds for a total of four minutes.