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Best outdoor fitness workouts
Not long ago, if really needed to give your fitness training a bit of a push you had to pay for a personal trainer or shell out a year’s membership to a gym.
But now there’s a whole range of outdoor fitness classes on offer, aimed at everyone from the novice to the fitness fanatic, which will help you feel like you’re getting your own personal trainer for a fraction of the price.
And despite autumn being just around the corner, you’ll still feel better for exercising in the fresh air instead of the sweaty inside of a gym.
Best for… new mums
If you’re stuck at home with a screaming newborn baby, wondering how you’ll ever get back into shape, these outdoor classes could be for you. Rather than having to find childcare while you exercise, your baby and buggy become part of the workout.
”Pushing your baby in the buggy up hills intensifies the workout and adds resistance to help work the entire body,” explains director of Pushy Mothers, Judy Difiore. “We also focus on strengthening the core and pelvic area and postural realignment that can often be affected by pregnancy and childbirth.”
The 60 minute class also includes cardiovascular work to burn fat, resistance bands to work the upper body and even park benches to help tone you exercise. This is a great way of getting back into shape in a supportive and non-intimidating environment.
The downside is that it is really only for one baby families – can you imagine trying to do it with one pram, one child on your hip and another in a harness? No, thought not.
Cost: joining fee of £15 and classes cost £4-7.
More info: www.pushymothers.com
Best for… a body overhaul
Kate Staples Adventure Boot Camp for Women
If you were a fan of the TV show Gladiator during it’s heyday in the early 1990s you may remember Kate Staples. She used to be the Gladiator known as Zodiac, but when she broke her neck in two places during the filming of the show, many thought that was the end of her career in fitness.
But this Commonwealth athlete fought her way back to health and fitness and now uses her expertise in helping to train others. Along with decathlete Daley Thompson, she has launched this revolutionary boot camp workout. You have to sign up for a four-week programme, and commit to meeting five days a week.
“Each day we focus on something different,” Kate explains. “One day, we could be working on your core strength, another we’ll focus on interval training. It forces the body to keep adapting and you’ll see the most results.”
The camp guarantees weight loss of around 5-12lb and a decrease in body fat percentage of 3-5%. It’s a big claim, but the camp includes nutritional seminars and dietary advice too. With all the trainers coming from athletic backgrounds these all women boot camps could give your body the overhaul you’re after.
Cost: £200 plus VAT registration and £12 per class.
More info: www.fitnesscamp.co.uk
Best for…women new to exercise or recovering from injury
It may look like just like trekking with hiking poles but Nordic walking involves the use of specially adapted poles and claims to use 90% of the skeletal muscles.
”The poles are angled slightly behind and away from you,” says Gill Stewart, a spokeswoman for Nordic walking.
“It’s a fitness technique, not just walking, that is good for everyone although particularly beneficial for those recovering from injury or undergoing cardiovascular rehabilitation.” In order to learn how to do this properly, you need to undergo an hour and a half technique workshop.
While this is gentler than the other workouts mentioned, if you want a more challenging class some instructors offer Ultimate Nordic Classes. This involves interval running, bounding and hill work to maximise cardiovascular benefits.
Cost: £15 for the technique workshop, and classes £6-8 per class.
More info: www.nordicwalking.co.uk
Best for…competitive fitness fans
British Military Fit
One of the most popular and well established outdoor workouts is this, run by British Military Fit. Staffed by ex-Army personnel, these one hour classes use a combination of interval sprint training and strength work to help shape and improve overall fitness levels.
Keith Walkman, a spokesperson and trainer with Hove BMF also explains that keeping clients interested in their workouts is also high on their agenda. “None of our trainers are allowed to repeat a workout that they’ve done in the same week,” he says. “It means that you don’t get bored and your body is forced to adapt and you will progress more quickly.”
Although these classes focus on bringing out your competitive spirit with sprint races against other members, it also builds great camaraderie, particularly as you sometimes have to carry a partner over a 100 metres dash or pull a truck tyre around a field with a team.
Perfect for those who thrive in a competitive environment and want to be really pushed.
Cost: Joining fee of £50 and from £24 per month.
More info: www.britmilfit.com
Best for …functional training buffs
The latest buzz word in fitness is functional training, in other words exercise that mimics what you do in home, work or your chosen sport. This outdoor class workout capitalises on functional training, incorporating the use of kettlebells. These are cannon shaped weights originally used by Russian strong men and which are great for working a variety of muscle groups at the same time, rather than isolating just one.
Each session begins with a 15 minute dynamic warm-up, followed by either a strength, conditioning or endurance workout.
“In the strength workout, we do heavy weights with less reps,” explains spokesperson, Andy Phillips. “Then our conditioning sessions focus on compound exercises and swings that will work your cardiovascular system. And the last session of the week is an endurance class focusing on light weights with more repetitions.”
The aim with such diverse workouts is to keep their clients interested and to keep their bodies and fitness levels challenged. No matter what your fitness level though, these classes will help you to progress.
Cost: from £35pcm for one session a week
More info: www.outdoor-extreme.com
Rachael Woolston, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine
Rachael Woolston is a qualified personal trainer. Visit her website www.bodybalancefitness.co.uk for details of virtual or personal training.
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