With Spring quickly approaching and Summer not too far behind, we are all looking for more excuses to be outside. One of the best ways to branch out is to swap your views of sweat-drenched treadmillers for the sunshine and fresh air. In other words, take your workout outdoors.
We thought long and hard and narrowed down 5 of the best places in the U.S. to do an outdoor workout. On Sunny days, local residents will flock to these hidden gems, earbuds and water in tow, and bust out their respective routines.
I think it's a great way to get a feel for the culture, make some friends and get a good sweat in while you are visiting and if you're a local, it's a great way to get out of a workout rut.
"But Collective writers!" You scream shaking your fist at your laptop, tablet or other device, "I don't live in any of these places and I don't have plans to travel to them either." We would of course reply "Hello there, random, irate, internet commenter. While you may not have access to these places, I am sure there are other places near you, these are just our favorites! Also, check out this article about 5 workouts that you can do anywhere."
Whew, that almost turned into a full fledged Twitter feud. Let's move on
First up, The Hill at Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City OR
Make no mistake about it, the Oregon coast is absolutely beautiful. Jagged rocks, sloping hills and a lush landscape are juxtaposed with beautiful blue waters. Cape Kiwanda is no exception. It's a stunning view and on top of that, you a short drive to the Tillamook factory which has a massive array of delicious, locally sourced Ice Cream. To make sure you earn that double scoop though, you will be taking on a sand dune that's roughly a 1/3 mile long and climbs approximately 500 feet. See the picture below:
The Workout of the Day: This dune is no joke, so take your time (at least 10 minutes) warming up with a nice run on the beach, some dynamic jumps and stretch areas that feel tight. Then at about 60% of your max effort make your way to the top of the hill, then walk down (because if you run, you could end up like this) to the bottom and do 30 push-ups. Next, at 70% of your max effort, run halfway up the hill, walk down and do 20 burpees. Finish by running a quarter of the way up at 90% max effort and finish with 10 jumping squats. Cool down with a walk or slow along the beach.
Second on the list is The Hillier Ignite Fitness Park
Virginia Beach is quaint, little vacation spot filled with good eats and plenty of activities for families. But let's get down to the brass tax. The Hillier Ignite Fitness Park was the vision of local resident Luke Hillier and only came to life when the small business owner willed it to be a reality. When Hillier presented his idea for a local fitness park to the city council, a smug city manager asked him if he would be willing to donate all of the equipment, Hillier said yes and persisted when the city council pushed back on the location of the park. Now, it stands as a testament to his vision and hard work and offers uninhibited access to some really incredible fitness equipment.
Workout of the Day: A quick note of caution here. This workout will contain some pretty intense upper body work, so be sure to warm up properly and if you have any injuries, scale accordingly. This is one of my favorite workouts turned on its head. After a proper warm up, set a timer for 30 minutes and do as many rounds as you can of the following in the 30 minute time frame: 1 Rope Climb, 10 push-ups, 3 pull-ups, 5 dips.
Next on our list is The Lyon Street Steps in San Francisco, CA
The Bay Area is replete with beautiful paths for running, biking and general moseying. But the Lyon Street Steps are a different animal entirely. Besides offering amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Palace of the Fine Arts this massive set of steps is somewhat of a rite of passage for any San Franciscan and represent the unique, yet unified array of citizens that make up the city. Bottom to top there are more than 330 stairs separated at times by different landings and a street that runs in between the first and second halves.
Workout of the Day: If you're headed to the steps for a good sweat, be sure to warm up with some dynamic stretching, squats and lunges and to get your bearings, descend the stairs and work on getting your feet attuned to the turnover of the stairs. Then, once you're at the bottom do 2 sets of :30 work of alternating, jumping lunges with :30 of rest in between, then climb the stairs at about 60% of your max effort until you reach THE STREET that separates the first and second half of the stairs. Then, pause and do 2 sets of :30 work of squats with :30 of rest in between, then climb the stairs at about 60% of your max effort until you reach the top of the stairs. Finish with a :90 plank hold, rest for :30, head back down and do that whole thing two more times for a total of three sets.
Moving on down the list is Clover Park in Santa Monica, CA
California is famous for beautiful people that take immaculate care of themselves. It may come as no surprise that it's then filled with beautiful health clubs and people working out at all hours of the day. This is confusing for a number of reasons, but mostly because the weather is close to flawless almost all year long. That being said, there are still plenty of people that are active outdoors and many venues to get after it. A smaller, slightly less known park is Clover Park which is home to a 15 station circuit training station (Think pull-up bar, dip bar, crunch station, etc.) that is clean, new and it's also surrounded by different fields for almost any activity.
Workout of the Day: Try running through 5 rounds of 8-10 reps at each station on the circuit training station or grab your buddies and get together for a game of baseball, football or soccer.
Last up on the list is Central Park in New York City, NY
It's no secret that the ultimate concrete jungle gym is New York City. Despite freezing temps during a bulk of the year, people often look to Central Park as an escape from the hectic pace of city life. It's no secret that there are some phenomenal paved running paths that circle the park but did you know there are many trails that crisscross the park and offer more challenging terrain and some brief but entertaining climbs and descents? We didn't either until we had the privilege of running a 4 mile course through a run club offered by Urban Athletics, a specialty running store on Madison Avenue.
Workout of the Day: If you're not interested in joining the Urban Athletics run club, follow this map and do any number of runs around the park. We promise, you won't be disappointed.