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Summer Workout Hack – Get Out of the Gym & Train Outside!

Summer Workout Hack – Get Out of the Gym & Train Outside!


    Summer is officially here for those of us north of the equator. One of the things I like best about this time of the year is that the warm weather makes it possible lift weights outside, just like the cavemen used to train. I don’t know why, but I always make the most progress when I train outside.

    Benefits Of Training Outside

    Lifting weights in the great outdoors offers many benefits over the gym. Below are the most significant:

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    1. The sun exposure you get can help you get your daily dose of all important vitamin D.
    2. Studies show exercising outside helps improve your mood and increases the odds you’ll stick to your program.
    3. You can do exercises that aren’t as easy to perform in the gym like carries and throws.
    4. It’s more fun and social. Instead of simply getting in and out of the gym as quickly as possible you can easily make an even of your workout where you train hard with a couple of friends and then have a barbecue after.
    5. The fresh air is much more refreshing than the stale air of your gym.

    How It’s Done

    1. Find A Space – All you need to perform your workout is some open space. I prefer grass or sand. Working out on either surface allows you to train barefoot which makes the workout even more fun, and challenging. Try to find a location where you have enough room to perform walks and throws for at least 40 yards. This distance gives you enough space to perform dozens of exercises that cannot be done indoors.

    2. Equip Your ‘Gym’ – I like to keep it simple and take 3-4 kettlebells of varying weights. Other equipment that works great are gymnastic style rings and a sandbag. You can also take dumbbells and barbells with you. Even buckets or a duffel bag filled with sand will enable you to get in a great workout.

    3. Build Your Summer Workout – Working out outdoors really lends itself to total body workouts. I like to make each workout focus on either building muscle, increasing power, or improving my overall strength. In addition to that I make sure the workout helps improve my overall fitness levels too.

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    You can do pretty much any exercise outside that you can in the gym. While this is great, I recommend performing movements that aren’t so easy to do indoors. This includes carries, throws, and sprints. One of my favorite things to do is combine a traditional gym exercise like lunges with something like Farmer’s Walks which aren’t so easily to do inside.

    The Workouts

    Below are a couple of workouts that you can use to get started. The first emphasizes muscle building and power. The second workout is designed to help you lose fat and improve your overall conditioning levels. You can perform these workouts 3-4 times a week. I like to alternate them with a days rest between each.

    Adjust each to meet your fitness levels and goals. If you have been training for a year or so, feel free to add a few sets and rest less between each exercise. Those of you who are just getting into working out should perform them as written or rest longer between movements if necessary.

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    Workout 1 – Muscle & Power

    1. Overhead Kettlebell Throws – Throw the kettlebell overhead as far as possible 10 times. Rest 60 sec between throws.
    2. Push Ups (add a clap between each if you’re advanced) – 5 sets of 5 reps
    3. Squat -& Shoulder Press Combination – 5 sets of 5 reps
    4. Farmer’s Walks – 5 walks, carry the heaviest object possible for 25 yards per walk.

    Workout 2 – Burn Fat Fast

    1. Kettlebell Throws – Throw the kettlebell forward as far as possible for 30-40 yards. Rest and repeat 2-3 times with 60 seconds between sets.
    2. Walking Lunges – Shoulder Press Combination. Perform lunges by walking forward and holding a dumbbell or kettlebell for 25-40 yards. Perform a shoulder press between each lunge.
    3. Waiter Walks – Perform 3-4 walks for 2-3 minutes each while holding a dumbbell or kettlebell overhead in each hand.

    Some other great exercises and drills to do outside include:

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    • Drag weights attached to a rope for 20-40 yards for 3-5 sets.
    • Pull ups or inverted rows on a tree branch.
    • Alternate a strength exercise with sprints. This is a favorite of many Olympic sprinters. An example is to perform a set of squats or push ups for 5-8 reps and then immediately sprint for 20-40 yards. Repeat for 5 sets. Rest 2-3 minutes between each.

    Now you have several great ways to not only build muscle and burn fat but get a tan at the same time too. Put your gym membership on hold this summer and give these workouts a try. I guarantee you’ll have more fun than you do in the gym and find that your overall fitness levels soar to new heights.

    (Photo credit: Shot of an Athlete via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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