When you factor in overhead expenses, COVID-19 regulations for gyms and massive shifts in the fitness industry, the outdoors have more to offer than the traditional gym.
Adding some open-air training to your routine, whether it’s running, cycling or doing yoga in the park, can benefit both your mind and your body. Although not all the mechanisms are well understood, multiple studies have shown a clear link between mental and physical well-being and outdoor exercise.
Benefits of Running Your Training Sessions and Classes Outdoors
The vitamin D gained from natural sunlight, the fresh air (as long as you’re not running on a busy city street) and freedom of movement (functional movement) beat the sound of cardio machines and non-adjustable air-conditioning of the gym hands down.
Bootcamp workouts emphasize total body functional training and strength training. A typical outdoor fitness camp usually features a small group of people in an open outdoor public space like a park. The types of exercise aim to burn calories fast and improve fitness and strength.
Physical activity can provide immediate benefits including help to boost your mood, reduce stress, improve sleep, and sharpen your focus — benefits that can be especially important during stressful times. Physical activity can also help you live a longer, healthier life by reducing the risk of many common chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
Studies have shown that open-air, or outdoor workouts and training can be beneficial for your client’s mental health. Outdoor exercise, especially in a green space or near water is available, can improve mood and self-esteem, and being outdoors. closer to nature often has a calming, stress-reducing effect. Additionally, safe exposure to sunlight can also lift a client’s mood while providing them a dose of vitamin D.
Some of your clients may even find that they can work out harder outdoors, so they get a greater physical as well as mental benefit from training. Changing scenery can help keep your clients interested and willing to go further while breathing fresh air can give them a greater sense of energy and vitality.
As you well know, many people who join a gym don’t stick with it very long, but research has shown that those who exercise outdoors are more consistent in their training. Leverage this mindset during this time
Is it Safe to Be Active Outdoors During COVID?
Before making a decision about whether or not to be active outside or run your studio sessions outdoors, be sure to check the latest guidance from your local health department and community or state leaders. In most places across the United States, residents can go for a walk or run as long as they practice social distancing and good hygiene. If executed properly, your can also run safe outdoor sessions and classes for your clients.
If you still have clients who are uneasy about the idea of sweating alongside other gym members, you can encourage them to stay active by going for a walk, run, or bike ride in their neighborhood. This can be a good way to get active, as long as they can safely maintain distance between themselves and other active neighbors.
Where Can You Train Clients Outdoors?
In some cities/counties, parks and similar open spaces have reopened—you may be able to find one to hold a class or personal training session outside. Keep in mind that every city is different, and you’ll need to check with your local government for their recommendations, permitting restrictions, and class size restrictions.
If a park doesn’t work, you may consider taking some of the parking spots in front of your studio or gym and transform that space into a training space. Each session allows a small group of people to work out while maintaining a 6-foot space of social distancing. If possible, use any easily removable or extra padded flooring to designate specific areas in your parking lot.
Depending on how large your parking area is and how many spaces you have access to, you may even be able to safely get more clients into each session while maintaining social distancing than you were in your studio/gym. This of course is a win for you and your clients. You may even notice that some of your clients who were still uncomfortable returning to indoor workouts, will feel more at ease attending an outdoor workout where they have access to more open space and fresh air.
A great bonus that comes from running your training sessions outdoors, is that you automatically create a marketing opportunity for your services. Especially if your studio/gym lives along a high traffic street or area. Use this as an opportunity to use any signage you have invested in. You may consider making a small investment in a pop-up tent in a vibrant color that will catch passerby attention. Set up a simple and easily transportable speaker system so that you can continue to play music. Use the same enthusiasm outdoors that you would be using indoors. All of this can amount to more clients and more money for your business.
Equipment for Your Outdoor Training Session or Class
Keep it simple—focus on full body and bodyweight movements that don’t require equipment.
Depending on the type of workout your studio or gym offers you may need or decide to use the equipment. If you decide to use the equipment, consider assigning each person equipment to limit exposure and be sure to have strict cleaning protocols in place. You can choose to utilize certain equipment and move it outside based on the weather in your area.
In addition to studio provided equipment, you may even consider asking your clients to bring a yoga mat or towel, especially if you will be running sessions on harder or dirtier services like in the parking lot of your gym or studio.
In the warmer months especially, you will want to remind clients to apply or bring sunblock n other skin protective measures, as well as extra water since.
Depending on your state/local guidelines, masks may still be required during outdoor workouts. Do not let this discourage you. Client’s who have already started wearing masks in your studio/gym will easily transition to wearing the mask outdoors. You will want to make sure that you as ell as any of your staff/trainers are masking up, and you may even consider purchasing a small stock of disposable masks to have ready for any clients who forget.
Tips for a successful Outdoor Training Session
The types of physical activities you choose for clients and members will depend on their likes, dislikes, and goals. You’ll also be limited by your equipment availability, but it’s your imagination that will provide your clients with their workout regimen and the excitement.
Use the environment around you as much as possible. You can have clients use bodyweight as resistance. Elastic bands are an excellent travel tool, as they take up very little packing space. You can use playground equipment for things like pole squats, step-ups, pull-ups, and cardio in between. There are always things you can do to increase or decrease the intensity of impact and non-impact exercises.
In addition to high-intensity adventure training, your clients may enjoy mind/body activities in the great outdoors. Tai chi on the beach, or Pilates and yoga in a quiet park next to a fountain. Even simple stretching and meditation in a quiet area can be a wonderful cross-training activity for those with stressful lives.
Before you head out, be sure to hydrate. Water is often the best thing to drink before and during a workout; unless you do a longer training session or sweat a great deal, you likely don’t need sugar and electrolytes until afterward, if at all.
Wear sunscreen and sunglasses. The sun may not be too intense yet, but get in the habit of protecting yourself as you start spending more time outdoors.
Make sure you have the right clothing for your workout. Take advantage of today’s breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics to help you stay dry and comfortable while you train. arena, for example, offers a range of technical sports apparel beyond swimwear, from sports bras, tops, and jackets to tights, shorts, and socks. Add a pop of color to put the winter doldrums behind you once and for all.
Also, be sure to update your software to reflect how many people are allowed to attend the class based on your local government’s guidance.
If you decide to hold classes outdoors, you may want to think about offering a live stream version of your classes, too. This will allow your at-risk customers to join the workout from their homes as well.
With the new surge of bodyweight training becoming a popular component of mainstream fitness and the “simplification” of exercise, you are in the right place at right time to offer an alternative to cramped gym-based workouts. Instead, you can offer creativity, challenge, excitement, and results as a Certified PURSUIT trainer.
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Is your re-certification coming up? Learn more about earning your CEU credits. You can find the full list of CEU courses here.
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