Even the most dedicated gym rat can be tempted to break out of the CrossFit box on a beautiful summer day. So, to help make sure you don’t break your workout routine, we turned to three Fairfield County personal trainers for their advice on making the most of al fresco fitness. Here’s what they had to say.
MAKE IT A GROUP EFFORT
“We organize a lot of group runs and rides here; we find it’s a great way to get people engaged in a fitness community,” says DOUG SCHWARTZ, a Stamford-based trainer and founder of ENDURANCE HOUSE in Norwalk. “People really enjoy the companionship and motivation that can come from working out with other people, and when fitness is fun, it leads to more consistency.” If you can’t trek to Norwalk to meet with an Endurance House group, he suggests forming a sport-specific group of your own and up the fitness ante by committing to shared goals. “If you normally walk four miles a night, take one night a week where you agree to add on an extra mile,” Schwartz suggests. “Or get together once a week for an extended walk or run. Walk from the beach, head north and then meet somewhere for brunch. Turn that really tough workout into a social event.”
BEAT THE HEAT
Heading outdoors in summer heat requires extra hydration, but Doug Schwartz advises against sport drinks. Instead, to avoid added sugar and calories, try adding an electrolyte- boosting tablet into a water bottle to replenish and rehydrate. He recommends Nuun electrolyte- enhanced tablets.
To avoid heat-related illnesses, Kimberly Nuzie suggests opting for early morning or late-day sessions and hydrating before, during and after workouts.
PLAY A GAME
ROB TRACZ of COMBINE TRAINING in Greenwich is also a fan of group dynamics but suggests organizing impromptu games of Wiffle ball or basketball, or tossing a Frisbee to get out of a fitness rut. Games “force us to move, and into different positions and ranges of motion we might not normally experience,” he says. Playing a game you don’t usually play also forces your body to adapt, which Tracz says builds endurance, strength and stamina. You’ll end up with a “healthier and more durable body than you started with.”
HIT THE BEACH
Parks and beaches are nature’s gyms and great places to rev up an existing routine, says KIMBERLY NUZIE, a Fairfield-based personal trainer affiliated with THE EDGE fitness studio in Fairfield and the new J FITNESS on the Fairfield/Bridgeport line. Use the beach sand to execute “some killer leg exercises,” since walking or jogging in the sand is more taxing. But add walking lunges, jump squats, burpees, mountain climbers and side shuffles. “They will have you really feeling the burn because of the uneven sand terrain, which creates natural resistance,” she explains.
Nuzie says you can do similar moves in a park, adding upper body elements, such as tricep dips using a bench. Bring your yoga mat along for some before-and-after stretching.
If time and distance allow, Nuzie recommends biking, running or walking to the beach or park for a jump start. “If you have to drive, warm up before you get going,” she says. Start with ten minutes of high knee raises, jumping jacks, and marching or jogging in place.
FIT FOR FREE
Check out the free fitness at Mill River Park and Harbor Point. Held weekday evenings and weekend mornings, classes are led by area trainers. Every fitness level is covered so no excuses. Visit millriverpark.org and harborpt.com.
Photographs courtesy of trainers