In high school, nearly every sport and physical activity I did was outside, from cross country running, to skiing and hiking. As a result, I rarely set foot in a gym, and when I worked out inside, it was usually in a yoga studio. One of the most difficult parts of moving to New York for me has been it’s lack of trails. Everyone I know has a gym membership, and while I will likely have to join one within the next few months when it becomes too cold to run outside, in the meantime, I’m making the best out of the New York great outdoors and creating my own workout plans with the help of the city (and great apps).
Use your environment. Cities are filled with natural “workout machines” like park benches, stairs, ledges, and pull-up bars. With a little creativity, you can get nearly as much from these “machines” as you can from your gym’s. Use the bench to do step-ups, tricep dips, and push-ups with your feet on the bench. Do stair repeats every time you pass a set, and challenge yourself to a sixty second plank every time you pass a ledge or flat spot of ground.
Use apps. One of the other side effects of doing so many sports in high school and college is that I’m very reliant on a coach telling me what to do. While I’m able to create my own workout routine, I prefer someone guiding me through it. I’ve been using the Nike Training Club app for years for strength training, and recently discovered the Yoga Studio app, which provides guided yoga practice when you have an extra fifteen minutes in your day but can’t make it to the studio.
Ditch the treadmill. If you refuse to abandon your BowFlex for park benches, try to get your cardio outdoors. There have been several studies that reveal that running and cycling outside have better benefits than their indoor alternatives. Before heading out, check a map and plan your route – I always find that I run faster and longer when I’m confident in where I’m going. The Nike Running app is also great for checking your progress and giving you mileage and mile time updates.