Looking back at my past training history I find that almost all workouts were done outdoors. Whether it was freezing or extremely hot, raining or snowing, you would have found me training somewhere outside and usually in weird places or unequipped parks. All these experiences taught me how to deal with rough climate and how to design my workout based on what the place and environment had to provide.
First things first, everything starts with a training plan. Once you have that covered up, you must think about and locate some places that can provide you with the infrastructure needed for your requirements. One of the best advantages that calisthenics or street fitness offers is that you can always use anything around you as a great tool to train with. On most occasions you will need nothing more than a decently level surface; but on other occasions, you will have to seek for the something extra perfect.
Look for Isolated and Weird Training Spots
Most of you may be lucky enough to have some nice Street Workout parks available at your disposal. For everyone else, myself included, you will have to find several spots that provide some tools that you can use to train with convenience. Try to see beyond aesthetics and seek something that will fit your fitness goals primarily rather than looking pleasing to the eye and nothing else.
Lookup for abandoned buildings or isolated places because they usually offer great possibilities. For instance, I have found an isolated and creepy building with stairs and obstacles to jump on. There are no people nearby and it also has a roof that keeps me dry during rainy days. I go there every time I want to train my legs by jumping on stairs and over high obstacles.
Besides that, it also has a concrete beam where I can do pullups using my fingertips to hang from. The metal fence that you can see down below also serve as a great dip station where I can do my dips. Just watch the videos down below to see the spot I am talking about:
For me, it is very important to train into places similar to this one. It usually brings out my creativity and helps me come up with some great exercises.
Train at Places that Inspire You
Many of my videos on our YouTube channel were recorded in the countryside. I spent a great time over there when I was a kid. The place not only provides some great unconventional equipment, but it also puts me into a meditative mood as I am in touch with nature.
You may not have a place in the countryside as I do, but you can look up for the ones that will inspire you. Seek a place where you can find silence and maybe hear the birds singing because training is also about enjoying the moment.
Nearby surroundings will always provide everything you need for a great training session. I have also used kids’ playgrounds as my own training playgrounds. Instead of making them feel weird about me intruding their place, I try to be friendly and inspire them to do the same. Some of them actually copied my moves and this is a great feeling, I can tell you that!
Outdoor training will make you feel a lot better and help you recover faster because of the better oxygen. Besides your own body which is also your own gym, you will only need a couple of improvisations in order to do dips and pull-ups.
All the long-distance runs can be done anywhere in the city or in the woods. For doing some sprints you can find an improvised track and if you cannot a hill will serve the purpose just as well. So you cannot make excuses! Some of you may be fortunate enough to have a decent and/or modern athletic field. The athletic field in my city is extremely outdated and lacks proper equipment, apart from some calisthenics bars.
Believe me or not, but I have been training in such conditions for years. I do not care if I get water in my shoes as long as I can properly grip the bars and do my exercises. I really think that an experience like mine will help you understand the importance of outdoor training way more than I ever will.
The places themselves teach you about how to approach and design a training plan. This wisdom will help each and every time you change the environment you are living in. You might go on a vacation and there will be no gym available, nor any specific place for fitness. A little bit of experience will help you create a training plan on the spot. Or maybe you will find yourself on a beach or on a mountain and thirsting to do some calisthenics. Without prior experience, it will most likely skip your mind that you can manage to do a truly great training session right there. And that too why? Just because you have never placed yourself into that kind of situation before.
Depending on where you live, you might have to deal with extreme temperatures and maybe short daylights too. To train outside for an entire year is hard and it will require some sacrifices about which I will talk below.
The Importance of Training in Cold Weather
Climate has a strong impact on our state of mind. More precisely: air pressure, humidity, temperatures, and daylight will affect us every time. A lot of the mood swings that I can remember have occurred because of a climate which ultimately affected my performance.
This will bring out a lot of anger and frustration to you as my experience has shown me. This is also exactly why you should learn how to cool down and surpass such situations. Surmounting such obstacles is important as I believe cold weather training prepares your body for everyday activities as well.
Now, calisthenics is a sport that lies at the very foundation of every other physical discipline. But, you can choose to do it indoor or outdoor. If you think that it is not important where you train, then that is a point where you are wrong. If you are a mountain rescuer, a fireman or a police officer, then training indoors will not bring you as many benefits as outdoor training will. You must simulate similar weather conditions like the ones you are going to deal with in real life in such scenarios to truly adapt well.
For instance, a friend of mine, Alberto, who is a mountain rescuer, patrols the mountains and ski tracks. In case of an emergency, he must be able to move his own bodyweight, his heavy equipment and also to endure extreme weather conditions. To top it all, he might also need to carry the person he wants to save. As part of his training, he climbs the rocks and does a lot of hiking. But that is insufficient for what is required from him, so he also trains with me as well.
Compound and basic calisthenics merged with my training methods helped him become a lot stronger and endure rough conditions in a better manner. He trains intensely and does it outside because his body and mind need to be prepared for extreme conditions. He could never have gotten the same results while training indoors.
His tale highlights the advantages of training in cold and harsh conditions, and I will also summarize them down here:
- Your muscles tend to recover faster during break time
- The lungs will increase their adaptability to breathe cold air
- Your immune system will be improved over time
- You will no longer have a cold sensation when you step out of the house
- During winters you will be able to maintain an optimal body temperature
- It will prepare you mentally and physically for life or maybe even your job
Dress in layers and wear a cap and gloves to protect yourself from cold. Stay comfortable and if it gets really cold, then don’t undress by all means. Before stepping outside, do a set of pushups and squats to increase blood circulation. It will also help you warm-up faster before working out.
Do Jumping Jacks, skip rope, or even some jogging to warm-up properly. It will require a lot more time than during the warm season.
An intense outdoor workout, while the temperature is below zero, will require a lot more resources than usual. Ensure that your electrolytic levels are good and eat sufficient macronutrients.
For rainy days, if you cannot train underneath a roof, then just wear something that is waterproof. Don’t stay wet if it’s too cold or if you are not comfortable because you might get sick afterward. During summers though, things are different as the rains are a lot warmer.
Face the Hottest Temperatures
The major problem with the hottest periods is dehydration and the fact that your electrolytic levels can be dramatically decreased through sweating and by exercising too much.
Electrolytes are certain nutrients present in our body that have many important functions, from regulating the heartbeat to allowing our muscles to contract. The major ones include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate, and chloride. We can obtain them by eating different foods and drinking certain fluids. The way we lose them is through exercise, sweat, and even urine.
To avoid deficiencies, just eat a variety of vegetables and fruits, and drink sufficient amount of water. A deficiency usually comes from a poor diet that’s high in processed foods, which contain lots of sodium. Focus your diet around whole foods. The best sources are:
- Leafy greens
- Cruciferous veggies (such as broccoli or cabbage)
- Starches (such as sweet potatoes, squash, chickpeas, and beans)
- Whole grains
Fluids containing electrolytes are commonly consumed by athletes during or after training. You can supplement with it if want to; nothing harmful will happen to you. Limit the consumption of water during your workouts. Never let yourself get thirsty, but don’t swallow large amounts of water, either. Consume a generous amount of water before working out.
Avoid sun exposure during the hottest hours of the summer. Starting from July and up until September, I try to train late in the evenings. You can do it early in the morning or even in the woods, surrounded by trees where you get plenty of shadows and fresh air. There, the temperature will also be lower.
Training outdoor during the hottest season is physically very demanding. Nutrition and fluids are the most important ones. As opposed to the cold season where you need slightly more macronutrients, during hot season -your diet should be containing a lot more fruits and vegetables. But this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to eat them during cold periods. The only real difference lies in their quantities after all. Especially, focus more on seasonal fruits and vegetables. As a conclusion to my article, I will share an answer given to a friend who used to train with me outside on several occasions. He once asked me that he cannot understand why it is harder to do the same sets of bodyweight dips here than it is in the gym. He was actually wondering why the same exercise and same rep ranges are a lot harder to perform outdoor than indoor. My answer was this:
During cold season the body gets slightly stiffer and it makes mastery of calisthenics a lot more difficult than it actually is. It requires a better warm-up and even a greater ambition to finish what you have started.
I think that if you work or simply move around in outdoor environments every day, then training with calisthenics in the open will toughen you up for good and get your body more prepared for challenges of life.
Proof Read by Winner Nehra