The recent months have been full of change for me, one of which being the switching of my personal training business from the Orange County area to the Los Angeles area, what a difference! In the midst of training for an upcoming bodybuilding show in September, my diet and cardio have had to become exponentially more strict and intense. Just like many of you out there, I too dread the thought of waking up to an hour of Stairmaster or treadmill training, particularly before breakfast. Who wouldn’t want to start off with a nice stack of strawberry pancakes and a t-bone steak from the nearest IHOP! Alas, it’s not going to happen for me, at least for now. But the one thing that I can do, and it’s something I wanted to share with all of you, is the ability to change up my boring cardio routine, all with the help of my new location in Los Angeles. You see, there’s nothing like getting in a good workout in an environment that motivates you and gives you the thrill and exhilaration that you won’t find in any indoor gym. By taking my workout outdoors, I’ve been able to eliminate the dreaded hour of morning cardio staring at the clock, watching the seconds tick by. Here, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite environments, all nearby in beautiful Los Angeles.
For those of you that enjoy the beach, nothing beats a morning workout near the beautiful California coast in Santa Monica. Near the Santa Monica pier there is an area complete with rings, pull up and push up stations, a rope to climb, as well as room for many other exercises. For me, I like to begin my work out on the rings, work my way through the bar, and finish it off with a grueling rope climb that challenges my upper body strength like nothing else in any indoor gym. After repeating this circuit 4 times, I complete my workout with a 2-3 mile run on the shore, enjoying the coastal breeze and the sound of crashing waves distracting me from my body’s physical stress.
Next, I’d like to mention the one and only UCLA stadium which is open to the public. I enjoy coming here on weekends because nothing beats a hardcore workout in the college campus of one of our very own LA sports champions. Starting off with 8 sets of 100 yard sprints with a 1 minute rest in between sets, I get my heart rate going to prepare for the intensity yet to come. I then strap on a weighted vest and head for the stairs. Half way up the stairs, and back down for a total of 10 tiring sets. Does it hurt…HECK YES! But the results are beyond worth it. The bars and ropes at the end of the football field conclude my work out here with about 3 circuits. For those of you that are just beginning, start off at a slower pace, this is an advanced workout and to prevent injury, listen to your own body.
Lastly, here’s an activity that we all can remember enjoying as kids, plain and simple bike riding. There’s nothing quite like the simplicity of riding a bicycle, something that for many of us can take us back to pleasant childhood memories of the days when we had not a care in the world. As children, many of us ride bikes for hours on end, never watching the clock to see when it would be time to stop, and most of us not finding it tiring or physically draining. I thought to myself, why ride a bike in a stuffy gym when I can buy a real bike and pedal away with the scenery of downtown Los Angeles beside me. With a good mp3 player and my new bike, my 7 am cardio session flew by me before I even knew it! Since my first ride, I can’t help but get my cycling in twice a week, you simply can’t get over the excitement!
We see now that you don’t have to live near green pastures, forests or mountains to get a good quality outdoor workout. Whether you live in Los Angeles or New York City, the metropolitan areas give us plenty of opportunities to challenge ourselves physically and mentally. No longer do we have to think that in order to get a good workout you MUST go visit a gym, this isn’t the case. As with anything else, repetitiveness gets old and the last thing you want is to get bored and tired of exercising. The environment you place yourselves in for your workouts will make a huge difference in your mental state which will eventually affect your intensity in your workouts. I challenge you all to take a look around your local surroundings and find a way for you to challenge yourself physically outside of your local gym. For those of you in the LA area, I highly recommend the locations mentioned above. Take a step out of your comfort zone and get out there like our great ancestors once did and have some fun!