Working out outside is a great change of pace from the usual machines and air conditioning. Here are some ideas and things to consider when training clients outside.
The Playing Field Is Different
You would be surprised how many things are different when you start training someone outside. Here’s a list, just to get your brain going:
- uneven ground – uphill or downhill
- water or loose gravel slipping hazards
- car traffic hazard
- equipment gets scuffed easily
- equipment gets dirty and needs to be cleaned
- no music
- light or no light based on time of day
- onlookers – could be creepy or embarrassing for the client
- often no place to sit – so mostly exercises on your feet
- smells from nearby restaurants or sewers
While there are more things to think about, and you may be out of your element, all of this change is actually good and makes for a unique workout experience.
Sometimes the weather is amazing and you just don’t want to pass it up.
Planning an Outdoor Workout
If you’re putting a lot of people through the workout, it takes some time to plan. Here are a few things you’ll need to work into your plan:
- type of equipment
- number of pieces of equipment
- time needed to move the equipment outside
- will others in the gym be missing said equipment?
- will modifications to the movement for some require more equipment?
- cleaning the equipment before taking it back in
- materials for cleaning
- time to clean everything up
- if you’re in a parking lot, cones may be needed to block traffic
The best outdoor workouts are simple. Don’t do anything that takes a lot of technique or skill.
Having people outside working hard is a great way to show that your fitness center is alive and active.
When potential clients are on the fence about whether or not to join a gym, this sets you apart. This is a real life demonstration of what happens inside. Any exposure you can get is good. Take advantage of this different method of reaching potential customers and show them what it would be like to work out with your facility.
Creating a Buzz With Your Clients
This is a fun way of creating a buzz.
Most of the time, my members work inside all day, then they go to the gym to work out inside. There isn’t necessarily a time where they go outside and experience fresh air.
Getting them outside and out of breath will give them gobs of fresh air!
In addition, about 35% of adults in America are deficient in vitamin D. One of the ways to increase your vitamin D is to get some sun on your skin.
If you promote your gym online, this makes for great photo opportunities.
If your clients don’t want to be put up on social media, then you can take photos of them and give it to them to show their families. Either way, it is promotion and word of mouth.
Do the Workout Yourself Beforehand
It is important to do the work yourself before you have others do it.
This is where you find out that there is some loose gravel right where you’re asking people to turn around. I once had a group do a lap outside and one of them came back with bloody hands where she fell. I inspected and there was a very camouflaged pipe sticking up about an inch out of the ground.
It may look funny walking around a parking lot and looking at the ground, but do it. It’ll save your clients some bloody hands.
By doing the workout, you’ll get a feel for how hard it is, you’ll be able to tell your clients that you did it, and it adds a little bit of competition. Many of my clients want to beat me at my workouts.
It is humbling to have your clients beat you, but congratulate the hell out of them when they do.
Outdoor Workout Ideas
Here is a list of exercises that you can combine in any way to use in an outdoor workout:
- medicine ball slams
- jump rope
- running uphill with a weighted vest
- tire flipping
- box jumps
- jumping jacks
- butt kicks
- high knees
- walking lunges
- reverse lunges
- lunges holding dumbbells
- lunges with a single arm overhead holding a dumbbell
- lunges with both arms overhead holding a barbell
- jumping lunges
- regular squats
- jumping squats
- single legged squats
- squats while holding dumbbells
- any other variation of squats
This is not a full list by any means, but you get the point. Also, none of the above have you on the ground, even your hands.
So if you pull a mat outside, you can do all manner of exercises that have you lying down on the floor. It just depends on the space you’re in and what equipment you have available.
Go off the Grid
One Saturday, I realized that I would really rather be outside hiking than in the gym.
So, I did a quick survey to see if anyone would be interested. They were.
I promoted it, set it up for the next Saturday and had 35 people hiking in the mountains about 30 minutes away from the gym. It was very fun and we all got some great photographs.
Get creative and work some deals with whatever you have nearby.
Another time, I organized a workout at a local waterpark. Beforehand, I walked around with the manager to find a location and we had a total blast. Everyone swam and ate bar-b-que afterwards.
Total. Friggin’. Blast.
You want your clients to leave slightly exhausted, happy, and with a story to tell their friends and loved ones.
They need to be reaching their fitness goals – that’s your primary target. Then, you should focus on ways to reach it and also have a blast doing it.
This is one of those things that makes the difference between a trainer who just sticks to the book and one who can think outside of the box and juggle 30 different variables at once.
It’s actually a blast being a personal trainer.