Doing outdoor calisthenics training brings numerous advantages as I discovered over the past years. 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 could find me training somewhere outside and, on many occasions, in weird places or unequipped parks.
All these experiences taught me to deal with rough climate and design my workout based on what the place and environment had to provide.
Most of you may be lucky enough to have close outdoor fitness parks available at your disposal. For everyone else, myself included, you will have to find spots that provide the tools necessary for training. 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.
Luckily, over the years, I managed to install a dip station and a pull-up bar in my backyard. I also bought some more equipment to extend my training possibilities.
Outdoor Calisthenics Training Everywhere
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.
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. All the long-distance runs can be done anywhere in the city or on trails.
For 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 or modern athletic field. The athletic field in my city is outdated and lacks proper equipment, apart from some calisthenics bars.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 tenaciously grip the bar and do my exercises.
The places themselves teach you about how to approach and design a training plan. This wisdom will help every time you change the environment.
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 a mountain and thirst to do some calisthenics. Without prior experience, it will most likely skip your mind that you can manage to do an excellent training session right there.
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 substantial 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 that ultimately affected my performance.
Surmounting such obstacles is crucial 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. It would help if you simulated similar weather conditions like the ones you are going to deal with in real life in such scenarios to truly adapt well.
I highlight some of the advantages of training in cold and harsh conditions:
- 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
- You burn body fat when you stay in freezing temperatures
- It prevents sickness. I can’t recall the last time I caught a cold.
Dress in layers and wear a cap and gloves to protect yourself from cold. Stay comfortable, and if it gets icy, 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 proper 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.
Facing 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.
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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 it if want to. 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, and continuous movement to keep the body warm. During the 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. It’s just a lot harder training outdoors!