Friday, November 8, 2013

Dark Out Workout

Welp, the hands of clocks all across America fell back this weekend. That means dark commutes, chillier days and holiday craziness are upon us. After-work-exercisers like myself are faced with some major changes to their routine. As sunlight lessens and temperatures cool, it is common to feel a need to retreat indoors for exercise or lose motivation all together. Stay strong! Exercise is extremely important for your health, both mentally and physically. Regular exercises improves mood, lessens, anxiety, improves focus, helps regulate blood sugar, revs your metabolism, improves digestion and overall just makes you feel good!  We've all talked ourselves out of it though on that cold evening that you can't bear venturing back out into. Or because the Housewives of this that or the other city is on repeat... And how do we end up feeling? Pretty crappy. Especially when you remember that sexy dress you want to wear to the holiday party in a couple days. Don't let any housewife or the changing clocks jeopardize your health or your happiness! Stay focused and stay committed. Joining a gym can be a great way to find motivation and a sense of community. But gyms get awfully crowded during this time of year as the early sunsets force the herds back onto their sweaty hamster wheels. They can also be rather expensive, an added stress that nobody needs right around the gift-giving season.

My advice: Save your money and ditch the gym this year. 

Instead, grab your boyfriend, wife, mom, or best friend and take a drive around your neighborhood at [the new] nighttime. Locate some well lit areas: parks, soccer fields, school parking lots, housing developments. Pick out a few that look promising ( Some things I look for: flat area, maybe some grass, a field with painted lines, stairs, benches, bleachers). These will be your new gyms! There won't be any weight machines, treadmills or stretching mats; you'll need to get creative! The only grassy patch over there will be your stretching area. The distance between this light pole and that trash can 100 yards away will be where you sprint. 3 laps of this general will be your warm up and cool down and this flat area here will be where the rest happens! It will be chilly for the first few minutes, but if you invest in some warm gear like SmartWool running sock and a good hat you'll be warmed up in a matter of minutes and feeling awesome! As you get into it and see areas where you could use more of a challenger, consider adding some easy-to-make sandbags to your routine or pick up a weighted vest or set of ankle and wrist weights. Use your body, its own weight and your surroundings to work your muscles. Instead of breathing in sweaty-recycled air in a gym, breath the cool crisp air of fall and winter. Some argue you will actually get a better workout because there is more oxygen available! Save the 30-70 dollars a month you would spend on a gym and put it towards your vacation next summer, a weekend winter getaway, cute new (warm) gear or holiday gifts. My absolute favorite thing about working out this way though is I never ever get bored! 

Some days we go to a soccer field and take turns sprinting until we can't sprint any longer. 

Other days we hit up a base ball field, set a number, like 30, and take turns calling out exercises "Burpees!" "Squats!" "Pushups!" "Bear Crawl!".. and so on.

And others we jus head out for a nice light jog.

This was our workout from last night. We ran one mile to a church/school parking lot that is very well lit, worked out, and ran the one mile back. 

Warm Up
1 Mile Run


Set A

10 Pushups
30 4-Count Overhead Arm Claps
10 Pushups
20 Buddy Shoulder Press
10 Pushups
20 Tricep Dips
10 Pushups

Buddy Sprint Intervals

Buddy 1 Sprints Down & Back
Buddy 2 Sprints Down & Back

Buddy 1 Sprints Down & Back
Buddy 2 Sprints Down & Back

Buddy 1 Power Skips Down / Sprints Back
Buddy 2 Power Skips Down / Sprints Back

Buddy 1 Karaoke Down & Back
Buddy 2 Karaoke Down & Back

Buddy 1 Jog Down / Run Backwards Back
Buddy 2 Jog Down / Run Backwards Back

Buddy 1 Sprints Down & Back
Buddy 2 Sprints Down & Back


Set B

25 Sit-Ups
1 Minute Plank
25 4-Count Bicycle
1 Minute Plank
25 4 Count-Flutter Kicks
1 Minute Plank

Buddy Sprint Intervals

Buddy 1 Sprints Down & Back
Buddy 2 Sprints Down & Back

Buddy 1 Sprints Down & Back
Buddy 2 Sprints Down & Back

Buddy 1 Power Skips Down / Sprints Back
Buddy 2 Power Skips Down / Sprints Back

Buddy 1 Karaoke Down & Back
Buddy 2 Karaoke Down & Back

Buddy 1 Jog Down / Run Backwards Back
Buddy 2 Jog Down / Run Backwards Back

Buddy 1 Sprints Down & Back
Buddy 2 Sprints Down & Back

Set C

50 Walking Lunges (25 ea. side)
25 Squats
1 Minute Buddy Wall Squat (back-2-back)
25 Calf Raises (toes forward)
25 Calf Raises (toes pointing out)
25 Calf Raises (toes pointing in)
25 Squats
50 Uphill Walking Lunges (25 ea. side)

Cool Down
1 Mile Run


I hope this post serves as some inspiration and motivation to you as we dive head first into these chilly darker months! Please share with anyone who may enjoy be struggling with the time change and how its affecting their workout routine. And do share your own suggestions and ideas in the comment box below! I love hearing from you!

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