Get “Outside” of Your Normal Gym Routine

Springtime in East Tennessee brings many opportunities to get outside and so little time to do it.  As a personal trainer, I believe that there is always a place for a well-designed strength and conditioning program, but I encourage our clients to also look at all the trails, parks, mountains, and waterways as “nature’s gym”.  Here are some of my favorite outdoor activities along with approximately how many calories you can expect to burn (based on 150 lb. body weight). I’ve also included some of the best gym exercises you can do to better prepare for these activities so you can the most out your time in nature (and not be quite as sore the next morning).

Hiking: Because of the sustained time spent in fat-burning zones, hiking is considered to be an optimal exercise for fat loss.  Calories burned:  400/hr..  Exercises to prepare: Treadmill (use incline programs), Step-ups, Lunges, Balance exercises (try standing on BOSU while doing your upper body exercises). Where to start:  Try House Mountain near Blaine, TN or Middle Prong Trail near Tremont Institute in the Smokies.

Biking: Easy on the joints but beneficial for your cardio (and a lot of fun).  Calories burned: moderate intensity on greenway or road – 550/hr; Increase that to 575/hr. for more intense mountain biking.  Exercises to prepare: Stationary bike or spin class, Squats or wall sits, Back extensions and rows to help with posture. Add in flexibility work for your hips and shoulders too. Where to start:  The Third Creek or Maryville Greenway.  Check out Sycamore Loop at the Baker Creek Preserve in South Knoxville or Loyston Point on Norris Lake when you’re ready to try mountain biking.

Kayaking/Canoeing/SUP Boarding: Great way to see TN from the water while strengthening your core, shoulders, and arms.  Calories burned: 340/hr.  Exercises to prepare: Rowing Machine, Single-arm rows, Side planks, Twisting crunch on the Stability ball, Straight arm pull-downs with cable or resistance tubing.  Where to start:  The closest lake to you – you can rent kayaks and SUP-Boards at the Concord Park Cove and the water is usually calm since it’s well protected.

Yard work: Add to your curb appeal and lifespan while reducing your waistline.   Calories burned: 350-375/hr. for mowing grass and clearing beds.  Exercises to prepare: Dead Lifts (especially if you’re going to pull weeds or unwanted saplings up), Bird-dogs (to keep the lower back strong), 1-arm Dumbbell or Cable rows, Trunk rotations using Cables, tubing, or med ball.  Where to start:  Your yard, or visit TheKnoxvilleGardenClub.org  or KnoxGarden.org to find volunteer opportunities.   

Disc (Frisbee) Golf:  Like regular golf, without the carts, green fees, and dress code.  Calories Burned: 250-350/hr. depending on how fast you walk and how hilly the course is.  Exercises to prepare:  Trunk rotations, reverse flyes, triceps extensions.  Where to start: Admiral Farragut Park on Northshore Drive, Victor Ashe Park (4901 Bradshaw Rd.)

Interested in getting more active outside this year? Visit OutdoorKnoxville.com to learn how to get started in all of these activities. 

If you’re on Facebook, then check out the Knoxville Cycling page for updates on trail conditions, group rides, and all other things two-wheels.  If hiking is more your speed, visit the Hike the Smokies page.  The members are usually eager to help with recommendations for newbies and trail veterans alike. 

If you have any questions regarding fitness and how to get your body prepared for your next outdoor adventure, give me a call!

See you out there soon!

Andrew Henderson is the owner and operator of Fitness Together. 

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