This class, despite being the least popular class on the Hope Fitness timetable, is my absolute favourite class of the week to teach. It has taken a hit since the addition of Metafit to the timetable 18 months ago, probably because it is twice as long, always outdoors and a very mixed bag of activities. Still, I love preparing and planning it and coming out three times a week to teach it.
I would say this is my bread and butter class. The type of fitness that I trained to teach, pure exercise focusing on good form, basic bodyweight exercises and cardiovascular training.
It is where it all began. So what is outdoor fitness?
The clue is in the name...it is fitness outdoors! I don't like to call it bootcamp and I don't like to call it circuits because sometimes it is not either of those things. Sometimes we do more running. Sometimes we do HIIT. Sometimes we use equipment. Sometimes we don't. We always laugh and it is alway (mostly) fun!
Although I take inspiration from other places, the workouts are mine. I have designed, planned and structured the exercises and drills that I know will work well for my group. My aim always is to deliver a total body workout that will involve; agility, cardio, strength and core. The beauty is that you never know what you are going to get when you turn up so it never gets boring.
The class starts as it should with a catch up followed by a warm up. This is usually a couple of laps around the field and some mobility drills. Sometimes I throw in a short game, love/hate to many of my members. Then comes the main workout; sometimes circuit style, sometimes pairs, sometimes chipper. We usually finish with some core work. Once a month we do a timed plank challenge and on the first Tuesday of the month we go for coffee after class.
What I love most about outdoor fitness though is the social aspect. It is the one class where you are able to work hard but at the same time have a really good gossip. We have covered many topics over the years, mainly revolving around food!
I once did a customer satisfaction survey asking clients past and present their views on the classes. One of those replies that came in said that they didn't notice they were working out and it was more like a coffee morning with friends. To this day I have no idea who made that statement but it sums up the outdoor fitness class perfectly and I have used it as a tag line ever since!
It is also the one class that I really have time to speak to and get to know individuals. The class is small and has averaged between 6-10 participants over the years so this is always possible. For this reason I find that people are more likely to make new friends which gives it more of a team-like feel to it. The solidarity is strong at outdoor fitness.
Prospective new clients often ask if I cancel the class in bad weather. The answer is always no. I have never cancelled this class due to bad weather and we have had it all; snow, ice, wind, hail, thunder, heatwave. But I could count on one hand the number of times I have got soaked through because of rain, it is very rare. The Tuesday evening class also runs when it is dark and this winter has seen record attendances despite the heavy winter we have had this year.
We are very privileged to have so much public open space in Kesgrave where I live. The field that we use is always very quiet and sheltered. It is a huge space with plenty of parking options, offers a "track" for running, and benches for dips and step ups and trees for suspension straps. Most importantly it provides a safe area for the many children and dogs that have joined us over the years. Outdoor fitness is a highlight on the school holidays calendar for our kids!
So if you been wondering about this class but have never dared to commit because of fear of the unknown, then why not come along and try it. The weather is getting warmer, the days are becoming longer, now is a great time to come along.
I dare you.