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Outdoor training: always a different workout

Article written in collaboration with Maxime Beaudry, Merrell technical representative and trail runner extraordinaire.

So you’re looking for a place to work out that’s affordable and spacious? You’d like a gym that will keep you motivated all year long? Then slip on your running shoes and start exploring the nature outside your front door!

There’s no need to live way out in the country to get your dose of fresh air. A wooded area, a park, or the facilities at a public garden or playground will do to get your entire body moving and free your mind too. With a few simple, practical pointers, your new workout routine might just be under the open skies. Why not give it a go?

Keep motivated

It’s a common story: you were super-motivated during the first few weeks of your gym membership, but now running under neon lights is not so inspiring. You’re not alone. Loss of motivation is the top reason for giving up on working out.

Out in nature, on the other hand, the light is natural and the landscape is always changing. Your body and mind have to adapt each time, which means every workout is a new challenge. Whether it’s hot, rainy or snowing, your body responds differently to the exercises you put it through. Unlike a gym regimen, no workout is identical, so it’s impossible to get bored.

Plus, instead of ending your session by stepping on the scale, why not look forward to a magnificent view? If your objective is to arrive at nice place, like a lookout or an animal reserve, you’ll find it easier to push yourself a little harder.

Be creative

All you need is a bit of imagination to put together a complete workout without traditional gym equipment. Find a big tree with a strong enough branch to support your weight, and you can do some inverse rowing, or even chin-ups if it’s high enough.

A simple park bench can also be used for a number of exercises: try elevated push-ups or bench dips for toned, well-defined arms. If there’s no tree or bench around, simply use your own body weight. Get down on the ground and work your abs while enjoying the sweet sensation of laying in the grass!

Finish off with gentle yoga, as being in contact with nature will make you more aware of your body and therefore maximise your workout.

If you like group workouts, TrekFit is a great option: an open-air gym that gives you access to quality facilities that are open to everybody.

Choose your shoes well

Having the appropriate footwear is essential for working out in general, and even more so when it comes to outdoor training. Your ankles, arches and knees will all absorb more shocks, especially when running, so you need the right shoes to protect them.

Merrell is the specialist in outdoor athletic footwear, and the brand offers a number of options to choose from to go with both your workout and your specific stride. Their Agility Peak Flex model, for example, is ideal for trail running. Its crampons give increased traction on wet or dry pathways, so if you like working out in the rain, this model is for you.  

The Bare Access Flex model is light and enveloping, ideal if you’re running on rough terrain and if you’re a fan of a “bare foot” feel. Trail Gloves have a similar feel with a little more technology to enable you to go further in your running: for regular outdoor joggers, they’re an excellent choice.

Quebec’s best outdoor workouts in breathtaking nature

The province is in fact mostly made up of forests and parks, so set out and explore your neck of the woods. You don’t have to be way out in the middle of nowhere to have all-natural fun!

  • In Montreal, Mount Royal gives you the great outdoors right in the middle of the city. If you’re a beginner, the easy slope that winds around the mountain can get your heart pumping moderately, and it pays off with its view of the city when you get to the top.
  • In Quebec City, the Plains of Abraham together with the tons of stairs everywhere that link the upper and lower portions of the capital add up to a complete workout. Take the little paths for more variety.
  • In the Laurentians, regional park Val-David-Val-Morin is the reference for outdoor sports lovers. With more technical trails and flatter paths, both beginners and experts will find their match. You can even do some climbing.
  • For Canada’s 150th anniversary, access to all national parks is free. Slip on your athletic gear and go discover the country at your own pace.

Nature has no equal when it comes to offering one-of-a-kind moments: don’t wait for the perfect conditions to get outside and take in the fresh air. Try it rain or shine!

Whether you work out alone or with others, nature will help you overcome your obstacles to training. Simply be creative, and never forget to have fun.