In Ontario, gyms are still required to take their fitness programs outside. We are allowed a maximum of ten people in our group classes. I have personal training clients that I take outside as well. As Fitness professionals we have to adapt to the current situation. While it’s great to be out enjoying the beautiful weather, it’s not always sunshine and blue skies.
Here are a few pros and cons that I’ve experienced:
- Weather: You have days that are super warm which makes it uncomfortable for clients to work outside. For our group classes we decided to start at 8:45 am. It is much cooler at this time of day which means it’s much safer for our clients. I normally try to schedule my personal training clients during cooler parts of the day. Before noon is best and after four in the evening is preferred.
- Fitness Level: I’ve worked with my clients for many years. A beginner exerciser is less conditioned in general. Taking someone out in the heat is a recipe for disaster. You really have to keep things simple. Keep your training sessions to half an hour until your client improves. Select a limited number of exercises. Increase time and difficulty of exercise as the person becomes more conditioned.
- Location, location, location: Safety is always a priority. When you take a client outdoors there are many safety hazards to consider. Un-level ground cause typical injuries such as a twisted ankle. You have to be super vigilant and ensure the outdoor space is free of any visible safety hazards.
- Transporting equipment: I keep it super simple! I have a bucket full of my necessities such as battle ropes, agility ladders and light free weights. It’s a pain when you have to transport a bunch of equipment but it’s doable. Take what you need and be creative! You’d be surprised what you can do with very little equipment.
- Keep it cool: When we’re exercising outside, a typical complaint is that it’s too hot. This is an excellent example of why someone wouldn’t come to a class. You have to schedule classes at a cooler time of day. For example we also use misting bottles to spray people. It cools them down immediately. This is a low cost way of ensuring people’s safety. We put up umbrellas as well for those who prefer to work in the shade.
Now that we’ve moved our workouts outside, the feedback has been positive. We have allotted ten spaces with the appropriate distance between. People use their own equipment and we wipe it down after use. This ensures a safe experience with the benefit of social interaction. As a trainer you can adapt easily and make it work with your clients.
Lauren is the former manager of All Fit All Ages Gym in Port Perry, Ontario and a personal trainer with over 20 years experience. She is also a freelance writer and contributor to The Scugog Standard with a featured column “Movement for Life”.