We asked Mary Beth Knight, an ACE- and AFAA-certified CEC provider, creator of the muscle bar and founder of Fit Revolution, for her tips on how to get fit this fall.
Bored with your daily jog? Check with your local park system to locate parks in your area with fitness trails. This growing trend allows families and groups to work out together while having fun and getting some fresh air. “Fitness trails are usually anywhere from one to five miles in length and along the route have four to 12 fitness stations or obstacles where you can follow the direction board and perform lunges, squats, push-ups or use the outdoor equipment,” explains Knight.
Fitness boot camp classes in parks have been steadily gaining popularity over the past few years, but Knight says they aren’t a summer-only activity. “Many of these classes use what Mother Nature provided to sculpt and slim the body,” she tells us. “A typical outdoor boot camp experience might involve running hills or trails, climbing trees, swinging on the monkey bars and other high-intensity exercises using your body weight and obstacles such as fallen trees.” Some boot camps even encourage dog owners to bring their furry friends along with them.
Hot yoga might not seem like the best bet for sweltering summer weather, but now is a great time to try out this challenging form of yoga. “Cooler fall temperatures are driving yogis all over the country into the heat. Hot yoga studios are popping up all over the country and many fitness facilities are cranking on the heat themselves to heat the body in an effort to gain flexibility, flush toxins and alleviate stress,” says Knight. “One word of caution: Those who have never done yoga should participate in a regular class prior to trying hot yoga, and pregnant women and those with heart conditions or uncontrolled high blood pressure should seek advice from their medical professionals prior to attending.”
Running and walking group attendance is increasing across the country, but this fall they’re getting a little more interesting. “Glow groups are growing in popularity: Runners and walkers meet for their group adventure, but instead of fading into the crowd they are encouraged to make themselves shine,” says Knight. “Popular trends for increasing visibility come from clothing that has a 360-degree reflective approach, meaning that the front, back and sides of clothing have reflective materials sewn in. Runners and walkers are also buying up and donning glow sticks at a pretty rapid pace,” she explains.
Glow groups are just taking off and they’re not everywhere yet. Knight suggests searching online for local run/walk groups in your area. “If none of them are already lighting the night, then I suggest you head to the dollar store, pick up a few dozen cheap glow sticks and head to your run group,” she says. “Start the trend yourself if it hasn't found your hometown yet. We all need a little something to make running more fun.”
Just because summer is over and the pools are closing doesn’t mean triathlon season has to come to an end. “Indoor triathlons are taking off like wildfire. Many fitness clubs with pools have started offering indoor triathlon series,” says Knight. “While clubs may run them differently, here is a common format for the event: 10-minute swim, 30-minute cycle, 20-minute treadmill run; he or she who covers the most distance overall wins.” The largest series is held by Life Time Fitness. If you don't find one in your area, head to your gym and ask them to start one.
Cardio is important, but don’t forget about strength training. This fall, it’s time to start pumping iron, advises Knight. “Classes are hitting an all-time record high in attendance and for good reason; it can completely change your body in just a few short months,” she says. “Some of the most popular varieties are CrossFit and kettlebell classes, but a word to the wise: CrossFit is tough stuff so make sure you have a good cardiovascular fitness base as well as four to six weeks of weight training under your belt before diving in.”
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