Next time you head outside for a walk or run, I challenge you to utilize the world around you and create a circuit of sorts in between all that cardio. Think about what you do in the gym (or in the privacy of your own home) and then find ways to do the same outside by simply using anything and everything at your fingertips. Or toes, depending on how you wish to look at it. I went for a run yesterday morning and took our camera with me. Here's what I found:
Steps! Of course it's fairly easy to run or walk down a flight, but pause and turn around for a set of calf raises for extra burn. Then lean into a railing or one of the higher steps and do a set of inclined pushups to hit your chest muscles. And when you get to the bottom, turn around and head back up.
Running or walking up a flight of stairs is no jolly romp through the park as I'm sure you already know. The steps above kick my butt every time. Literally. Going up a flight of steps calls on your glutes and your hamstrings intensely—also your ticker, so be careful. Break up the return trip with a pause for more calf raises and inclined pushups, then giddyup to the top. As you continue your walk or run, keep an eye out for a playground.
Channel your inner kid (or monkey) and go from bar to bar for an upper body workout. Hang from a single bar and target your back and biceps with pull-ups if you can, then target your abs with with knee raises. You can also use any ladders or platforms for tricep dips. Even hip abductions, calf raises, elevated lunges...your options are virtually endless! Sometimes, however, playground equipment isn't the right height. And that's where a picnic bench comes into play.
You may find that a picnic bench is your best option for tricep dips, and you can easily channel your inner Step Queen (or King) with some step-ups. Then, sit on the edge of the bench or tabletop to hit your abs with v-ups. (Tuck your legs into your chest then straighten them out in front of you. Tuck back in and repeat.) And of course, you can always do another set of inclined pushups. Or, to make it more advanced, put your feet on the bench and your hands on the grass for a declined pushup.
And speaking of grass, never forget that it's Mother Nature's yoga mat. Find an excellent patch of it somewhere with a view and get some stains doing ab work, pushups...it's another place where your options are virtually endless.
Being in a gym certainly has its benefits, but if you're lacking motivation or need to up the ante, nothing beats some fun in the sun. Mother Nature has a lot to offer, including fresh air and Vitamin D. And at your age, you probably don't need your parents' permission to play outside—so go play outside already!