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Get some fresh air: a simple outdoor circuit workout to do today!

Mar 18, 2020

Outdoor Circuit Workout

Goood morning fam! 

Welcome to our first Wednesday in the upside-down. ????(Kidding but not really.) 

I’m going to be straight with you––it’s been really hard to focus on creating content this week. I know I just need to give it time and that eventually we will all adjust to a new normal, but for now, it’s been easier for me to focus on refreshing existing content that I can tweak and adjust that will be super helpful for you as we navigate this change in lifestyle. I hope that’s okay with you! (Kendall and I are also working on updating our best books, best binge-worthy shows, and a ton of other crowdsourced recommendations to make your self quarantining more fun!) 

For me, one nice thing to look forward to every day is getting outside, and I thought this post that originally went live last summer is more helpful now more than ever! I know things are changing quickly, but right now, going for walks and working out outdoors is still permissible even in cities with “shelter in place” ordinances. 

Luckily, Chicago has no shortage of great places to run! (Humboldt Park is my favorite, and I love the 606 but I would only head there at off-times as it gets crowded and it’s important to adhere to the 6 feet apart rule).

To have something to tack onto my outdoor runs, I asked Neal (Mr. Gym Rat–er, former Gym Rat) to devise me a SIMPLE “outdoor circuit” workout, if you will, that is easy to remember and implement, yet an effective full-body workout, that you can do anywhere with just bodyweight! 

So next time you need a “no excuses” workout–or you just need a simple workout you can do anywhere–whether that’s indoors, or out, you can refer back to this post! 

Outdoor Circuit Workout

Outdoor run: 

Lace up those Gerries ????Let’s kick off with a run!! 

You can really divvy this up however you want, but I think it works well to split your run in half, and do this circuit workout in the middle–for example, if you want to run 3 miles, run 1.5 miles, do this circuit workout, then run 1.5 miles home. (I tend to get bored running for TOO long, so this works best for me MENTALLY speaking–but you can totally run in between each circuit, do it at the end, etc.) Make sure to warm up with a brisk walk for about 5 minutes prior to starting your run! 

I usually try to shoot for about 3-4 miles myself, and definitely think it’s helpful to have a “destination” in mind when running–if I don’t have a plan, it’s harder for me to keep going, because I’m constantly looking at my phone like, “has it been 2 miles yet!?” That being said, picking a park to run to that is about your halfway point from your house works great, in my experience! (Or simply knowing that X laps around the park is X miles, etc). Basically, what I’m saying is–have a plan! 

Let’s talk about the 6 feet apart rule

I would also like to call out that adhering to the “6 feet distance” rule is REALLY important when you are outside right now. I’m not going to lie, I want to scream at people in the park who have absolutely no regard to this rule. Kids playing in packs on the jungle gym, people walking and running inches by you on the sidewalk when they could’ve easily run widely around you off the sidewalk. PLEASE do not ruin the privilege we currently have of being able to go outside––other countries aren’t allowed to leave their homes without permits and risk punishment by law if they violate these rules. Why? Because people weren’t listening. I know it sucks, but please make the responsible choice. It’s not about you, it’s about all of us. 

Now that I’ve hopefully made my point, let’s get into the circuit workout. 

Simple Outdoor Park Bench Circuit Workout: 

When you’re ready to start your circuit portion, grab a park bench (or in my case, a picnic table!) and work through these moves. Do each exercise with little to no rest in between. Repeat this circuit 3 times through. If 20 reps is too many for you, feel free to adjust to suit your needs! 

Bring antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer:

I have both stashed in my pocket every time I go outside. Wipe down whatever surface you’re using before and after (the after being a courtesy to others) and make sure to apply your hand sanitizer when you’re finished. I also have been wearing cotton gloves (just like regular gloves) but I have no idea if this actually does anything in the way of protection. Go straight to the sink to wash your hands when you get home. 

Now, let’s get to the circuit workout! 

20 Bench Push Ups: 

Simple Park Bench Circuit Workout

Place your hands on the edge of the bench or table (that you’ve wiped down with an antibacterial wipe) a little bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Start with your torso at arms length with your toes on the ground. Slowly lower yourself downward until your chest nearly touches the bench. Repeat 19 more times. For an extra challenge, do power push ups–pushing yourself quickly off the bench with each rep (to where your hands come fully off the bench with each rep). 

20 squats followed by 20 squat pulses: 

Outdoor Circuit Workout

Do 20 normal squats with arms in front of your body, feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart–toes facing forward. Lower down like you’re sitting in a chair–legs as close to parallel with the ground as you can get. Follow with 20 quick squat pulses. You will definitely feel these ones the next day! 

20 Tricep Dips: 

20 Tricep Dips

Keeping your back close to the bench, straighten arms (keeping a tiny bend in your elbows). Slowly lower to a 90 degree angle. Repeat 19 more times.

Quick Bench Skip-Ups: 10 reps each leg (20 total) 

Outdoor Circuit Workout

You know how to skip, right? You use that same motion here, but on the bench! One leg at a time (for 10 reps each)–place one foot on the bench, and with a skip motion, push up on the bench to a standing position, hopping when your knee gets to the top–immediately bring that same leg back down. Do this 10 times on each leg, then switch sides. 

20 Bench V-Ups: 

20 Bench V-Ups

Sit on a the bench with your arms bent, holding on to the bench behind you. Straighten legs and lift them to a 90 degree angle, and slowly lower legs down as low as you can, aiming to get them parallel with the bench. Repeat 19 more times. 

Repeat circuit 2 more times through, and then run finish your run, making sure to stretch at the end of your workout. 

Outdoor Circuit Workout

What I’m wearing here

Sometimes investing in some new staples (if you’re in the position to do some retail therapy) can go a long way in motivating me to get off the couch! If you’re the same, here are more details on what I’m wearing here! 

Everything I’m wearing in this post Is lululemon–which is typically my #1 go-to activewear brand. I have been a convert ever since my dad gave me my first pair of Align leggings for Christmas back in college! I really love their running collection–especially their shorts, because they’re like wearing air–so comfortable, and so cute, you’ll wear them even when you have no intention of working out. 

If you remember this post I did on their Run collection earlier this spring, I wanted to review some new items–so I chose the Tracker V Shorts, Long Line Energy Bra, and the Seek Simplicity Tank. If you’re in the market for some new athletic staples, I think you will love these! 

4″ Tracker V shorts

20 Bench V-Ups

What I love most about lululemon’s shorts (aside from how cute they are) is that the lining is SO buttery soft–it feels like you’re wearing nothing–unlike other lined running shorts that make you feel like you’re wearing a diaper!! They are light as air, sweat-wicking, with a little zipper pocket to hold your keys, credit card, etc. They are loose in the thighs, but they don’t ride up or bunch–plus, they’re not too tight/short! 

Sizing: I think they fit true to size for lululemon–I usually wear a 4 in lulu sizes and ordered a 4 here and they worked great. In general, lululemon runs very small. I typically wear an XS or a 0-2 in workout pants, so lulu is at least 1-2 sizes up from the norm. 

Seek Simplicity Tank: 

Seek Simplicity Tank

I LOVE this buttery stretchy-soft tank–and the best part? It’s reversible! It’s higher on one side than the other–which I love, because sometimes my sports bras are higher cut and therefore look weird without a higher cut tank. Here I’m wearing it with the lower side in front as that look best with the sports bra I was wearing! (More details on that in a second!) It’s just a great wardrobe staple in general! 

If you prefer something with sleeves, my #1 favorite workout top is the Breeze t-shirt. I actually think that one runs more true to normal size/bigger side for Lulu–I got the 6 and it was a little loose, which I was happy about because I like tying it in a knot at the front! I’m obsessed! So much that I accidentally ordered two but I’m going to keep the second one just because I never want to be without one!

Sizing: I think lululemon tops run smaller than their bottoms. I wear a size 6 in their tops and that’s what I’m wearing here–it fit great! Snug but not too tight. 

Longline Energy Bra: 

[one-half-first]Longline Energy Bra[/one-half-first][one-half]

Outdoor Summer Workout


I LOVE LOVE this bra. My favorite sports bra I own. It’s a great all-purpose sports bra–and I love that it’s longer cut on the torso–which offers more support (enough for running and even for HIIT workouts), and also doubles great as a sports bra/top for hot yoga! (I always feel too naked to wear JUST regular sports bras at hot yoga, but this one has more coverage, so it’s like a top and a bra had a baby. ????) It’s great at wicking away sweat and has great four-way stretch–making it super comfy and supporting without cutting into you. I also love the adorable strappy back! 

Sizing: I wear a 6 in lululemon bras and this one was no different. (Follow their sizing guide–it’s very accurate in my experience!) 

Running Shoes: ALL HAIL THE GERRIES!! 

Brooks Adrenaline

Looking for new running shoes? I LOVE Brooks Adrenaline running shoes––I have super flat feet and these are so supportive and make a huge difference for me.  Neal refers to them as my “Gerries”––short for “geriatric.” ???? I have a full review of them right over here. I recommend taking the quiz on Brooks website so they can recommend the right shoes for you–running shoes are not one size fits all! 

I hope this post motivates you to get outside today! 🙂

Note: The original version of this post last summer was sponsored by one of my favorite activewear brands, Lululemon, however, the refresh of this post published today is not!  

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