Physiologically, our bodies prefer to be outside - it is our natural habitat. We spent most of the first two million years of our existence outdoors while our move to living, working and exercising in a predominately indoor environment has occurred in the blink of an eye. And so now, after 30 years of training indoors in gyms on machines that attempt to simulate our body's natural movement patterns, there is a major shift in the industry toward training in our natural habitat where our ancestors developed the ability to dominate all other species on planet Earth.

A recent study published in the research journal Environmental Science and Technology, found that when compared to indoor exercise, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date. (Benefits of Outdoor Exercise Confirmed. ScienceDaily. The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry)

I've built a successful business based on outdoor fitness and so can you. From a business perspective, catering to the innate human desire to be active outdoors can mean a huge boost to your bottom line. Furthermore, you don't have to share your revenue with a gym and you don't need expensive equipment. Clients will love the refreshment of being exposed to many new and creative exercises they may never have experienced in a traditional gym setting. After a little while, you'll have more new clients and higher retention rates due to your fun, effective and creative workouts. So, if you have yet to step "outside the box," here are a few practical tips to get your business "outside the box!"

Get Creative! Being creative will generate tons of buzz for your business. Mix it up, make it different. Deliver a wow experience and clients will share it with their friends, possibly through social media, which could mean thousands of people.

Explore Your Surroundings. A nearby park or playground is perfect and most practical for every day workouts. But every once in a while take a field trip! If there is a lake, try a workout on a canoe! It's total body and great for core and balance. If you're near the ocean, take a client to the beach and blow their minds with an incredible bodyweight workout on the beach at sunset. Do a trail run in the woods and pack a TRX. Find a great view and anchor the TRX for an amazingly invigorating strength workout amongst the swaying trees and trickling stream. These are all amazing, memorable workouts that your competition is not doing and ones that will have your clients beaming.

Master Calisthenics. The body is the best machine ever designed. Learn how to use it! Mastering bodyweight training will free you from relying on equipment as a crutch and allow you to train a client anywhere with anything.

Pack Your Trunk. Load up on equipment that can be taken anywhere. The TRX Suspension Trainer is the most versatile tool on the market today. If you are not TRX certified or at least TRX proficient, you are behind the curve! The TRX is super portable, lightweight and will give your clients an amazing, total body workout. Additional out of the box essentials include the TRX Rip Trainer, sandbags, kettle bells, and a fire hose or battle rope.

Be resourceful. There are lots of functional fitness tools that can be purchased at your local hardware store that will give your workouts variety, such as PVC pipes partially filled with water (aka Slosh Logs), sledge hammers, water jugs and sand bags. Use these tools to up the ante on your clients' core strength and spinal stability.

Tie into Events. Obstacle races have become quite popular in the last year or two. Find one that is coming to your area and run a special group boot camp focused on training for that specific event, and then run it as a team! You'll get dozens of new clients, create a great community and foster strong bonds all centered on your fitness business.

Go Corporate. Take your training to local business and offer to run an employee boot camp. Corporate health care costs are through the roof, so many companies will be more than willing to provide you with access to their employees. If you can get a foothold into a company, you may find other valuable revenue opportunities such as seminars and personal training clients.

No Whining! I rarely have weather-related cancellations. I coach my clients in the virtue that comes with pushing through minor inconveniences such as a little rain, snow or cold temps to achieve a much more significant goal. Those tough workouts when the wind is howling or the snow is falling are the ones they will be the most proud of.

The Bottom Line with an outdoor workout is that we are focusing on primal movement patterns - moving in the manner in which we were designed to move - as one unit, not disparate muscle groups. So be sure to focus on multi-joint, multi-planar movements that are not just focused on cardio and strength but also on neuro-muscular patterning and kinesthetic awareness, developing and enriching the communication pathways between the brain and different quadrants of the body (left side, right side, upper and lower). These exercises, when done in our natural habitat will provide your clients with strength that goes far deeper than their muscles and into the fabric of their psyche - for a stronger mind, body and spirit!


Grant Hill is founder of MyBootcamp, a network of fitness professionals that specialize in "boot camp inspired personal training." Grant is an Ancestral Health Practitioner, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and is Spinning and TRX Certified. For more information on MyBootcamp, visit www.my-bootcamp.com.

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