Depending on the season, your workout schedule may vary slightly. In the winter, you might prefer classes closer to home or work to limit your time in the cold. In the spring, you might take more core-focused classes to tone up before bathing suit and crop top season. In the summer – or during warmer months – your workout schedule may look entirely different than your winter workout schedule, unless you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm year-round.
For those of us who can only enjoy warm, sunny weather for a few months of the year, it can be tempting to skip a workout to meet friends for happy hour or ditch your favorite class for a jog outside, a swim, or even intramural sports like beach volleyball or softball.
However, some studios offer outdoor classes so you can enjoy the beautiful summer weather and get a kick-a** work out. To help you make the most of your outdoor workout, here’s what two experts, Molly Key, general manager at ENRGi Fitness, and Caitlin Peterson, instructor at The Barre Code, recommend packing for your outdoor workout:
Staying hydrated throughout any workout is so important, but it’s especially important when you’re working out outside. When it’s hot and humid, “you don’t realize how much water your body has lost in the course of a workout,” says Key. “So make sure to rehydrate during and after a workout.”
She recommends using a BPA-free water bottle like a Hydro Flask that will keep your water cool, even in the sun.
We know how important it is to protect your skin and what may happen if you don’t wear sunscreen. Wearing it to an outdoor class is just as important, if not more. “I have really sensitive, pale skin, so I need to make sure I layer on the sunscreen,” says Key. “Any brand will do, but make sure it covers broad spectrum rays and is sweat-proof.”
Peterson recommends Korres sunscreen. But depending on your skin, whether it’s oily, sensitive, dry or freckled, acne-prone, and what kind of workouts you prefer, there may be a more effective sunscreen on the market for you.
Eyewear and/or a hat
In the summer, going anywhere without your sunglasses is a mistake, including an outdoor workout. If you don’t have a pair of sunglasses suited for a workout, there’s no need to break out your Ray Bans for an hour-long workout—simply toss on a baseball cap. In addition to protecting your eyes, a hat can help prevent your face from getting sunburned.
Both Key and Peterson recommend some sort of eye protection, because as Key points out, “nobody likes to squint for an hour. Not wearing some sort of eye protection can be damaging in the long run.”
Even if you’re not doing a yoga class—or a class that’s traditionally associated with a mat—you might want to bring one to your outdoor class to use as a cushion on uneven grass or hard cement. “Whether you’re doing sit-ups, hanging out in table top, or knocking out some pushups, your hands, back and feet will thank you for using a mat,” says Key.
Indoor classes usually have the air conditioning blasting and fans blowing (unless you’re in a heated workout class), and it’s you likely you leave class pretty sweaty. During an outdoor class, there’s no AC and no fans, so on a hot summer day, you’ll probably be even sweatier than you would be after an indoor class.
Peterson recommends throwing an extra shirt in your bag so your commute home is less sticky and if you have to run any errands immediately after class, you’ll be slightly less stinky.
Depending on the facilities—or lack thereof—you’ll want to be sure you bring some hand sanitizer along so you can wash your hands after class.
Think about bringing a hand towel you can use to wipe any sweat off of your face and neck during and after a workout.
Fueling before and refueling after a workout is so important. Many studios sell bars or smoothies at the studio, but an outdoor class may not provide similar options. To make sure you have something to eat before or right after class, bring a small snack along to your outdoor class, like one of these healthy snack bars.
Enjoy your outdoor workout!