While many equate summer with poolside lounging (guilty), fitness pros, on the other hand, see the sunny season as just another opportunity to change up their workouts in cool, creative, productive ways.
So we asked top trainers to dish on how they sweat during the summer. And wait till you see their answers: From lifting beach driftwood and sandbags to park-bench push-ups and paddleboard yoga, they’ll motivate you to keep moving as temperatures rise.
Here’s how 13 star instructors (in no particular order) take their workouts outside for summer. —Lisa Elaine Held and Molly Gallagher
(Photo: Kym Perfetto by Jaimie Baird)
The Movement, Strala Yoga, New York City
During the warmer weather, I do everything I can outside, and, if possible, in the sun. I bike (CitiBike!) everywhere rather than taking the subway, I do yoga outside anytime I get the chance. I take long walks with my little chihuahua, Achilles, by the Seaport, and anytime I am near (clean) water, I move in that. I love to swim laps—it feels so meditative to me, I surf any chance I get, and last summer I started attempting yoga on a paddle board. Anything fun, outside, and in the sun. Water definitely preferred!
The People’s Bootcamp, New York City
I’m a summer baby and this is the season when I really come alive! Surfing is my favorite, but I also love to head down to the beach and kick off my shoes for a fast, killer workout that my wife and friends call my Bam Bam Routine.
I’ll do a series of interval sprints mixed with push-ups, bear crawls, broad jumps, and heavy rock and driftwood throws and carries.
Yes, it does draw a few odd looks, but it also shreds every muscle in my body without having to step foot into a gym. And nothing in the world feels as good as diving into the ocean after 20 minutes of this.
(Photo: Adam Rosante)
Pilates Platinum, Los Angeles
In summer there’s more of an urgency to get my workout done earlier in the day before it gets too hot. I like hiking Temescal Canyon or Mandeville early in the mornings. At the top of each hike I try to find a clear area for some pushups, tricep dips, and planks.
Another trick is to work out near the ocean, where it’s cooler. I’m fortunate to be able to run out my front door to the Venice boardwalk. Sometimes I will run one direction on the boardwalk and the other direction in the sand to challenge my leg muscles. There are also some great spots to add in step-ups, zigzagging through posts, and pull-ups.
And if it isn’t too busy or warm I like to challenge myself by running up the Santa Monica pier, the California incline, or the Santa Monica stairs.
(Photo: Heather Dorak)
Uplift Studios, SLT, New York City
During the summer, I try to get out of the gym and into the sunshine as much as possible (hello, vitamin D!). In the colder months, hot vinyasa yoga is a personal fave, so when the weather warms up, I take it up to my building’s rooftop. It’s beautifully finished with plants and benches—I almost feel like I’m floating above the city away from the daily hustle. It’s a simple way I can find a bit of inner peace while working up a sweat. As much as I love group classes, practicing yoga alone forces me to really focus on me and only me, which I don’t always get to do during my busier seasons. (Waterproof sunscreen is a must, of course!)
(Photo: Liz Barnet)
Flywheel, Training Camp, New York City
I move out East in the summer and surf Ditch Plains in Montauk any day there are waves! Surfing is a great full-body workout—paddling out requires tremendous lower-back and upper-body strength. Popping up and actually riding the wave is a full-body effort! I leave the water exhausted and STARVING every time. I’m in my best shape when I surf all summer.
(Photo: Holly Rilinger)
Cycle House, Los Angeles
With summer approaching, it’s time to take it to the next level. I like to hit the streets of LA with two light-weight pieces: my jump rope and resistance band.
I’ll jog 5 minutes, stop and do 5 minutes of jump rope, run 5 minutes, throw my resistance band around the nearest palm tree and do 50 rows. I do this 3 times. It’s a killer summer slim down.
(Photo: Nichelle Hines)
Swerve Fitness, Get Fierce Training, New York City
I teach my Get Fierce Training Camp on Pier 46 on the West Side Highway every Saturday, and you’ll find me there each Friday doing the workout myself. I run to the pier listening to my Saturday a.m. playlist and then do all body-weight work, lunges, squats, sit-ups, push-ups, burpees, etc. It’s a great way to get prepped for my class the following day, get energized, and get my own sweat on.
In the summer, when I head out to Long Island, I LOVE to stand-up paddle (SUP) with my girl, Gina Bradley, the Paddle Diva, in East Hampton! She’s WICKED FIERCE and super friendly. SUP is the most serene and perfect way to start my Sunday (or any day). I teach so much cardio during the week, so SUP is more of a recovery workout and meditation for me, but when it’s windy and the water’s rough, it’s definitely work.
(Photo: Olivia Zimmerman)
During the summer, I take advantage of family time outside to get my workouts in. One of my favorite workouts is a power walk or jog for 20 minutes combined with 20 minutes of barre3 work at a park bench or any other surface I come across. Often the kids join in! I do a combination of push-ups, and my 10 transformative moves that I feature in my Love Your Lower Body book. These are moves like standing push-ups, plies, standing leg lifts, lunges, and yoga poses like crescent that can be done anywhere and only require a little balance. I recommend memorizing these 10 moves because you can literally fit them in anytime and anywhere. Perfect for when you’re on the go in the summer.
Flywheel, BootyCamp!, Los Angeles
I love taking basic equipment like a medicine ball, jump rope, and a kettlebell outside to do one long HIIT workout under the summer sun. My favorite is to do a quickie 20-minute workout: medicine ball plank with alternating leg lifts, kettlebell swing, jump rope, medicine ball slams, push-ups, body weight tricep dips, and finish with body weight squat jumps, 50 reps each, one time through is all I need… Let’s get summer sexy!
(Photo: Jesse DeYoung)
Aim True Yoga, Los Angeles
Besides my yoga practice, I hit up Pure Barre classes two to three times a week because I’m a glutton for punishment, AKA they tone and strengthen really well. I’m also hitting up paddleboarding at Shem Creek in Charleston, South Carolina, with my new Bliss paddleboard. Sometimes I just paddle, while other times I play around with yoga poses.
(Photo: Stark Photography)
SoulCycle, New York City and Los Angeles
In the summer, I like to switch up my workouts with a sunset or sunrise run. To beat the heat and the crowds, it’s all about running the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise. Round-trip is almost four miles plus elevation and iconic scenery. I make a stop midway for push-ups and lunges. I also incorporate sandbag training—you heard right!—to freshen up my fitness routine for the summer. It gives me an excuse to go to the beach for the sand, plus you can cool off in the water after breaking a sweat. (Check out Kym’s sandbag workout here.)
(Photo: Jaimie Baird)
Brick New York, New York City
Oh man! After the winter we’ve had, I take EVERY opportunity to get my sweat on outside. I love to start my Sundays with a nice long run. I’ve got a couple of routes depending on my mood. One route starts near the Williamsburg Bridge on the East Side and running around the tip of the island. The South Street Seaport is usually teeming with people, so it’s a good excuse to walk, catch my breath, stretch, and decline the offers of a Statue of Liberty Tour, then pick up my run again nearer the Hudson. Then I continue up to about Canal Street or Christopher Street if I’m feeling it. When I’m looking to make the run a little more spicy, I’ll throw in one minute of walking lunges every eight minutes…talk about a burner!
Maha Yoga, Equinox, Los Angeles
During the summer, I enjoy spending time at the ocean. I drink a cup of hot water and lemon the moment I wake up and then head to the beach. I sit for 5 to 10 minutes in meditation, closing my eyes, and listening to the waves crash up against the shore.
After that, I start with some lunges and forward folds, then I take a brisk walk along the beach. The walk eventually builds momentum into a run. After 20 minutes of cardio, I begin a 20 minute vinyasa flow which leads into a peak pose of a king dancer as I face out into the ocean. My favorite pose at the beach is Warrior I while facing the ocean with empowerment and strength to start my day! I like to set the intention of bringing love and light into the world.
(Photo: Amy Rose)