Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
October 31, 2019
So I took a week off from the whole fitness thing to do something rather unusual for me…take a vacation. Even if the average person does not call a few days off a vacation, that is as close as you will get for me. Anyway, I went to beach, which is weird for me since I am quite the land lubber and I have a rather distinct fear of water in general. However, it was a pretty nice change of pace for me. Maybe it was the fact I was at sea level and I was ingesting ocean air or whatever, but I did feel pretty energized. I also got to witness some of the famed fitness culture of various beaches in the southern California area, especially the surfing. Now with my swimming skills, those guys biting the bullet as often as they did freaked me out. I could never get out that far and trust my own skills like that. I suppose if I work on the swimming I could do it. Either way, to do those activities on a regular basis would require some good fitness. You need to be able to run and control yourself, and also have a solid equilibrium in regards to righting the ship and getting yourself out of harm’s way. This is something I am most likely not capable of doing at this moment. Someday I may learn this.
In California and in Arizona alike, we have relatively hospitable weather that allows us to be outdoors in some capacity when it comes to our fitness. There is a reason people in SoCal are relatively in better shape than people in the the middle of Wisconsin. Not only does the better weather lend to more activity outside of the home, the food selection makes for better diets. When you live in warm weather, eating foods that make you feel heavy and gain weight just won’t sit well with you. In the middle of Minnesota or Illinois….some will find solace in those extra pounds protecting them from the cold. This advantage doesn’t mean it is impossible to have a rock hard bod in the cold midwest and this certainly doesn’t mean there are not a lot of out of shape people in SoCal. There is one equalizer to the fitness game…and that is the indoors! Thanks to the popularity of boot camps (or maybe not, are those a thing still?) people have been doing outdoor workouts for the better part of a decade. But is doing something indoors going to lead to better results than say doing outdoors? Let’s do some cognitive testing and see which gets the advantage. We are gonna look at all of the factors involved, because let’s face it…fitness is fitness.
SWIMMING — PUSH
I say ‘push’ because the elements are relatively the same. Water has a strong resistance regardless if you are indoors or outdoors. The main difference might be the heat of the water, which means you would need to stay hydrated better for an outdoor swim. You will also get a bit of a tan with the outdoor swimming, so the indoor might get an advantage? I don’t know, so this is the reason why I started with this one and figured to get it out of the way. There is a reason why it is hard to really talk about fitness and swimming because it is such a specialized movement. Oh well.
CYCLING — ADVANTAGE INDOORS
Okay, this is gonna get me in trouble, but this is an opinion and really something you have to look over with a fine tooth comb. So here is the question with your cycling? Are you hardcore? If you live in Tucson, are you going to climb up the 9,000 foot ascent of Mt. Lemon or go massive distances on the west side of the city? Or are you just gonna do some leisurely riding to get some fresh air? From a personal and health standpoint, being outside is a gift and can really help with some good movement and mental well being. You work a wide variety of muscle groups and can get some much needed vitamin D. But how hard are you really going? Now some might say indoor stationary bikes will do half the work for you due to the weight of the wheel providing centrifugal motion, but you can blow up a ton of calories in the process. Spin classes can especially aid in this process and if you do some preset programs on the bikes, you can mimic some of the movements of inclines and declines. While you will not work as many muscle groups, convenience, maintenance and consistency in weather make the indoor cycling a minor advantage. Think of the things you have to have with you on a bike ride as well as all of the variables in the process? You might get a flat, the chain might break, you might biff it on a divot and worse yet, you have to keep a keen eye for people and cars that are not paying attention. The worst thing you might have to do on the indoors is wipe your chair off. Like I said, I am throwing all factors into this, so if you are really training to be a hardcore cyclist, then clearly the outdoor training will be tougher. This doesn’t mean that there is no benefit of standard cycling, but indoor can make for some better consistency. For the casual every day person—the majority of the fitness world—the indoor cycling will win this round.
RUNNING — ADVANTAGE OUTDOORS
This is also a controversial statement, considering all of the things that really made cycling indoors a better option can be applicable to running. Running on a treadmill can be great if you live in an area that has a lot of inclement weather, but it does not mean it is superior? Now just about every fitness website will say the same thing…that running is the same either way. You blow up the calories in a similar way and it really doesn’t matter. Well, those endorphins you get from running are kind of clouding your mind a tiny bit, for the outdoor running does have some very distinct advantages. First of all, YOU are doing the primary movement. While treadmill running can get pretty difficult in some places, the moving belt does have some advantages in pushing you. But here is the main problem…the one that will give outdoor a distinct edge. When you run indoors and are at the mercy of the treadmill, you can start losing your form when it comes to your stride. If you are following a preset workout, your desire to finish it and stay on task will be helpful, but sometimes you might start creating bad stride habits. The number one issue with running is people might not utilize a good stride pattern for their legs, and this can lead to some usage injuries down the line. This is why outdoor running gets the edge. YOU are in control and making the movements. This allows you to focus on your strides and gait as well, for maintaining this comfort will supersede finishing a workout. Treadmills might provide a slightly lower impact zone, but outdoors will provide you better coordination.
WEIGHT LIFTING — C’MON….INDOORS!!!
Okay, before all of you tire flippers and CrossFit people start flooding Jon’s email, you can do all of the same stuff you like outdoors inside! Yup, flipping tires, high intensity interval training, your bastardized kipping pull-ups and all sorts of other things can be done inside. And truthfully, you can make more gains in the process. Here is the thing, especially if you live in Arizona. This is gonna sap you and sap you fast. Having worked outside for many years, I can tell you that factor will have a profound effect on your gains. When I worked a warehouse job at Target, I was busting some serious hump during the day and made some good gains even though I was nearly dead after punching in 36 hours during a 61 hour stretch. The thing is, I could at least recover during the evening. When I busted hump outside in the sun, I was pretty much dead. The other major benefit is the fact you can safely do a lot more with your workout. With the aid of platforms and rigs, you can certainly get more work in and conquer more plateaus. Outdoors—while it can be freeing—is good for high intensity interval training and that may be it. Keep it inside my friends, unless you wanna get away from the bad music they are playing in the gym.
Now of course, I could be wrong on all counts, and all of the factors could easily be reversed. But like I said before, always consider all factors to the equation.
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
Meet the Author
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
Steve shares his journey once a week here on our blog. We hope that you find a spark of inspiration from reading his blog.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. The author of this blog is an independent writer and is not an associate of Parsons Training, LLC. Any information or images displayed are done so solely at the authors discretion. Any dietary or fitness commentary is exclusively that of the author and in no way dictated by the company.