I moved to my new hometown El Cerrito a little more than a month ago and I'm really loving it here. The weather is bright and sunny most of the time, which allows me to exercise outdoors in the fresh air, basically whenever I want.
A luxury like this was pretty rare back in Northern Europe. They say that there is no bad weather, only the wrong clothes.
I agree, no excuses…right?!
That being said, it's just so much nicer to workout when the sun is shining. There's no need to dress in seven layers of clothes or jump over piles of snow (which, I must admit, is great exercise) that can stick around for up to five months.
In this post, I'm going to give you my overall favorite exercises and why I like to do them. Then I will show you my top two favorite places to workout in El Cerrito and some workout routines that I like to do there.
As always, consult a physician to find out of these workouts are for you. I do workout pretty hard.
Long Runs and Short Sprints
Running had taken a backseat in my workouts for a few months, but lately it has made a strong comeback. Longer runs keep my stamina high and sprints improve my speed/agility and are great for fat burning.
There are so many places to run around El Cerrito.
I've enjoyed hilly trail runs in Wildcat Canyon Park and Tilden Park, long flat runs with some awesome people along the Bay Trail and sprints on Ohlone Greenway or nearby hilly streets. There are many other great trails on East Bay, and I still have a lot to discover.
But in addition to running, it's very important to vary your workouts and pay attention to strength and conditioning training too.
The Importance of Strength and Conditioning Training
There is no question about the importance of strength training and conditioning workouts. Lifting weights and getting your heart beat up help you to grow muscle and burn calories.
But strength and conditioning are not only about getting toned body, getting lean and burning fat.
They're also about preventing injuries, strengthening your bones, keeping your metabolism functioning and improving your overall well-being.
This type of training is also about making your everyday life easier and more fun. You want to be able to climb those stairs with grocery bags in your hand, without it leaving you huffing and puffing.
You want to be an active and fun mom or dad who can climb trees and play football with your kids.
The great news is that you don't need to go to a gym to get all that, especially if you live somewhere where the weather lets you workout outside. That's exactly what I'm doing. I'm using every opportunity to take my strength and conditioning workouts outside.
My Favorite Places for Strength & Conditioning Workouts
Working out outside means no sweaty and musty gym air. While living here, my workouts have taken place mostly in two parks in El Cerrito: Cerrito Vista Park and Castro Park. I spend there about 30 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time to get in a great workout.
Cerrito Vista Park
Cerrito Vista park has a big field where I do my bodyweight exercises. There are also several stairs in the park that I've used to get my heart rate up.
In the following video I am doing my Fast Legs Workout.
1. Narrow Jump, Wide Jump – I alternate the width of my stance on every other step of the stairs.
2. Sprint – I run up the stairs as fast as I can!
3. Wide Squat Jumps – Starting from half jump position, I explosively jump up, landing into a wide stance.
4. Tap Toes – I alternate left and right foot as fast as I can.
Repeat each exercise three times before moving on to the next exercise.
There is also a playground that I've taken advantage of to practice my pull ups, work on my core and even climb a pole! It's great to unleash you inner child sometimes, right?
Here's what I did:
1. Ab Pikes on a Swing
2. Tricep Dips
3. Pull Ups
4. Pole Climb!
Castro Park has also a large grass field for exercising. But I'm especially a big fan of the climbing wall that I have used for doing wall ball shots – a combination of deep squats and throwing the medicine ball up.
Wall ball shots are a great full body exercise, working your entire body: legs, core and arms.
A long stretch of paved path is meant for pedestrians and bikes but it's also perfect for running sprints. For example, I've combined some kettlebell swings, goblet squats and sprints into a short but sweet HIIT workout.
Complete 5 rounds of the following:
15 Kettlebell Swings
15 Kettlebell Goblet Squats
400 meters Run
Again, this workout targets all major muscle groups. It saves you time by working multiple parts of your body at once.
As you see, there are lots of possibilities to work out in this area without going to a gym or using expensive equipment.
I cannot stress the last point enough. You can get into amazing shape with just bodyweight exercises and exercises with portable equipment such as jump ropes, medicine balls, kettlebells, resistance tubes and more.
The El Cerrito Meetup Group
I love working out so much that I started a Meetup group here in El Cerrito area. We do fun and versatile workouts in various places around the city. You can find more information about the meetup here.