By Ingrid Skjong | October 26, 2009 | Lifestyle
RIGHT: Climbing in the Shawangunk Mountains
Bound for Glory
When it comes to a well-rounded workout, sometimes it’s necessary to venture out of the gym and tackle the great outdoors. Not only is it good for the physique—putting the body in unpredictable situations readies it for anything—it’s good for the head. Enter Outdoor Bound. Educational and adventure-oriented, it offers day or multi day trips from level one to five (the most challenging comprising more than 10 hours of activity a day with distances exceeding 12 miles). Day trips this month feature rock-climbing excursions, waterfall “canyon eering” and hikes in the Catskills; weekend outings include backpacking and summiting Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Outdoor Bound co-owners and guides Kirk Reynolds and Connie Magee weigh in on taking it outside.
GOTHAM: What kinds of fitness benefits can someone get from Outdoor Bound?
CONNIE MAGEE: Cardio is always a part of our physical adventures; hiking builds lower-body strength, balance and endurance; climbing is a total-body workout for strength and endurance; and kayaking is great for core strength and upper body.
G: Which outings are specifically tailored to those looking for a workout?
KIRK REYNOLDS: Any of our adventures that are intensity level three to five. This includes about 90 percent of our offerings. A more concentrated workout comes from the harder activities such as the longer hikes, climbing and waterfall canyoneering.
G: How important is it to introduce a challenge now and then?
CM: As any trainer or athlete will tell you, cross training is key to pushing past fitness plateaus, as well as relieving the boredom that inevitably comes with a repetitive fitness routine. A person’s muscles and endurance become acclimated to the same activities over time, so it’s important to shake it up. Many of our “fit” clients who are more accustomed to running or utilizing gym machines tell us they’re surprised at how a hard hike pushed them. It gives a new meaning to ‘a breath of fresh air’ when you can exercise outside of a gym or the city.
G: How do they factor into existing regimes?
KR: Many marathoners and triathletes use our trips to meet their cross-training goals. By concentrating on one set of muscles or a single sport, you’re creating asymmetries that leave you prone to injury. A balance of hiking, climbing and kayaking, for example, uses all of your muscles, making you a stronger athlete. We have a marathoner using our Kilimanjaro trip as a week of cross training as well as a recovery period from extended running. By taking your workouts to the outdoors, we guarantee a happier and stronger workout. Nature has a way of calming the spirit. When you’re relaxed, your body has more energy, allowing you to reach a higher performance level. Outdoor Bound, 212- 579-4568; outdoorbound.com
When it comes to peak performance, every edge helps. Which is why legions of pro athletes (Tiger Woods and Jason Kidd among them) have incorporated Pilates into their games. Pilates studio re:AB—run by instructor Brooke Siler, who has trained the likes of Madonna and Amber Valletta—capitalizes on this with her Pilates Mat for Men. “First and foremost it’s critical for people to recognize that Pilates was created by a man and for men,” says Siler. “The Pilates system is fantastic for the male body because of the attention to stretching while strengthening.”
Traditionally “manly” exercises, including a series using wall-mounted springs, work the upper body, abs and cardio while stretching throughout. The result? Increased agility, flexibility and power. “Pilates balances the body in a way that weights do not,” says Siler. “The entire muscular body is worked simultaneously, so smaller muscles aid larger muscles, which is injury-preventive and much more efficient overall than a weight workout that segregates the body.” re:AB, 33 Bleecker St., Suite 2C, 212-420-9111; reabnyc.com
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DOUG FERGUSON (ROCK CLIMBER); ISTOCKPHOTO.COM (PILATES)