All Natural Fitness – 3 Nature-Friendly Ways To Train Outside The Gym


All it takes is a trip to a gym and a trip to a playground to see how messed up the industry has become. I guarantee that in the gym you will see a number of cringe worthy things going on. Individuals jogging on treadmills, muscle bound guys locked into machines isolating parts and a whole load of standing around checking social media and taking photos in the giant mirrored walls.

For an amazing juxtaposition, compare it to the playground. Children know what it is to be a human being. They move freely, they play and they create, all without limitations. Children are the masters of the basic human movements, pushing, pulling, squatting, carrying and hinging. No squat rack. No bicep flexing. No machines. No reps and sets.

How do we get back to this?

It’s simple… First, forget the gym. Second, get outside.

Nature has all the “gym equipment” you need. On top of that you have sunlight, fresh air, beautiful surroundings and silence.

The world around has provided an amazing, functional gym. Heavy rocks and stones are amazing for full body . Logs are great for presses, squats and lunges. Tree branches are there to be climbed, scaled and used for pull-ups and rows. Fields and strips of grass are just waiting to be crawled on and sprinted across.

I personally love training outside because of the freedom. The freedom to do what you want, act how you want and create whatever you want. If I am running and see a heavy stone, I’ll lift it and carry it for a bit. If I see a sturdy branch I’ll jump up and perform as many quality pull-ups as I can. There are no particular sets and reps. It’s all instinctual. It’s training based on “feel”.

LQ Walking Lunge 1

As long as the intensity and focus remain high, I know I have had a great workout. I won’t know the length of the run, the weight of the objects lifted or the reps and sets performed, but that’s all part of the experience. You will learn a lot about yourself when you train in this manner.

Here are a couple of ideas for the next time you are out for a run or hike and want to get in a great wildness workout! 

1. Lifts and Carries

Find yourself a log or stone. Straddle it, deadlift it and then clean it up, onto your shoulder. Carry it with your shoulders back, head high, core engaged and walking with strides natural.

Try carrying it for a designated time frame. Perhaps a 5 minute carry. Or an accumulative time frame. Say, 15 total minutes, broke up however you like.

Alternatively, you can work your carries in a set and rep format (if your not quite ready to abandon your gym principals altogether!). Mark out a length, say 25 meters and do 5 sets of 25 meter carries.

2. Climb and Collect

Find yourself a tree with a selection of sturdy low level branches. Carefully climb and envision yourself collecting fruit. Grab the imaginary fruit and return to the ground. Repeat until you have collected an imaginary basket full of imaginary fruit!

Much like the carries above, you could perform this for a set amount of time. Mark out a point on the tree, climb and touch it, return to the ground and repeat for as many times as possible in the given time frame. This format will easily work with a traditional set/rep scheme as well. Say, 3 sets of 10 climbs to your specified point.

3. Crawls, Jumps and Sprints

Find an open spot of land. Pick out two markers as a start and a finish line. Crawl on all fours until you reach the finish marker. Turn and double footed jump back to the first marker, practising soft footed landings. Finally, turn and sprint the distance. This quick combo circuit has hit a full body strength movement in the crawl, an explosive movement in the jumping and a strength/power movement in the sprints.

You have numerous options within this little superset/combo/circuit. Mix up the style of crawls, bear crawl, crab walk, monkey hop. Likewise the jumping part can also be altered. Try single leg hops, power skips, triple jump style bounds.

LQ 200lb Log Hold

There it is! The options who have to train outside are really only limited by your imagination. Get outside, reclaim your freedom, your child like creativity and get fit and healthy in an all natural surrounding.

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Phil Bennett

Strength Coach at Complete MMA Training
Phil Bennett is a strength coach from the UK who primarily trains combat athletes. He has a particular, gym-less style of training that utilizes objects provided by nature as well as odd object like kettlebells, sandbags, kegs, ropes, chains and the like. His primary focus as a coach is combat/human performance, mental toughness and real world strength.
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