Exercise at the Lake

“Exercise to stimulate, not to annihilate. The world wasn’t formed in a day, and neither were we. Set small goals and build upon them.”
(Lee Haney)

Traveling to the lake or beach this summer, there is of course great opportunity to unplug and unwind from day-to-day life and to spend quality time with friends and family. There is also an excellent opportunity to practice some fitness in a way that will support you in refreshing your relationship with exercise by getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine and adding some variety into your training.

Equipment is typically limited when exercising outside of the gym, so we’ll be looking at exercises you can perform with very little equipment outside your own bodyweight. This is called bodyweight training. Bodyweight training is free and can be tailored to virtually any fitness level, meaning each person can make it as challenging as they want it to be based on where they’re at.

For simplicity, we’re going to focus on exercises and variations that fall into five major categories:

  1. Squat
  2. Pull (this can be tricky based on lack of equipment, get creative with tree branches, sun loungers etc – but most importantly stay safe)
  3. Hinge
  4. Push
  5. Carry (use anything you can get your hands on, rocks, logs, water bottles etc)

Under each of those major categories, there are different variations and exercises that you can experiment with to determine what works for you. To get you started, I’ve shared some ideas below, which I’ve categorized into beginner/intermediate/advanced variations to provide the level of intensity you are looking fo. Feel free to play around with the structure of how you mix and match; this is simply a starting place for your exploration.


Beginner – Air Squat to Box/Rock
Intermediate – Split Squat
Advanced – Pistol Squat


Beginner – Front Leaning Rest / Push-up
Intermediate – Yoga / Dive-bomber Push-up
Advanced – Handstand Pushup


Beginner – Supine Row
Intermediate – Pull-up
Advanced – Muscle Up


Beginner – Hip Hinge
Intermediate – Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
Advanced – Single Leg RDL to Single Leg Broad Jump


Beginner – Suitcase Carry
Intermediate – Farmer Carry
Advanced – Overhead Carry

The combinations and variations of these movements are endless… limited only by imagination.

Another thing you might want to play with is focusing on making your workouts fit in a specific timeframe, allowing you to better accommodate your workout into your schedule or if you’re doing this on vacation and want to spend most of your time in vacation-mode. To that end, using a stopwatch or, more likely, a simple timer app on your phone can be a very effective way to ensure you’re getting the most out of the time you spend training. It’s important to note that before performing these movements in a ‘for time’ setting, that you should be able to perform the movement well in a non-fatigued state. This is especially true if you’re going to be aiming to max out on reps[1].

Once you’ve identified movements that you’re able to perform and that will also challenge you, it’s a case of organizing them into a format for your workout.  I’ve provided a few sample combinations below:

EMOM20[2] (Every Minute, On the Minute for 20 Minutes)

Min 1: Squat
Min 2: Pull
Min 3: Hinge
Min 4: Push
+ Accumulate 200m in carry with load
– –
30s Squat
30s Rest
30s Pull
30s Rest
30s Hinge
30s Rest
30s Push
30s Rest
x2 sets

+EMOM8 (Every Minute, On the Minute for 8 Minutes)

0:20s Loaded Carry for distance
– –
For time:
10m run out and back
20 No Pushup Burpees
20m run out and back
15 No Pushup Burpees
30m Run 30m out and back
10 No Pushup Burpees
40m run out and back
5 No Pushup Burpees

Keep in mind that these are just generic examples, you’ll want to adjust them as needed based on your current fitness levels and abilities.

Enjoy your break this summer, and get some fitness in the sunshine!

[1] Do it Right, Maxing Out – http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/do-it-right-maxing-out

[2] EMOM: Every minute on the minute. For example for minute 1 you are going to do your squat reps and once finished your rest or recovery time is the remainder of the minute. Once minute 2 begins, begin your pull reps.

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