How To Make Your Outdoor Workout a Great Success

The weather is beautiful and the sun is out; why not make New York City your gym!  There are several parks in NYC that are perfect for calisthenic training, equipped with pull-up bars, benches, monkey bars, and more.  I am here to share the benefits of training outdoors, guide you to the hot spots for outdoor fitness, and provide a bodyweight workout for you!

Benefits of Training Outdoors

When the weather heats up, take the time to get off machines, become more creative and have fun with your training.  There are several benefits connected to outdoor fitness.  Moving in a natural environment will improve your mental and physical health.  Many times when working out we are focused on the physical benefits.  However, taking your fitness outdoors is an excellent mental boost. A team of researchers from Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry analyzed a population of adults and found outdoor exercise not only increased their energy and revitalized them, but decreased confusion, anger, depression and tension (  Participants also enjoyed their workout more than those that kept their fitness indoors, which is key to sticking with a regime.

Not only is outdoor fitness beneficial to mental health, it is a great opportunity to catch some D3.  Vitamin D3 provides healthy bone and metabolic function.  Also, exposure to sunlight during the day can help you sleep better, improve immune system, and increase endorphin – those ‘feel good’ hormones ( Use the summer months to change up your typical routine once or twice a week and explore some outdoor fitness.

The Hot Spots in NYC

Once a week my training partner and I will take our training outdoors and use the equipment in the park to design a workout.  It’s an excellent option to get out of a traditional gym and provides a wide variety. There are several parks in the city that are equipped for outdoor fitness and I have provided some of my favorite places.

Top NYC Parks

1. *John Jay Park

Located on the Upper East Side; the space is small and equipment minimal but it still has what you need for a total body workout.

2. East River Park

Part of a beautiful riverfront view of the East River and runs under the Brooklyn Bridge. It includes athletic courts, a bike trail, a 400 meter track, and more.  Taking your fitness to the East River Park will provide endless options.

3. Tompkins Square Park

Located in Alphabet City near the East Village. One of New York City’s well known park made popular by Al Kavaldo. It is equipped with monkey bars, a variety of pull-up bars, arched horizontal ladder, and many of the city’s strongest calisthenic athletes. Meet Al Kavaldo at Tompkins Square park

4. Marcus Garvey Park (Mt. Morris Park)

A beautiful park located between 120th Street and 124th Street and Madison Avenue.  The park contains a hill with plenty of stairs. The fitness area contains a variety of equipment – pull-up bars, two taller and shorter ones, monkey bars, vertical ladder, diagonal bar, and push-up bars.

5. *Astoria Park (My stomping ground)

With a gorgeous view of the East River, the park sits between the Triborough Bridge and the Hellgate Bridge. The conditioning workouts are endless that can be done on the track, bike trail or open field. It’s newest addition is the adult fitness area that includes pull-up bars, parallel bars, diagonal bar and more, along with guidance on how to use all the equipment.


* My favorite parks to train


Try This Park Workout

Warm-Up: 5 minutes

  • Dynamic Exercises of athlete’s choice

Work: 10 repetitions of each exercise/ 3 sets

  • Bench /Box Jumps
  • Chin-ups
  • Skaters (per side)
  • Push-ups
  • Hanging Knee Tuck
  • Walking Lunges (per side)
  • Horizontal Row
  • Burpees

Looking for more park workouts? Stay up to date on @bodyspacenyc for announcements on the next BSF outdoor workout with me!

~Coach Sarah


Sarah teaches classes Monday mornings and Friday nights. Click here to sign up for a class with Sarah and ask all your burning questions regarding outdoor fitness and eating right in person!



The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. “Benefits of outdoor exercise confirmed.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2011. <>.

Leo Eigenberg. “4 Benefits of Using Outdoor Fitness Equipment.”

HealthArticleWorldYour PremiumHealthArticlesSource. 3 March 2017.

Enjoy A Summer Barbecue, The Healthy Way

Summer barbecues; the days are long, the weather is warm, and the grill is fired up. Everybody loves a barbecue until we think of the staple dishes like hot-dogs, chips, potato salad, beer, and other tempting dishes that wreak havoc on one’s eating plan. No need to stress; I have tips to enjoy those summer festivities and stay focused on your goals.

1. Eat Before the Barbecue

Arriving to the barbecue on an empty stomach can lead to overindulging and choosing unhealthy dishes because they seem satisfying at the moment. Eat something before the party, this will help you exercise control and keep your favorites in smaller portions.

2. Bring a Healthy Side Dish

To make sure there is at least one healthy dish; bring your favorite one or try a new recipe. I do this for every family gathering; especially for barbecues. It is a great opportunity to share a healthier alternative with friends and family. They may hesitate at the sight of greens set next to the baked beans; but be the example! At the end of the party I am sure many will ask for the recipe; it happens all the time with my family!

Check out these two delicious recipes: Purple Cabbage and Apple Slaw from The MilletownPress and Tomato-Basil Freekeh Salad from Whole Foods Market.

3. Use the Power of Colorful Veggies

Take the focus off all the grilled meat. Create colorful kabobs using eggplant, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, squash and more! Let’s not forget about the summer staple, corn! By cooking corn, the levels of antioxidants and other healthy phytochemicals become more readily available ( Be sure to leave the butter and salt out of the equation and enjoy the sweet savory flavor of summer corn.

4. Make a Lap Before Filling the Plate

Take a lap around the table before filling your plate and prioritize your selections. Swap out the traditional store bought baked beans, cole slaw, and macaroni salad – which are high in saturated fat, sodium and added sugar for a homemade version. Also, when filling your plate use the three-quarter rule. Your plate should contain grains, vegetables, legumes and/or fruit which leaves just a quarter for meat. This will help keep your portions balanced and make an excellent mixture of nutrients (

5. Think Before you Drink

Choose your beverages wisely. Even light beverages like wine coolers can have 150-300 calories in a 12-ounce bottle. Also, stay away from the ‘fancy’ alcoholic beverages like pina coladas, margaritas, and strawberry daiquiris which are high in calories and sugar. Even non-alcoholic beverages like sweet tea and fruit juices are filled with sugar. Be sure to read the labels and try to stick to water or flavored seltzer in order to stay hydrated and avoid drinking many empty calories.

6. Finish Eating? Time to Play

When you finished eating instead of spending time around the food table where it will be tempting to go back for seconds or thirds get moving. Toss the ball around with the little ones or organize a game. It can be anything to get you and others moving and doesn’t need to be too strenuous. Keep it light, keep it fun and everyone will want to participate!

The Takeaway

Through the next couple weeks, you may celebrate outdoors with friends and family. The summer is a wonderful time to share, live, and enjoy. Stay focused on your goals and remember it is the time you spend with your company that is important and not the hamburgers, potato salad, or beer. Have a happy and healthy Fourth of July and see you on the turf soon!

~Coach Sarah


Sarah teaches classes Monday mornings and Friday nights. Click here to sign up for a class with Sarah and ask all your burning questions regarding outdoor fitness and eating right in person!


“13 Tips for a Healthier Barbecue.” Berkeley Wellness, 2017 Remedy Health Media, LLC. Web. 19 June 2017.