For so many of us in London, exercise is a chore that needs to be fitted in between work, social engagements and everything else we have to do. Look at any London gym at 5am in the morning and you'll find hundreds of people up and pounding it out on the treadmill and working on the weight machines, before heading to their daily commute to the office. While this is no bad thing and having an early morning routine has been proven to encourage productivity throughout the day, we at Cooler can't help but notice that the joy of movement and exercise is being forgotten a little, as are some of the beautiful spots in the city, as we all descend down the stairs to our air conditioned gyms each day.
This autumn through our TrailFit campaign, we want to make exercise the main event that it should be and bring more people into the awesome green spaces that London has to offer. Whether you only have an hour in the morning to workout and run to work, or you want to spend a whole day at the weekend moving your body, there's a park close to your part of the city that is perfect for just that.
This Trailfit city guide has been created with personal trainer and all round adventure woman Sophie Everard to show you the different places in London that you can find green spaces to work out. Here are our three TrailFit locations you should hit this week, along with some example workouts and our favourite healthy food spot nearby, so you can treat yourself to some post workout fuel.
Packed full of steep hills rolling across some of the most scenic and rugged ground North London has to offer, Hampstead Heath is renowned for its amazing view of Parliament Hill, huge open fields and famous swimming ponds. If you live north of the river Thames, the Heath is an amazing place to escape city life and get some fresh air, while also being just a few tube stops from the centre of London.
Earlier this year, we took a group of women for TrailFit adventure around this park, before going to LLS Cafe for a healthy post workout lunch. Check out the sample of this workout below to makes the Hampstead TrailFit workout part of your weekly routine.
- Box jumping: power sets Get in a half squat position with your arms in front of you. Execution-from this static position, jump up and onto the box. You want to jump from a still position, do not allow any counter movements. Land in the middle of the box and stand all the way up. Reset after each jump.
- Skater Jumps
Skater Jumps develop lateral strength and power in the quads and glute muscles. They also place the entire load on one leg, which helps with balance and reduces the tendency to favor the stronger leg during two-legged jumps. Get into a squat position with your feet close together and the majority of your weight on your right leg. Push off your right leg to the opposite side. Land softly on your left leg and move your right leg behind it like you were performing a Curtsy Lunge. Repeat on your left leg. That's one rep.
- Pushups against trees- Regressed push-ups This is a push up with hands on raised surface: you can use a bench, chair, wall…
- Wall sits utilising large trees. 60 seconds Stand with your lower back against a straight tree, and walk your feet out, hip distance apart, and lower your glutes to sit against the tree. Press the lower back into the wall by shifting weight to your heels off the toes, and relax the abs and shoulders.
Refuel At LLS
LLS Cafe Deli is a healthy cafe-eatery with a strong ethos: "Eat No evil", that was set up by two sisters after their mum was diagnosed with diabetes. Their food is not only healthy and nutritious, it’s also crazy delicious.
Our Trailfit Refuel Recommendation: The Great Chicken Chicken, Pearl Barley, Blueberries, Creamy Blue Cheese, Walnuts with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing
Info: 95-, 97 Heath St, London NW3 6SS
Phone: 020 7794 8600
Run Differently in Greenwich Park
As the starting mark of the London Marathon, there's no London park more associated with running than Greenwich. More than just a running event landmark however, this spot is actually a perfect place to get a more varied and inclusive workout than your average park run.
The four mile route includes some steep hills, as well as some amazing forests paths. Use the grassy fields to work in the exercises below and make the most of your time outdoors.
Once you've finished your workout, exit the park toward the Thames, create a protein rich smoothie at MyDetox Cafe and explore the amazing Greenwich Market for fresh vegan treats.
- Bound for 50 meters To bound properly, run with the longest strides you can take, like a triple jumper's first two steps.
- Run with "high" knees for 50 meters, lifting your knees as high as you can.
- Bear crawling – On soft surface (grass) Bear crawling works the upper body, building strength and muscular endurance in the chest, triceps and shoulders and a strong core. Bear crawl forward for 20 metres and without resting, bear crawl backward 20 metres.Come down on all fours, trying to keep your hands underneath the shoulders and knees underneath hip. Raise the knees up, and start to crawl, using hands and feet to travel.
- Long/Broad jumps Long jumps work to develop explosive power – often needed in sudden accelerations and high incline trekking and adventuring. Execute a deep Squat to propel yourself forward as far as you can, using your quadriceps and glute muscles. Perform on a soft surface (grass). Get into a squat position with the feet shoulder-width apart, and squat down deep and explode up, using your entire body to thrust yourself forward. Land softly on the ground and immediately move onto the next jump.
- Sprint up hill to end - high intensity training Hill sprints utilize gravity to intensify your workout. The combination of sprints and hills ensures a quicker way to strengthen your leg muscles, while at the same time boosting cardiovascular fitness. Any hill works, and you can set your threshold with the amount of reps you can run up and down the hill, and how you increase the level of intensity through speed. An example of HIIT(high intensity training) hill sprints provide a powerful metabolic workout that burns a significant number of calories in a relatively short amount of time.
Refuel At MyDetoxBar
MyDetoxDiet is a healthy café and awesome health food shop only seconds away from the park. You can make a recovery smoothie after your run, or fuel up with their dreamy salad bar and veggie burgers.
Our TrailFit Refuel Recommendation: Love Beet Raw Superfood Smoothie beetroot, celery, kale, spinach, cucumber, apple and carrot
Info: 20 College Approach, London SE10 9HY
Phone: 020 8858 6028
TrailFit Session In Richmond Park
This 2,500 acre park is the wildest you can feel in London, while also being on the tube line. Not only is it huge and beautiful, it's also a important habitat for wildlife and is a National Nature Reserve, home to deer and much other awesome wildlife.
We're holding a day of TrailFit fitness this October. Come to our studio at the Cooler Magazine HQ to make delicious food with a famous healthy chef, before heading out with the awesome Sophie Everard for the workout of your life in Richmond Park.
Until October, have a go at TrailFit for yourself with the sample workout below, before cuddling up and enjoying the park at HollyHook cafe.
- Backward walking Lunge 3 sets 8-12 reps The lunge works to strengthen the glute and upper leg muscles and create unilateral stability. Standing straight step the right foot back, keeping the weight on the front foot though, with both knees drop to 90 degrees. Step back to meet the left foot, and repeat by stepping back the left foot.
- Weave in and out of trees (suicide runs): agility runs. Suicide runs are high intensity sprint, working on endurance, agility and speed.
- Split squats 3 sets of 8-12 per leg Position yourself into a staggered stance with the rear foot raised on surface and front foot forward. Bend the front knee and hip to lower your body down. Maintain good posture throughout the movement. Keep the front knee in line with the foot as you perform the exercise. At the bottom of the movement, drive through the heel to extend the knee and hip to return to the starting position. Keep your nose over your toes to ensure weight stays over the front leg and ensures you work the hip. Stay light on the back foot, you should be able to tap it onto the support between each rep. Keep the chin tucked to reduce any tendency to over extend
Refuel At HollyHock
HollyHock Café is a secret gem of a café, hidden on the outskirts of Richmond Park. This fairtrade spot serves the strongest, the most warming, nourishing food and even has blankets available so you can sit outside and enjoy the park when it gets cold after your workout.
Our Trailfit Refuel Recommendation: Homemade Lentil Soup and Fresh Bread
Info: Terrace Gardens, London TW10 6UX
Phone: 020 8948 6555