Outdoor HIT: 2 Months Later

I thought I would post a 2 month progress report on my outdoor High Intensity Training program. I outlined my playground workout in the post Escaping the Glitter: Taking High Intensity Training Outdoors. Since November I have been averaging one workout every 7-9 days.

I am pleased with my consistency. The Seattle winter hasn’t discouraged me. All I need is a brief pocket of decent weather to get to the gym. I also found another playground even closer to my home. I used it once during the winter school break. It wasn’t perfect, as the jungle gym used thick bars, which isn’t ideal for doing chin-ups, as it puts the stress more on the forearms than the back.


Photo by USMC

This might be a question for Aaron at Aspen Paleo, but I experienced very tight muscle knots in the shoulder following a few of my workouts. I never got those in the Glitter Gym. Could a lower outdoor temperature be the cause? Or maybe it has something to do with the static hold finish? Maybe I need a longer warm up period?

Glitter Tune Up

Today I signed up for a one week free membership at a Glitter Gym for a tune-up workout. I got the idea from Geoff.

Still I wonder whether it might make sense to pay the day rate at a gym once every 8 weeks or so to test yourself against an objective measurement like McGuffs Big 5? or a deadlift challenge just to get a sense of the effect your training has had. I still find it helpful to test myself every so often to see where I stand.

I did a 15 minute Big 5 Workout and my intensity was higher than before I left the last Glitter Gym. I really think I’ve benefited from the breathing techniques I learned by doing push-ups HIT style in the cool outdoors. I’m getting much better at doing that fast shallow “choo-choo” style breathing.

A Little Sprinting

I’ve also added a few sprints into my workout. Props to G.Whitney for helping me on this. The beautiful thing is I can sprint in 40 degree weather and still maintain my goal of not breaking a sweat. I also learned that my body prefers to run uphill. I think it is less pounding.


Add yours

  1. Hi MAS,
    Great to see you’re enjoying your outdoor workouts. I think just being outside in the fresh air with real sounds and smells can itself help up the intensity level.
    As to your muscle knots … my initial though is that your static hold at the end is probably the culprit. And what I’m thinking is that since you are doing ‘new’ exercises with different angles and torque forces, you need to build up to doing long static holds in these positions. When you were working out at the gym you probably added holds to exercises that you had already been doing for a spell. The combo of new positions as well as holds is likely to much of a strain at first. I would recommend building up the static hold times.
    The colder outside temperature may play a role, but unless you’re going shirtless or something, I think your internal muscle temp wouldn’t experience enough of a variation to matter. My simple recommendation to warm up this area would be some controlled arm circles (not flailing your arms around) in various directions as well as massaging or rubbing the area to increase blood flow.
    I personally like the ‘fat bars’ as I call the large circumference playground pipes. I use a neutral grip for pull ups and chins with these and like the feel. But there are small and medium pipes to mix it up with also … that’s what I love about playgrounds!
    I agree with the uphill sprinting. I always seek out slight inclines. Less pounding as you say but also a little more muscle work – especially as the slope increases.

  2. @Aaron – I love your analysis and it makes total sense. Especially since the knots were the most intense after the first two workouts. I’ll scale back on the hold and knock out a few more reps instead. Thanks!

  3. Glad to hear about the progress. Yes, uphill sprints are awesome – and very primal.

    Have you seen the Fifth Ape stuff? These guys are inspirational to me.


    I haven’t tried that picnic table vault yet…

  4. @GWhitney – I did see that 5th Ape video a while back. Not for me at this time. 🙂

  5. Excellent update MAS! Glad to hear that my suggestion proved fruitful. It’s great that the outdoors HIT is working so well for you. Hill sprints are my absolute favorite workout too. As a recovering distance runner I look back and laugh at all the mainstream running publications which used to caution against fast uphill running. There’s so much more benefit and so much less impact trauma from sprinting uphill than on level ground that the two aren’t even in the same class in my book.

    Keep up the great work!

  6. I have lurked on you blog for a few years now. So far, I’ve quit my glitter gym, started HIT, bought a fermentation crock, brew bone stock and bought several of your book recommendations and other stuff. Thanks MAS.

  7. @JohnnyPayCut – Glad to hear from you Johnny! I’ll be making some bone stock tomorrow.

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