Get Ready for Fall Fitness

(Second in a three-part series)

We still have a bit of summer to enjoy, but it is definitely time to begin considering what you will do this fall to begin a fitness program or continue progressing within your current program.  Fall is a fantastic time to set a template for year round fitness because we are able to get outside for workouts but need to prepare for more extensive indoor workouts as the weather becomes less accommodating.  And, our fall workouts help us to prepare our bodies for the winter activities and sports as well as remaining fit throughout the year despite what challenges the weather presents.   The Fall Fitness activities featured this week are ideal for just about every one; however, as always, please consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program.

Fall Fitness Activities – Choose non-consecutive days for all activities

Outdoor Cycling – the fall months are wonderful for outdoor cycling. Try one or two long rides a week (i.e. two-four hours) if you are an experienced cyclist and if you are new to cycling, attempt two or three shorter rides per week (i.e. 30-75 minutes) to begin training your body.

Indoor Group Cycling – the perfect compliment to your outdoor rides—indoor group cycling particularly, may provide you with the high intensity interval training (i.e. HIIT) inside that will enhance your cycling skills and experience during your outdoor rides.  Two to three 45-60 minute indoor rides with the emphasis on HIIT for trained cyclists and two to three 30-45 minute indoor rides with one ride designated as a HIIT ride for novices.

Hiking –if you are an experienced hiker, challenge yourself with longer (i.e. 3-4 hours) more intense hikes frequently experiencing breathlessness when you hit those steep climbs and using the downhill or flat sequences to actively recover.  If you are just beginning to hike, choose flat trails, which are not too long in duration (i.e. an hour to an hour and a half) or too intense.  One to two hikes per week would be adequate.  *Hikes are a great cross train with cycling as hiking is weight bearing and cycling, for the most part is non-weight bearing.

Swimming or an aqua program – swimming and well-designed aqua programs offer tremendous physical fitness benefits.  Two to three 30-75 minute bouts weekly, depending upon your fitness level, will do the trick.  If you do choose to swim or participate in an aqua program, make certain to include weight bearing activities on your non-aqua days.  *See Weight/Cardio Circuit Training below.

Weight/Cardio Circuit Training – performing a combination weight and cardio circuit training program two to three days per week may enhance any of the above activities.  The key is to intersperse weight training stations, both body weight and external resistance (i.e. dumbbells, resistive tubing, plate loaded equipment and selectorized and functional station equipment) with stations dedicated to improving your cardiovascular endurance such as jogging on a step platform, plyometrics, BOSU or trampoline, using the hula hoop or air ropes/jump ropes, etc.  Set up the circuit with ten to fourteen, 75-second stations and repeat it twice through.  Each cardio station is performed continuously for 75 seconds while the weight training stations are performed 30 seconds, with a 15 second break and another 30 second work interval.  *Cardio stations may also emphasize HITT!

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado.  She may be reached at her website at, her email at and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.

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