Ask just about anyone in this country, and they’ll take great pleasure in telling you that British weather is reliably grey, wet and shitty for at least 10 months of the year, which makes working out indoors in a sweaty gym a pretty appealing option most of the time.
But if there’s one thing we Brits are good at, it’s making the most of what little sunshine we do get. So wherever you are this weekend, step outside, breathe in the fresh air and prepare to get into the greatest shape of your life.
GO SEA KAYAKING: BEST FOR UPPER BODY STRENGTH
First steps, as told by wave-slaying sea kayaker Joe Leach...
Row your boat
“Competitive kayakers have huge arms and their lats are like wings, giving them a V-shape. It’s a great cardio workout and hits your core hard too.”
“It’s good to do intense 40-minute sessions to get fit and strong. Sit-ups, press-ups and squats are good for extra strength in between sessions.”
“I always take a first aid kit, waterproofs, a buoyancy aid, food, two means
of communication (like a phone, VHF or flares) and a spare paddle.”
Sign up for a beginners’ course at seakayakingcornwall.com, from £95 – you’ll learn to paddle like a pro and float towards a beefy physique.
GO TRAIL RUNNING: BEST FOR LOSING WEIGHT
First steps, as told by 168km Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc winner Jez Bragg...
“Trail running has less impact on the body than normal because natural surfaces are more forgiving. The varied terrain works your core too.”
“Set yourself a target like a certain distance or time. I also recommend cross-training with cycling or swimming as it strengthens your body.”
“I can’t leave home without my waterproof North Face Stormy Trail jacket and trousers. You’ve got to be prepared.”
“Buy an Ordnance Survey map. Wherever you are in the UK, there will be trails to explore because we have an incredible network of paths.”
GO STREET TRIALS BIKING: BEST FOR MASSIVE GUNS
First steps, as told by street trials sensation Dany MacAskill...
“The best place to learn the basics is on a kerb, then build up to other things. It’s all about balance, which is from your core – like with climbers.”
“You need real strength to control a trials bike – everything goes through your shoulders, back, core and leg muscles.”
“I couldn’t do this without my Inspired Skye trials bike, my POC Crane helmet and Index Air gloves, and a can of Red Bull.”
You can get hold of a decent entry-level bike for £500, but to ride like Danny, pick up an Inspired Hex Team bike for £1,499.99 at tartybikes.co.uk.
GO CLIMBING: BEST FOR MUSCLE DEFINITION
First steps, as told by wall-crawling legend James Pearson...
Just do it
“The best training is climbing itself, which helps you to prepare physically, move fluidly, judge situations and make decisions. It’s a full-body workout.”
“You work a lot with your legs, but it’s your upper body that deals with most of the force. Pull-ups are good for building up your strength.”
“I always wear my La Sportiva Futura shoes and bag. Your shoes should be as tight as possible: the less free space, the less they will move.”
Hone your gravity-beating skills on a First Steps climbing course in the Peak
District (£125, rockclimbingpeakdistrict.co.uk).
Words by Dan Masoliver
Photography: Chuck Fryberger/Reel Rock Tour, Ciavaldini/Pearson Col, Damaino Levati, Dan Milner, Davi Simmonite, Jacope Larcher, Riky Felderer, The North Face/The Reunion 13