Warrior pose just feels stronger when your feet are in the grass. And kettlebell squats are remarkably more enjoyable when your view is Casco Bay.
There are endless perks to working out outside, especially on days when the air is warm and the breeze is cool. The welcome spring temperatures come at the perfect time, with state recommendations giving local gyms and fitness studios the thumbs up to lead outdoor workouts. After three months of staying in, it will feel good to get out, although some of us might need to shake our muscles awake after a prolonged spring slumber.
The first week of June marks the return of the Portland Sweat Project, a free fitness group that meets weekly at various locations for early morning workouts all year. PSP has lured people to sweat through the city for years. The same goes for Sunrise Portland’s boot camp classes on the Eastern Prom led by personal trainer Tricia Rose and yoga at Bug Light Park with yoga instructor Kelly Rich.
But now many more gyms and yoga studios have taken their indoor classes outside to the grass and asphalt. It’s a shift for some instructors, but also a welcome opportunity to connect with members in real life again and keep their small businesses running.
“There’s been so much problem solving,” said Jessica Petrie, yoga instructor and founder of Yoga Next Door, which she runs out of a small studio in her home in North Yarmouth. Like many gyms and studios, Petrie moved her classes online in March, an approach that worked for the interim.
“We were able to see each other, connect, and talk about postures that are challenging,” Petrie said. But it wasn’t the same as the in-person experience. She is now leading two outdoor yoga classes a week, from the lawn of her home. There’s space to spread out, shade under tall trees, and chirping birds for background music.
“I’m so grateful I can keep doing what I love to do in some capacity,” Petrie said.
Check in with your local gym or favorite trainers and teachers to see what outdoor options they might now be offering, and keep in mind that necessary protocols are in place, like maintaining physical distance, sanitizing, and wearing masks when physical distance might not be possible.
Let’s support these small businesses and get ripped while working out outdoors – or at least have a sweaty good time trying.
Yoga Next Door
Jessica Petrie leads gentle yoga in the grass at her home on Christopher Road in North Yarmouth. Bring a mat and enjoy yoga amid the sounds of a woodsy neighborhood. Classes in June are 3 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. Tuesday, and a drop-in class costs $13. Please register in advance. For more information: www.facebook.com/yoganextdoor and yoganextdoor.wordpress.com.
Portland Sweat Project
Lively group workouts at a different Portland location each week. Portland Sweat Project is free and meets at 6:29 a.m. every Wednesday, year-round. You’ll run, plank, lunge, and who knows what else. To find out where the group is meeting each week, check the PSP Facebook and Instagram pages and just show up. For more information: www.facebook.com/PortlandSweatProject and www.instagram.com/portlandsweatproject.
Sprint up the East End hill and work your core in full view of Casco Bay during a boot camp class on the Eastern Promenade with Tricia Rose of Sunrise Portland. Rose leads classes at 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday and will have you working your lungs and muscles hard – and hopefully enjoying it, too. Group size will remain small, and advanced registration is required. For more information: www.sunriseportland.com.
Yoga at Bug Light Park
Stellar views of the Portland skyline, boats passing between Portland Harbor and Casco Bay, sounds of kids playing, the feel of cool grass on the soles of your feet. Being at Bug Light Park in South Portland is spectacular, and yoga instructor Kelly Rich leads the class with an easy-going calm that’s wonderfully contagious. The classes are 10 a.m. Sunday and 6 p.m. Tuesday through the spring and summer. Classes cost $15 and advanced registration required. For more information: www.facebook.com/kellyrichwellness.
Expect a serious sweat on the asphalt at 17 Railroad Ave. in Gorham. MY-FIT-24 leads total-body, high-intensity outdoor workouts several times a week: 5 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 6 a.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. Tuesday, 12 p.m. Monday, 4 p.m. Wednesday, and 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Classes are free for members and $20 for drop-ins. Class size is limited and advanced registration is required. MY-FIT-24 is also opening an outdoor open training area for members, which they’re calling the “Muscle Lot.” For more information: www.my-fit-24.com and www.facebook.com/MyFIT24Maine.
Freelance writer Shannon Bryan lives in South Portland and is the founder of fitmaine.com, where she writes about the coolest ways to be active and get outdoors in Maine.