outdoor activities

The Community is a Reality

This past Sunday was the first time in a long time that I would describe the weather here in Tampa as truly enjoyable. Temps were in the low 70s, humidity was essentially nonexistent, and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. The setting for the first Elemental Training Tampa (ETT) group class was almost too good to be true. I set up the mats while Shannon wrote out the day’s workout on the whiteboard. The post workout snacks were arranged on the table and the soundtrack for the class was pumping – I believe it was the 80’s cardio station (which ended up being pretty popular). We were visually prepared, but right before the class participants arrived a thought crept into my mind that made me wonder if I was mentally prepared. The thought was, “Can I do this?”

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I have taught fitness classes in the past where I was frequently responsible for creating the exercise format for the class. What I had planned for Sunday was nothing I hadn’t done before, but in a way it was. In the past I was simply an instructor representing a larger entity, but on Sunday I was representing myself and my creation, ETT. If I was unable to provide an engaging workout and/or atmosphere, it would certainly hurt future interest and the word of mouth I was relying so heavily on would most likely be less than complimentary. The pressure that I created for myself was a little unnerving, but the feeling only lasted a moment, because I suddenly remembered something: diamonds are only made under constant pressure. Once I came to that realization, I essentially welcomed the feeling of pressure because I knew it would help motivate me to create and lead excellent group workouts. These feelings all took place over the span of 10-20 seconds, and the thought of, “Can I do this?” quickly changed to, “I am going to do this.”

Soon after my little mental epiphany, the class participants began to arrive. Before long I had eight individuals standing in a single-file line facing me waiting for instructions. An hour of class flew by in a blink of an eye. I’m sure I flubbed some words, spoke a little too quickly, and my voice definitely cracked like a 13-year old boy at least twice, but I knew that I had led a great workout. After the training session ended, everyone grabbed some healthy snacks and began chatting with each other about the class they just completed, other workouts they had performed, races they were going to take part in and other fitness related topics. When I saw that, I knew that ETT no longer existed only online. The fitness community that I had been hoping to create was coming to life right in front of me.

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The feedback about the first ETT workout has been extremely positive and given me some good ideas for future ETT workouts. The next ETT group training session will be held on October 19th. Check out ETT on Facebook for more details. HIT IT!

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Bayshore Boulevard Linear Park & Fitness Trail

I recently had an epiphany about the Tampa Bay Area during a weekend stroll with our 2 1/2 year old mutt Jasmine. I realized that over the 12 years I lived in, out and around the Tampa Bay Area, it has slowly but surely become a true destination for outdoor fitness activities. The area is well-known for its beaches, which are prime training grounds for someone like myself who participates in triathlons, but it’s the locations away from the beaches that makes me believe the Tampa Bay Area is becoming more conducive to the active lifestyle. The new additions include bike lanes (which are necessary for the new bike sharing program), running paths, and green spaces. Tampa is not only creating new areas for outdoor activities, they are also renovating existing outdoor exercise areas, and one happens to be right outside my front door.

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Ok, so the last statement wasn’t entirely true, but Bayshore Boulevard Linear Park is only a 5-10 minute walk from my apartment. This is extremely beneficial, because Bayshore provides 4.5 miles of uninterrupted sidewalk that is perfect for road work, whether it be on foot, rollerblades, bike, or those funny looking 3-wheelers that you have to sway side to side on to propel. The sidewalk is 10 feet wide and multiple online sources claim it is the longest continuous sidewalk in the world. I love using this location for long runs, short runs, and interval training because I don’t have to worry about watching out for cars. It also provides the occasional dolphin sighting and great scenic views of Downtown Tampa and Hillsborough Bay.

Bayshore Boulevard acts as one of the main arteries connecting South Tampa to Downtown Tampa. In addition to the longest continuous sidewalk in the world, Bayshore also provides on-road bike lanes. Until recently, only the northbound side had a bike lane, which forced many cyclists, like me, to make our southbound trips on the sidewalk. But now the city is slowly adding bike lanes to the southbound side to entice cyclists back to the road. The city has also replaced all the exercise equipment on the portion of Bayshore referred to as the Bayshore Fitness Trail. The new equipment includes items such as pull-up bars, dip stations, sit-up benches, push-up stations, and my personal favorite – monkey bars. These stations provide more opportunity for a full body workout while visiting Bayshore Boulevard Linear Park. Hopefully you will take advantage of the opportunities that Bayshore Boulevard provides.

Get out there and get active, because your health is worth it. HIT IT!

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If you’re interested in a visual account of Bayshore Boulevard Linear Park & Fitness Trail, a video I shot out there will soon be up on the Elemental Training Tampa YouTube channel.