Outdoor fitness trend growing in Amsterdam


Recorder News Staff

Warmer weather is becoming more frequent in the city of Amsterdam and local fitness instructors say they are bringing their classes outdoors to reap the benefits.

One of the first trainers to kick off the trend this year here in Amsterdam is Ed Korona, owner of Fit "1" Training on Guy Park Avenue. 

On Saturday, Korona brought one of his endurance classes up to the Bacon Recreation Center's Sassafras Park.

Everyone in the class, Korona said, is getting ready for a 5K race sometime soon and they will be heading up to the park every Tuesday and Saturday for the workout.

"It's like an endurance run downhill," he explained. "They dodge cones, go through trees and jump logs. It's tough."

Korona said the idea of having outdoor classes began last year with one of his kids programs where he would bring the kids who came for his classes to a park to have them play different games, like kickball, to stay active.

"Now we decided, let's take the adults outdoors just to get them out. This is new."

And the response has been good so far, he said.

"I think I'm going to stay with this one now," Korona said, "If it takes off, I would love to open up another one, whether it's running or boot camps outside."

But Korona isn't the only one; two other gyms in the area are also bringing the class outdoors: Alpin Haus Fitness and Hosner Fitness.

Hosner Fitness owner Lisa Hosner said their gym actually started outdoors. Lisa, along with her husband Rob, who has been in the fitness industry for 20 years, began TRX suspension training classes in Veteran's Field last spring.

"You give him one thing and he runs with it," Lisa said of Rob.

And it's the type of fitness program that allowed them to set up in a park. 

TRX suspension trainers are a "mobile fitness concept," Lisa said, "They are meant to be outdoors."

The suspension trainers hook up to the pavilion at the park and it takes a mere 15 minutes to set up the class.

They additionally bring some music and class-goers bring their own yoga mats.

"Mobile fitness was a concept that we liked from the get-go. We can take it to any park," Lisa said. "I think that's why we were so successful with it (park classes) and that's why a lot of people are jumping on the band wagon."

Though Hosner Fitness now has their own building, they will bring some classes back to their roots. 

Come May 4, 13 classes with 20 participants each will be held throughout the summer months.

Many of their current class participants have been asking for weeks when the outdoor classes would start.

Alpin Haus Fitness instructors are also gearing up for their May outdoor class start.

John Sumpter, one of the Alpin Haus trainers, said Friday that the classes they take outside behind the fitness center are their circuit classes.

Done mainly on gravel or concrete, the classes allow the circuit classes more space to do more exercises like rope training, sprints, and tire exercises.

Sumpter said they've been doing the outdoor classes for the past few years and being outside really brings something different to the participants.

"It brings the mood into it. You get people in touch with nice weather outside. It's sort of similar to music. Music puts you in the mood to workout, it gives you a positive attitude,just like outdoors," Sumpter said. "It's a change of scenery so it's awesome."

The fresh air and sun, Sumpter added, puts people in a good mood.

For Korona, though there is no popularity difference between indoor and outdoor classes right now, it is definitely a change of pace for participants.

"The open air, it's better for the body. It's better to be outdoors doing a lot of fitness than just being inside. And you get to utilize different things with being at the parks," Korona said. 

His outdoor endurance classes utilize the natural world to bring something new to the participants.

"Variety is key," he said. "I hope a lot more people catch on."

Lisa said the outdoor fitness class is how they got started and they continue to realize the benefits.

"We realized people really enjoy getting outside and getting the workout in," she said. "The energy level is higher outside, and it has a whole different vibe to it."