Krista Stryker's Must-Haves For Your Fittest Summer Yet + A Bonus 12-Minute Workout
Summer is the best time of year to enjoy the outdoors and get active.
Even better, the great weather means I can get my workouts done without ever having to set foot in a gym. Whether you hit a nearby park, the beach, or even just your own backyard, outdoor workouts are especially fun ways to break a sweat while getting some vitamin D.
To make sure I never miss out on any fun summer activities, here are five things I bring with me so I can work out anywhere:
1. Jump rope
Jump ropes are one of my favorite workout tools. Although I do a lot of body-weight exercises, jump ropes allow me to add variety and increase my heart rate.
As a bonus, jump ropes are so small you can throw them in your bag and take them with you wherever you go.
2. ALOHA protein bars
I need to eat every few hours or I get hangry (I know you know what I mean!). As a lifelong vegetarian, it can be tough to get enough protein in my diet when I’m not cooking at home. That’s why I make sure to pack ALOHA protein bars. I eat them as a post-workout meal—perfect for refueling my muscles immediate following a sweat session—or as a high-protein snack whenever I get hungry.
Unlike most protein bars, which are more like candy bars than a healthy food option, ALOHA bars are made with 18 grams of plant-based protein and real food ingredients like pea, hemp, and pumpkin seed protein, nuts, and dark chocolate.
And most importantly, they taste awesome.
I’m a total sun worshiper, but that doesn’t mean I want to put myself at risk for sunburn or skin cancer. I try not to lie in the sun for extended periods of time and carry sunscreen with me wherever I go.
I opt for at least 15 or 30 SPF and make sure the sunscreen is broad spectrum to keep both harmful UVA and UVB rays from damaging my skin.
4. Reusable water bottle
Since I’m always on the move during summer, I have to be extra careful about staying hydrated. That’s why I never leave the house without a reusable water bottle to keep from getting thirsty.
Refilling my own water bottle is also a small way to help the environment rather than buying multiple plastic water bottles every single day.
Whole pieces of fruit like bananas, apples, or oranges are great pre-workout snacks to keep my energy up during HIIT workouts as well as outdoor activities. I never leave the house without a piece of fruit.
A 12-Minute Workout You Can Do Outside This Summer
Take your workout outside this summer with a quick and effective HIIT workout.
This workout will only take you 12 minutes. All you’ll need is an interval timer and a jump rope. To start, set your interval timer to 18 rounds of 10-second and 30-second intervals. Prepare to rest on the 10-second intervals and work really, really hard on the 30-second ones. Go through three rounds of the following exercises:
- Single jumps with a jump rope (advanced option: double-unders)
- High knees with a jump rope
- Reptile push-ups
- Side lunges
- Burpee lateral jumps
- Split leg v-ups
1. Single jumps with a jump rope
Hold a jump rope with both hands and make sure the rope is behind you. Jump up as you swing the jump rope under you. Keep your arms close to you and your core tight as you continue to jump.
Advanced version: Try doing double-unders instead.
2. High knees with a jump rope
Hold a jump rope with both hands with rope behind you. Drive your right knee toward your chest and quickly lower to the ground as you swing the jump rope around at the same time. Follow with your left knee, then continue alternating knees, working as fast as you possibly can.
3. Reptile push-ups
Start in a push-up position with your shoulders directly over your hands, and tighten your core. While lowering your chest to the floor, bring one knee toward your elbow on the same side of the body. Push yourself back up and repeat on the opposite side.
Beginner version: Put your hands on an elevated surface and do reptile push-ups from there.
4. Side lunges
Stand up straight with your legs wider than hip-width apart (the longer your legs, the wider your stance will need to be). Bend one knee as far as you can while keeping the other leg straight to the side, then raise back up and repeat on the opposite side.
5. Burpee lateral jumps
Stand up straight, then drop down and do a burpee, and instead of the jump up, jump as far as you can to one side. Immediately do another burpee, then jump back to the starting position.
6. Split leg v-ups
Lie on your back with your arms straight above your head. Pull your belly button toward the floor, and raise your right leg as you reach both arms toward your right foot. Lower back down, and repeat on the left side.
With the warmer weather and seemingly endless days, summer is the perfect time to get outside and stay active. Whether you’re sweating it out with a HIIT workout, doing yoga at a park with friends, or exploring nature by foot, make sure you’re always prepared for any activity that comes your way, refuel afterward to keep your body healthy and strong, and most of all, have fun!
What’s the number one thing on my summer bucket list this year? Finally learning to surf!
Krista Stryker, NSCA-CPT is the author of The 12-Minute Athlete: Get Fitter, Faster, and Stronger Using HIIT and Your Bodyweight and a leading expert on high intensity interval training (HIIT) and bodyweight fitness. She currently lives in Venice, California, and is a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
From trying her first push up in college, to teaching herself to do pull ups and handstands, Krista is living proof of her philosophy that everybody is an athlete. She has helped tens of thousands of people to unlock their full athletic potential through her 12 Minute Athlete HIIT Workouts app and 12 Minute Athlete blog. You can find her @12minuteathlete on all social platforms.