“Barcelona has as many rainy days as Germany has sunny days,” says Sascha Rado. The 35-year-old Dutch personal trainer moved here seven years ago from Germany, when he realised that his life there wasn’t conducive to pursuing his passion of fitness and outdoor training. “I was working in Germany but realised that I had to spend all of my time indoors, except during the summer. I love being outdoors and I figured Barcelona was the best city for that, especially for working out and personal training,” Rado explains. And Rado is not alone in his reasons for moving to this European coastal city. For anyone interested in health and wellness, and exercising under the sun, Barcelona is a fitness haven. If you’ve ever been to Parc de la Ciutadella after dark, this daytime picnic hot spot and guitar-playing hippie hub transforms into one of the busiest workout spaces in Ciutat Vella, if not the city. It’s quite common to see several Boot Camp groups training side by side surrounded by running clubs, outdoor yoga classes and a variety of other workout programmes.Shay O’Malley is new to the Ciutadella scene. The Australian physiotherapist recently became the only certified Healthy HIT Pilates instructor in Spain; an innovative workout addressing the other side of fitness that regular Pilates doesn’t touch upon. It adds cardiovascular bursts to Pilates moves in order to create a very intense 20-minute exercise; one that O’Malley says is more beneficial than a slow, 60-minute run. Recently, she’s taken her class out of the studio and into the park.“By performing the classes in the park it helps people to connect with nature in an otherwise built up environment,” says O’Malley. “Being surrounded by greenery and breathing in fresh air helps to revitalise the system much more than working out within the confines of a studio space.”
And this is just one of several new exercise trends that are gaining momentum as Barcelona jumps even further onto the urban fitness bandwagon. As we tend to spend longer days in the office, people are craving to be outside in the fresh air and in nature. This is resulting in a stronger effort to move from the gyms to the parks and onto the streets and it’s a push that’s being realised by both the trainers as well as the clients.“It’s a two-way trend we’re witnessing,” says Rado. “Trainers are beginning their own projects outside of the gyms where it’s more personal and private and often less intimidating for the clients, and in the case of group classes it’s a lot more social. Everyone’s becoming more creative.”As one of Barcelona’s pioneers in the outdoor workout movement, Rado’s been conducting Boot Camp and Street Workouts around the city for more than three years through his companies, Active-8 and Urban All Stars. He maintains that not only are the classes excellent for getting in shape, they’re also ideal for meeting people, socialising and for motivating one another. His Boot Camp class hosts a Protein Picnic once a month and organises a social night out every few weeks, activities that promote outdoor fitness as well as increased social interaction. So whether you’re looking to meet like-minded people, or leave the gym and get outside this summer, take a look below at some of Barcelona’s most popular outdoor workout trends.
Boot CampWhat is it: This is a high intensity, one-hour workout where you use your own bodyweight to increase fitness, build strength and improve your cardiovascular system.Why Boot Camp: “Boot Camp is great for getting into shape. It’s challenging and pushes you to train outside of your comfort zone. You are also guaranteed to get stronger and lose weight if you train two or more times a week. I also really enjoy the classes, as they are different every time and you get to meet really nice people.” Fiona Brooks—Certified Personal Trainer and regular Boot Camp participant.Where and when: Boot Camp classes take place all over the city, including Parc de la Ciutadella, Bogatell Beach, Parc del Clot and Sant Cugat. Classes are at all times of the day. Check the schedule for specific times.Price: Single class €6; monthly membership €36 for unlimited classes.For more information: www.urban-allstars.com
Healthy HIT Pilates
What is it: Healthy HIT Pilates was created by Glenn Withers, a physiotherapist and one of the co-founders of the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute. This new workout regime is a combination of High Intensity Training (HIT) and traditional mat work Pilates movements. The class is approximately 35 minutes in length with 20 minutes of high intensity workout, which is a mix of 30-second cardiovascular bursts and 30-second Pilates recovery moves.
Why Healthy HIT Pilates: “This is a great workout if you want to get maximum benefits in a short period of time for pretty much every part of your overall fitness including: endurance, power, strength and stability.” Shay O’Malley—Physiotherapist, Acupuncturist, Certified Healthy Hit Pilates Instructor.
Where and when: Healthy HIT Pilates sessions are ongoing through much of July. Classes take place a few times a week in the evenings in Parc de la Ciutadella, usually beginning at 8.30pm.Price: Drop-in class is €15. Full six-week programme is €99 and includes two, 35-minute workouts a week and two fitness tests, one at the beginning and one at the end to track progress.
For more information: To sign up for the six-week package or join an individual class, contact Shay: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is it: Street Workouts are high intensity workouts in parks or using public facilities such as equipment in schoolyards or playgrounds. They consist of using urban objects including benches, curbs, stairs and trees to train the different muscles and muscle groups of the body and it’s a combination of calisthenics, bodyweight exercises combined with gymnastics and athletics. Street Workouts have become increasingly popular among the younger generations due to the fact that they are free, you can tone quite well and it promotes a healthy and sociable lifestyle.
Why Street Workouts: “This is very physically demanding as it works the stabilising muscles. If you want to gain strength, improve balance or build muscle, street workouts are ideal.” Sascha Rado—Level Three Personal Trainer & Strength Growth Specialist in Human Biomechanics
Where and when: Classes take place throughout the day in Parc del Clot. Check website for schedule. Price: Single class €6; monthly membership €36 for unlimited classes.
For more information: www.urban-allstars.com
What: Fartlek, means ‘speed play’ in Swedish and it’s a workout method that combines endurance and interval training. The varied intensity and continuous nature of the exercise allow both the aerobic and anaerobic systems to work hard. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured, meaning that the intensity and/or speed fluctuate according to the athlete. Most sessions last at least 45 minutes and can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting, but can include almost any kind of exercise.
Why Fartlek: “It is incredibly effective, very challenging and a lot of fun. This class is unique in Barcelona and provides a completely different workout from what is already available. It is an activity that boosts team spirit, gets you fit fast and promotes a healthy and active lifestyle.” Anna Bezuglova—Certified Personal Trainer specialising in sports and in working with competitive athletes.
Where and when: Urbanathlon/Fartlek classes will begin early this summer. Check the website for specific times.Price: Single class €6; monthly membership €36 for unlimited classes.
For more information: www.urban-allstars.com or to try a class contact email@example.com