MKT trail workout

This time of year, working up a sweat outdoors sounds much more appealing than it might during the humid summer months. Trails such as the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail, Stephens Lake Park and Grindstone Nature Area weave through Columbia and provide the ideal escape from gym machines. Find a patch of grass, utilize park benches and rethink the use of monkey bars this fall. But first, learn from the masters. Local fitness specialists are here to help you upgrade your exercise. 

Switch up the pace

Toni Matson, a trainer at Body Refinery Gym, likes to split her time between the gym and the fitness station at the MKT Stadium trailhead. She saves her cardio and bodyweight workouts for the latter. “You do not need to lift weights every day to see progress,” Matson says. 

Incorporating HIIT — high intensity interval training — into your regimen shreds your muscles, which leads to protein synthesis. This is the process muscles go through to repair the micro-tears they experience during exercise, according to Livestrong. The repaired muscle will, as a result of this cellular turnover, grow stronger and larger.

Supplement your sprints

Bridget Lolli, a nutrition coach at CrossFit Fringe’s west location, helps clients tailor their nutrition to their workout goals. In addition to her career as a nutrition coach, Lolli also works full-time as a nurse and has two young kids, so meal prepping is a key supplement to her workouts. “I always have a protein, I always have lots of vegetables and then typically a complex carbohydrate,” she says.

While the protein aids muscle repair, the vegetables and complex carbs such as beans, whole grains and peas enrich your diet with fiber. This keeps you fuller for a longer amount of time and boosts your metabolism in the process, according to Women’s Health.

It’s a plan

Matson and Lolli both point out how motivational it is to hit the trails with a workout buddy. “If I have a plan to meet a friend then I have to because I can’t let them down,” Matson says. On busy days, Lolli uses her workouts as a time to catch up with friends. Meeting up keeps you accountable, she says.

Ready to start your own seasonal training regimen? Follow Lolli and Matson below by doing four sets of 12 reps in each activity. Or, make it a circuit of 20 reps per workout with a one-minute sprint afterward. Repeat the circuit three to four times. 


Start with your chest on the ground, palms pressed to the floor and your elbows slightly tucked in. Jump into a frog position — feet behind your hands — and then hop straight up.

Decline crunches

Engage your core muscles by flexing, rather than sucking in your stomach, as you raise your torso up to your knees. Keep your eyes locked forward and your chin up, not pressed down against your neck. 

If you don't have a machine to use, simply flatten your back against the ground and pull your core all the way up to your knees. 

Air squats

Standing straight, bend into a seated position with your thighs parallel to the ground. Make sure to keep your chest up and your toes pointed slightly out. 

Jumping lunges

Launch yourself up straight and then into a lunge, switching legs with each jump. Remember to keep your knee at a 90-degree angle, never bent over your toes. 


Lie down with your stomach facing the ground. With your core tucked in and elbows pulled toward your hips, push your body up off the floor using your chest muscles. You can also find a bench or curb and push up on an incline. 

Australian pull-ups

Clutching the bar with your palms facing you, straighten your legs at an angle to the ground. Pull yourself up while maintaining a straight back and engaged core. 

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