Let’s be honest, sometimes going to the gym is just no fun. Lucky us — we live in San Diego!
Brian White | Fitness
I have spent the majority of my life inside of gyms. Whether exercising or working as a personal trainer, let me tell you, it can get stuffy.
I never realized how bad it could get until the first summer I started my outdoor boot camp in Balboa Park. Once that camp got going eight years ago, I was forced to be outside another 10 hours a week — it was amazing!
Most of you know about our incredible weather, because you moved here like me from another state because of it, or you were just lucky enough to be born here. If the latter was the case, go give your mom or dad a hug, you lucky dogs.
I think during many parts of our lives we can either forget all that San Diego can offer outdoors, or we just caught up in a routine that doesn’t afford us any extra time to get out in the sun. Maybe what you need is something new to do.
So here is list of activities you can do right here in our city to burn calories, soak in some Vitamin D and get a phenomenal workout. I’ll score these leg burners on degree of difficulty from one to five.
Mt Woodson: The semi-famous “potato chip rock” is a great hike for intermediate to advanced hikers that can take between two to four hours roundtrip. There are quite a few hills, beautiful views of Lake Poway and surrounding mountains, and enough switchbacks to make you dizzy. Just look up directions to Lake Poway Park, it is about a 30-minute drive from Downtown. If you don’t think you are ready to get all the way to the top, about half way up there is a huge tree that shades a big rock outcropping and is a great place to relax and enjoy the views too. My favorite hike, and don’t forget to get a good pic atop the chip. This is a 4.5 leg-burner.
The HODAD: This place is famous to my boot campers at least, and it’s located right in beautiful Balboa Park. The HODAD got its name from my boot campers who have affectionately dubbed it “The Hill Of Death & Despair.” Don’t let the scary name get to you; this hill is great for all fitness levels. Located right behind the dog park just before the 163 overpass near Laurel Street, walk it as if you are going over the bridge to the museums. Open the gate at the rear end of the dog park and head down to the top of the loop: This is the HODAD. A great, short and intense workout here is to set your watch for 10 minutes and see how many times you can get around the loop. Our boot camp record is just about seven full laps. Can you beat it? This is a three-leg burner.
56 Bike Route: The entire route stretches for 18 miles and is completely paved, which is great for all bikes. It runs along Route 56 from the 15 to the 5 freeway. Great places to get on the path are Black Mountain Road or at Camino Del Sur in Del Mar. This is a great ride for all levels of riders, from pros to families to recreational riders. In fact, various bike companies will set up free stands on the weekends for you filled with water stations and bananas and tools to fix your bike. This is a four-leg burner.
Torrey Pines State Park: This popular spot is a great place to get a great workout in. You can run from the lower parking lot, down the cliffs and back on the beach in less than an hour, or you can hike it in about 90 minutes. I can’t think of any other place that offers the diversity Torrey Pines does, paved roads give way to sand covered trails, which give way to beach sand. All fitness levels can hike this route and the views are unparalleled in San Diego. This is a two-leg burner.
Bachman Place: Many have driven up, but few have done intervals on this awesome hill that is located behind the hospitals in Hillcrest. There are five light posts from the bottom of the street to the top here, which make for a great interval workout. Start at the bottom and sprint to the last light post as fast as you can and walk all the way back down. Then turn and sprint to the next to last light post and walk down. Repeat for the rest of the light posts and you are done. If you are looking for a little more, repeat a second time-start with the short sprint first, and getting longer on each one. This is a five-leg burner.