5 outdoor workouts around Lake Tahoe

Today's post comes from personal trainer and group fitness instructor, Shelley Nielsen, sharing her tips for outdoor workouts around Lake Tahoe. See her full bio at the bottom.

It's no secret that it was a long winter around Lake Tahoe. But a long winter makes for a well-deserved summer. And after the winter we just had, its time to take advantage of it by taking all that pent-up energy outside.

Outdoor exercise, also known as “green exercise,” combines a couple of my favorite things, which just happen to be health-enhancing activities and the great outdoors. Bonus points that Lake Tahoe really is nature's gym. If you're lucky enough to call Lake Tahoe home, or are simply visiting, there are a number of great activities and programs for taking your workout outside. From paddleboard yoga to trail running, I'm sharing with you today five outdoor workouts around Lake Tahoe that don't require a gym membership. 

1. Earn your legacy on the Truckee River Legacy Trail.

Grab your shoes, bike and even Fido to hit the Truckee River Legacy Trail (pictured below from Truckee.com), a 5-mile, Class 1 trail meandering along the beautiful Truckee River. Enjoy safely biking, walking and running along one of the area's most beautiful natural features, the Truckee River, just minutes from downtown Truckee. Plus, following the winter we just experienced, the river is raging like never before! If you don't have your own bike, rent one from Bike Truckee in downtown Truckee.

2. Take a Breathtaking Hike.

Hiking is not only an incredible workout, but around Lake Tahoe it provides access to some of the Sierra Nevada's most breathtaking views. Among the notable hiking trails, the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail and 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). As you build your hiking legs, try adding some trail running intervals. For example, run 30 seconds for every 2 minutes of hiking. A few of my favorite Lake Tahoe hikes for a workout: Tahoe Rim Trail's Brockway Summit to Viewpoint (3 miles round-trip and 800 feet of elevation gain), Five Lakes Trail (5 miles round-trip, 1,100 feet of elevation gain) and Shirley Canyon Waterfalls (4 miles round-trip, 1,400 feet of elevation gain). 

3. Discover what's SUP.

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a great full-body, low-impact workout for all levels, a meditative experience for some, and physical challenge for others. No matter what your skill level, however, you'll find a SUP experience for you, be it cruising around Lake Tahoe's Sand Harbor or paddling down the Truckee River. As you master your paddle skills, find even greater balance with SUP Yoga. SUP yoga classes are offered around Lake Tahoe, including Kings Beach with Well Being, which offers SUP sessions with board rentals.

4. Keep it social with outdoor fitness classes.

Add a little camaraderie and challenge to your workout with an outdoor fitness class. Outdoor fitness classes provide energetic, motivating and ever-changing workouts while forming new friendships and getting your Vitamin D fix. My own company, Fit530, offers weekly drop-in outdoor fitness classes featuring 50-minute sessions that will challenge you to do everything from sprint drills to obstacles courses to equipment-free strength-building exercises. We even offer a pool-based version called AquaHIIT. Fit530's outdoor and pool classes are offered on different days of the week at Truckee River Regional Park, Truckee Community Pool and Northstar California. Email Fit530@hotmail.com for more info. 

5. Hit the dirt.

Lake Tahoe is a world-class mountain biking destination. Whether you're looking for a scenic, mellow ride, or a steep, adrenaline-pumping trail, Lake Tahoe has it. For a unique experience, the Northstar Downhill Bike Park (pictured below) features lift-access biking down the same green, blue and black trails that you'd be shredding down during the winter. Lastly, many local companies, such as A Singletrack Mind and Tahoe Mountain Guides, offer guided half-day, full-day and multi-day biking tours.

Finally, if you're new to visiting or exercising outdoors around Lake Tahoe, don't forget to acclimatize. Start with short sessions and lighter intensity, even if just for a few minutes. Additionally, I recommend taking a bag packed with sunscreen, water, a hat and wicking material or protective rain gear.

Shelley Nielsen is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer + Group Fitness Instructor and owner of FIT530. She specializes in high intensity interval (HIIT) training, core-focused programming, circuits, aqua fitness, strength-based, cardio dance and bootcamp-style classes. When Shelley is not teaching fitness classes, you'll find her spending time with her family (Mike and her four-legged best friend, Cleo), traveling, skiing, dancing, and enjoying anything dark chocolate.