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Real World Fitness: Obstacle Circuit Challenges

P90X powerhouse Tony Horton has a motto he’s coined for his own fitness brand: “Inside training for the outside world”. It’s what we here at HDIGF like to call “Real-World Fitness“. After all, isn’t that what all your sweat and hard work is about? Sure, it’s fun to look good when your shirt accidentally rips while you’re walking down the street but when you stop gasping for breath while doing simple day to day activities and start running laps around people you used to think were fit… that’s cool stuff.

So with Summer here, how about a way to get outdoors and put that indoor P90X or Insanity training to the test?

Of course, P90X2 picks up on this mantra and offers a sort of “free day” in the training schedule and if you’re doing your own hybrid, Saturday can be a great day for mixing it up as well. Here’s a great way to get outside and get things going– hit up a Running Obstacle Circuit.

What You Need:

  • You.
  • A route you can run, skip or plyo lunge your way through.
  • A list of body weight exercises (we’ll get to that in a minute).
  • A heaping plate of enthusiasm and resolve.

How Your “Obstacle Circuit Challenge” Works

Create or use a 2-4 mile loop you’re familiar with. It could be at a local park, lake, neighborhood or a route you design yourself (an easy way to design a route is to hop in the car and drive out the mileage you’d like while tracking it on your odometer). Along this route, you’ll pick certain points you’ll stop your run for some body weight intensity– these are your “obstacles”. Pick five or so moves and, when you reach a designated point, stop your run and hit those body weight exercises for a booty-kicking good time.

Remember that list? Here’s a few options:

  • 10 Burpees
  • 2-3 sets of Stair Drills
  • A minute of Ski Hops
  • Max Pull ups
  • 20 Bench jumps
  • 30 (or Max) Pushups (Incline, Decline, Flat)
  • 40 Squats
  • 20 Pulse-Squats (down to squat, pulse, pulse, pulse, up… down to squat, etc.)
  • 50 Lunges
  • 2-3 sets of Sprints (break out of your run and sprint for 30 seconds, jog it out, sprint, etc.)
    Hill Repeats

You can always add your own variety of P90X or Insanity moves based on your goals, but putting in a body resistance exercise makes it a full body adventure!  Here’s a few more variations on the theme:

The Five Mile Challenge

If you’re feeling rowdy, sassy or want to be a real go-getter, try the five mile challenge. Make your route a five mile run and at every mile, add a series of upper body strength building moves.

The Push Up/Pull Up Run

Whether your route is a mile or five, drop and give yourself 20 (or 30 or 40…) at selected landmarks along the route. Pushups are the name of the game in this adventure, and there’s plenty of styles so you don’t get bored: Plyo pushups, “hear to heart”, wide, military, incline, decline, staggered… the list goes on!

Destination: Pukesville

Pick a short route (1-2 miles) which, at the halfway point, takes you to a decent flight of stairs. A stadium, a park, a high school, etc. When you get to your destination at the .5 or 1 mile mark, go for a serious round of stair sprints. Run up, jog down, run up, jog down til you can’t go no mo’. This will help your agility and endurance. When you think you’re toast, jog the rest of the way home.

The BFF Challenge

This one is easy… pick any of the above… but bring a friend!

When it’s all said and done, this is about applying your program to the real world– and with great weather, it’s OK to do that. Now get your Obstacle Circuit Challenge going, remember to HYDRATE and get out there!

Got any more ideas for an Obstacle Circuit Challenge? Let’s hear ’em!

Looking for P90X or Graduate Level Beachbody Coaching and Real World Support? Get a hold of me at or make me your official, free Beachbody Coach right here. 

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