Spring Toward Summer with a Beach Body Challenge

Spring Toward Summer with a Beach Body Challenge
Presented by Spartan Training®

Sun and sand. Blue surf and an endless horizon. Swimwear. Beach runs, ocean swims, and sunrise yoga. Paddleboarding, volleyball, and surfing. And, of course, burpees. Are you starting to see it? It's not that far away. Time for a beach body challenge to get you ready to take it all in.

The goal of this beach body challenge guide is to show you how to have a blast at the beach while you simultaneously power yourself into your best fitness yet. With beach runs, ocean swims, sandbag and bodyweight exercises, fun beach activities, and yoga, we believe you can crush your summer fitness goals while having fun, making the most of your vacation time, and getting an abundance of vitamin D with your friends and family.

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This plan is not about creating a rigid training regimen designed to make you suffer. If you find yourself reluctant to do any of these workouts or activities, you are doing them wrong. And this plan is for all levels, too. If you are simply an active person seeking to push your limits of adventure this beach season, you are in the right place. If you are an extreme elite athlete, well, we think we can teach you a thing or two about chilling out under the sun while staying active and maintaining (and maybe improving on) your fitness.

When it comes to a beach body challenge, there are no rules against mixing recreation and exercise. It’s great combination, actually. Vacation is the best time to get to work on you. We’re serious—the fitness “grind” can be pure pleasure when you are in the right place with the right attitude with the right people doing the right things. You probably have a vacation to the beach already planned? (If not, plan it now.) Fearing you’ll lose your fitness is simply no longer an excuse. Get some sand between your toes this Fourth of July. Just leave your assumptions on the boardwalk and hit the coast ready to have so much fun you don’t even realize you are sharpening you fitness skills and refining your body to come back home mentally refreshed, tanned, and toned.

Beach Body Challenge Needs

What will you need for a beach body challenge:

A beach.

That’s it. Everything else is optional. Seriously. If it’s a nude beach, you don’t need anything to do the majority of this particular beach body plan. #noexcuses

A sandbag will be helpful though not required. But, really, what is your excuse for not having a sandbag when you’re at the beach? Can’t find any sand? You can make a sandbag with some sand, garbage bags, and tape. Or an old duffel bag or pillowcase. The ultimate sandbags to use are Spartan pancakes. If you do happen to pick some up from our merch store, they are easy to travel with, but don’t let not having one dissuade you from sandbag training.

Truly, workout gear will be the least of your worries with this beach body challenge. Your beach needs will far exceed your workout needs: Sunglasses. Sunscreen. Cooler with some healthy snacks and plenty of fluids. You can survive this workout plan with the same things you need to survive the beach.

Oh, and friends. You’ll want friends to join you on a beach body challenge. Why? Because in this plan there is an emphasis on cross-training activities. Try to schedule lots these if you can: surfing, volleyball, kiteboarding, paddleboarding, frisbee. Anything you want to do to maximize your fun while at the beach. Dive in. The key word in activities is “active.”

Unlike the rest of the plan, these might require a bit of planning, but not a whole lot. And the odds are you are already planning these things when you heading to the beach. Try to think of all the fun activities you want to do at the beach and plan on doing them at full speed. This plan has time built in just for them.

Why Run on Sand?

During this plan, we want you to take advantage of your environment, and the most obvious component of the beach is sand. Running on sand can be great for you, both physically and mentally. Here are some benefits.

Burn More Calories

Running on sand is tough. It takes more effort to move you forward because the process of sinking into sand and pulling your feet out of it produces drag on your forward motion. To run your usual mile at your usual pace requires much more energy, which can only be achieved by burning more calories.

Build More Stabilizing Muscles

When you plant your foot in sand, your footfall changes each time. This is because your foot sinks into the sand in unpredictable ways. On a beach run, there will be far greater variability in your steps than you experience on the road. Because of this, while running on the sand, you will develop stabilizing muscles you previously didn’t need when pounding pavement. The development of these stabilizing muscles will not only decrease the likelihood of injury in your running, but also get you ready to better handle trails and other inconsistent running surfaces.

Decreasing the Impact on Your Joints

As has already been mentioned, your feet push into the sand instead of bouncing off the ground, as they do in road running. This process cushions each foot strike. Particularly if you are a battleworn road racer, your body just might thank you for the chance to get some running in without the beating that comes from running on harder surfaces.

Enjoy a New Environment

A routine activity can become a brand-new experience when you change your location. It can be refreshing and can even kickstart a rebirth of sorts through achieving a new perspective. Besides, there is nothing more beautiful than an ocean sunrise or sunset. If a runner’s high kicks in at this time, you’ll probably have an experience you’ll carry with you for the rest of you life.

beach body challenge

Tips for Running on Sand

A few notes are in order for this beach body challenge, particularly if you are an avid runner, but have no experience running on sand. You will be working new muscles and taxing your body in new ways, so running on autopilot isn’t going to work out so well. Do NOT think you can do your regular routine on sand and not put yourself at risk of injury.

Ease into It

You need to ease into sand running, especially if you are doing it barefoot. Go easy. Slow it down. Build time running on sand gradually. Your best bet is to start with easy 10–20 minute runs. If that doesn’t feel like enough, break your daily 40–60 minutes of running into two separate runs.

Start with Wet Sand

The wet sand near the water’s edge is the most similar to non-beach running. It’s denser, so you won’t have to work as hard and you won’t strain yourself as much. You’ll also be much less likely to trip and faceplant.

Watch the Camber

The angle of the beach could cause some issues if you are not familiar with it. Out-and-back runs are a good way to even out the strain.

Watch Your Step

This is of utmost importance for the barefoot crowd. The beach is not a controlled environment. You don’t know what you will come across. From sharp shells and jagged rocks to glass bottles and tin cans, you just don’t know what might wash up on your route. You also don’t know when the beach might end. Carry shoes with you, just in case.

Why Ocean Swim?

Swimming is the ultimate full-body fitness experience. From the top of your head to the tip of your toes, every inch of you is involved with swimming. Here are some of the benefits to swimming in the ocean.

It Builds Muscle

Water is 1,000 times as dense as air. This means every inch you move in water requires much more force to be produced on your part. This means you’ll burn a ton of calories while strengthening your entire body.

It’s Low Impact

Water is denser than air, but it’s not as dense as the ground. With swimming, there isn’t the constant impact on your body that happens when you run. Your joints will thank you (even if your muscles curse you).

It’s Challenging

The ocean is an uncontrolled environment. Waves, tides, and changing coastline will keep you on your toes. This isn’t lap swimming at your YMCA, folks—you need to stay aware and be prepared to use bursts of energy at unexpected times. What mountain biking is to road cycling, ocean swimming is to pool swimming: a new natural environment to explore. The ocean is the last great frontier of exploration for humans on the planet Earth. Life evolved there and now it’s time for you to return. Get a pair of goggles. Do some free diving while out there. Keep an eye out for sea life.

Tips for Ocean Swimming

Be safe. Swim on a beach with a lifeguard. Watch out of undertow and riptides. Avoid coral reefs and rock shoals. Never swim alone.

Start Slow

If you don’t have a lot of experience swimming, you probably don’t understand the toll will take on your body. If you go too hard on day one, you might wake up too sore to do anything on day two, so start small. Your beach vacation will be a lot less fun if you are struggling to get out of bed.

Pay Attention

Don’t zone out. With all the currents and waves, before you know it, you might be too far from shore or way farther down it than you suspected.

Other Uses for the Ocean

Burpees in the Surf

Want to make burpees even harder? Do them in the water. Particularly while the waves come crashing down around you.

Karate Kid Workout

Remember in the movie where Daniel works on his balance by trying to remain on his feet while the waves crash into him? Do that. Or something like that. This is particularly important if you can’t swim or are uncomfortable swimming. You can get quite the workout by walking, jumping, and splashing around in the surf.

Why Train with a Sandbag?

To get stronger you must ask your body to exert more power than it is used to using, and you can only do so much with your body and gravity. The easiest way to add more weight to your exercises is to hold something heavy. For that, you don’t need a weight room. You don’t actually need weights. You just need some sand.

Well, there is a lot of sand at the beach. It’s easy enough to stuff a pillowcase or garbage bag full of it and tape it up. If you’ve got a nice set of Spartan pancakes you are totally set. They are reliable, durable, and easy to travel with.

Sandbag Exercises


Vertical tosses

Upright rows

Bent-over rows


Goblet squats


Overhead press

Why Do Bodyweight Exercises at the Beach?

Mobility begins with your ability to lift and move your body, which requires strength. Doing bodyweight exercises on sand conditions your body to be stronger as you repeat essential motions.

Increased Stabilizing Muscles

A beach body challenge is a terrific way to improve balance and work on injury prevention. Technically, running is a bodyweight exercise. Thus many of the things we talked about regarding running on the sand are applicable to doing bodyweight exercises. Because your footing will always be shifting while you move on the sand, you will strengthen stabilizing muscles throughout your entire body when you do bodyweight (and sandbag) exercises on the sand.

Low Impact

Just like with running, doing any kind of jumping exercise on the beach will have a lower impact on your body than if you do it on hard ground.

Get a Tan While You Exercise

You can’t do this in a gym.

Bodyweight Exercises for the Beach



Squat jumps


Jumping lunges

Bear crawl

Crab walk

Mountain climbers


Hollow man

Why Cross-Train?

Because it’s fun, that’s why. Because it’s different. Because you can’t do beach activities when you aren’t at the beach. Because of this, these activities are out of your ordinary routine and will develop strengths in you that you don’t normally work on. Besides, this is recreational time. Recreate.

The key is to keep moving. The more unfamiliar the movement the better. Train your weaknesses, not your strengths. And it’s time to be with people. Do these activities in groups. Here are some recommended activities to put into your beach body challenge:





Body surfing

Boogie boarding



Do these activities for 30 to 180 minutes—whatever. We are not going to overcomplicate this. Just enjoy. And as we mentioned before, do these in groups. This is your time for socializing while you exercise.

beach body challenge and yoga
Yoga is a valuable addition to a beach body challenge.

Why Yoga?

Stretching is vital to health and wellness. It’s integral in injury prevention, relaxation, and even mental health, and it can be a beautiful experience when mixed with incredible surroundings. We encourage you to take time to dial in your breath and be mindful of your body with some basic yoga practices. This is time well spent for any athlete, beginner or advanced. If you watch the sunrise or the sunset, consider striking some of these yoga poses.

How to Scale These Workouts

We hope that this guide has lots of readers. We hope they are of many different backgrounds and of varied fitness levels. So, obviously, we can’t speak to each person’s needs. Instead, we hope to provide a loose framework—something for you to study and learn from. These workouts are suggestions for you to adopt and adapt in ways that suit you and your specific needs, abilities, and interests. Let it inspire you and guide you, not hang over your head and discourage you.

These workouts consist of exercises for time and exercises done for rep counts. They are sometimes done in sets. Feel free to double them. Feel free to cut them in half. Know your body, and know your limits. Also know your goals.

Beach Body Challenge X-Outs

Strength Workout 1

Run in sand for 10 minutes

15 burpees

15 sandbag slams

15 vertical pancake tosses

Rest 1–2 minutes

Repeat 3 times

Swim 10 minutes


Strength Workout 2

Swim 10 minutes

15 bent-over rows

15 upright rows

15 thrusters

15 goblet squats

Repeat 3 times

Run 10 minutes in sand carrying a sandbag

Athleticism Workout 1

75 jumping jacks

75 seal jacks

Run 10 minutes in the sand

Bear crawl in sand 50 yards

Crab walk in sand 50 yards

15 burpees

30 mountain climbers (each leg)

30-second plank

Repeat 3 times

Swim 10 minutes

Athleticism Workout 2

Run 5 minutes

15 burpees

Run 5 minutes

15 squat jumps

Run 5 minutes

Bear crawl in sand 50 yards

Run 5 minutes

15 jumping lunges (each leg)

Repeat twice

Swim 10 minutes

Sample Beach Fitness Week


Strength workout 1



Athleticism workout 1



Strength workout 2





Nap on the beach


Athleticism workout 2



Run long

Swim long