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With the kids back at school, now is the perfect time to mix up your exercise routine – and revel in the beautiful natural surrounds of the Lower North Shore.

The cicadas are chirping, our gorgeous waterways are twinkling, and the smell of jasmine and frangipani is in the air… Yes, it has been long and hot, but there’s something magical about a Sydney summer and the marvels of our local environment. With such natural beauty all around us, especially in the Lower North Shore, is it any wonder that hordes of exercisers these days prefer their training outside rather than in the gym?

The outdoor fitness industry in Australia and across the globe is booming, which is no great surprise. Studies show that exercising outdoors can improve energy levels and decrease stress more than working out inside. And it seems we’re also more likely to stick to an exercise routine that is outdoors, which is helpful for those of us lacking in willpower. Plus don’t underestimate the value of being in the sunlight (with your sunscreen on, of course). When the sun hits our skin, it creates vitamin D3, which is important for metabolic function and bone health. In addition, exposure to sunlight can improve your night’s sleep and increase endorphin production.


Local outdoor fitness business, The Squad Co., run their female-only sessions in Cammeray, Neutral Bay and North Sydney. The team have made an instant connection with many local women thanks to their combination of health and fitness expertise, fun and varied workouts, and supportive community. Founders, Emily Keenan and Angie Black, also acknowledge the importance of their gorgeous local settings in their success. “We both grew up on the North Shore and still live locally. Our area has some beautiful locations with water views and lots of bushland – a nice outlook has so much to do with motivation and mental re-setting,” says Emily.

Each of their three locations has unique natural beauty. Cammeray Park is known for its gorgeous sunrises, as the girls note. “Watching the sky turn from black to blue with all the beautiful colours in between can be so energising and inspiring!” The park has also recently undergone a full renovation with a beautiful new sandstone wall, tree canopy to the side for shade, and a new synthetic turf. Brightmore Reserve in Neutral Bay has stunning water views and a giant set of stairs leading into some beautiful bushland, where, as Angie notes, “We often see wildlife wondering across our path! Plus there is also a kids playground complete with themed play village which can be great to keep toddlers and older kids occupied during our Mums and Bubs sessions.” St Leonards Park in North Sydney is where The Squad Co. run their evening sessions, with exercisers often taking a moment to appreciate a stunning pastel sunset.

As lifelong best friends and company founders, Angie and Emily are no strangers to the varied ways in which to exercise. Both have spent years in personal training and elite sport – Emily’s netball career took her all over the world including captaining Australia in indoor netball. And they now insist that getting outside is a must for improving your physical and mental health. “After years of exercising in smelly claustrophobic gyms, the feeling you get after seeing a beautiful sunrise glistening through the gumtrees while moving your body and working up a sweat in the wide, open fresh air is incomparable. The afterglow filters on to the rest of the day and your mood,” notes Angie.

Both women are mothers to young children, and founded The Squad Co. with the aim of assisting females to get their health and fitness back on track. “Mums often put themselves last and we encourage them to give themselves a break by getting outside, moving and refreshing themselves which often has a flow on effect to their bubs,” says Emily. All The Squad Co. trainers are pre- and post-natal exercise trained, which is an area largely overlooked by the fitness industry, often with disastrous results for mums. At their popular Mums & Bubs sessions, clients will often be seen holding their babies and incorporating them into their workout. Says Angie, “It’s all very relaxed! Being mums ourselves, we understand things don’t always go to plan and we can always make it work!”

So if you’re after some fun, functional fitness classes that incorporate cardio and strength work, The Squad Co. promises a warm encouraging environment for women of all fitness levels. And all in the natural beauty of the great outdoors!

EXCLUSIVE WILLOUGHBY LIVING OFFER: For our female readers, simply mention this article and receive 20% off all packs and memberships from The Squad Co. until end March 2017. Valid for new clients only. For details, contact info@thesquadco.com.au.

This article was sponsored by The Squad Co.