1) Merthyr Mawr
Home to Europe’s second biggest sand dune, Merthyr Mawr is situated 22 miles outside of Cardiff close to the town of Bridgend. Not only is the village idyllically picturesque, but the sand dunes located just a few hundred metres up the road make for some of the best Aerobic and Anaerobic Conditioning terrain within south Wales.
There is a fantastic choice of slowly undulating hill pathways, woodland tracks and incredibly long and steep sand dunes, it’s a Conditioning paradise! So whether you looking to train hill sprints, aerobic endurance or just have a stroll in a beautiful area Merthyr Mawr has it all!
If you are looking for a challenge why not see if you can jog to the top of the big dipper (the highest dune in the Mawr, just to your right when you enter the car park) approx 200m without stopping, walk back to the bottom, time a three minutes rest period and repeat again. If you can manage 6 repetitions without walking up the dune then you are a better man or women than me!
2) Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons are a 519 square mile national park located 40 miles outside of Cardiff. This huge open area has unlimited training possibilities, its ideal for mountain biking, hill running, hiking, rock climbing and countless more health and fitness related activities.
Unlike Merthyr Mawr where civilization is only minutes away, some parts of the Beacons are extremely isolated, so much so, that they are deemed worthy of hosting parts of the UK based selection process for 22 Special Air Service (SAS) which is widely regarded as the toughest selection process for any Armed Forces unit in the world!
Because of this care should be taken every time you use this fantastic Park, try not to go on to the Beacons on your own, always tell someone where you are heading and the time you are planning to leave the park. Always carry water and a mobile phone (although the mobile signal in some parts of the park is sporadic at best!) and please wear suitable clothing guys and girls, the weather in the Beacons can change in minutes so waterproofs and quick drying clothes are a really good idea!
3) Elite Fitness
Elite Fitness based at Unit 2, Fairwater Industrial Estate, Norbury Road, Cardiff. CF5 3AU is the exact opposite to most of the big chain gyms within Cardiff. Its friendly but no nonsense approx to fitness really is a breath of fresh air.
Elite is not crammed to the rafters with useless fixed resistance equipment or bursting at the seams with cardiovascular kit that “just doesn’t do what it say on the tin”, it favours open areas where functional training (training movements rather than muscle groups) with bodyweight or freeweights (dumbbell, kettlebells, barbells etc) can be used but it still manages incorporates treadmills, rowers, bikes, lifting platforms etc.
At 6,000sq ft of gym floor space there is more than enough room so you never feel crowded or harassed. There seem to be no egos at Elite even though a good number of International level athletes train there, but best of all Core Conditioning Personal Training and Strength and Conditioning are based here.
What more could you want?