Reverse Pyramid Training VS Traditional Pyramid Weight Training

Pyramid training is probably one of the most common types of weight training yet many might not even realize that they are doing it. Have you ever started out your bench press with 135 lbs for the first set, upped it to 185 lbs the next then 205 lbs the third? Guess what, that’s basically pyramid training in it’s most simple form.

The reverse pyramid has been made popular, largely by Martin Berkhan … and he knows a thing or two about lifting.

The concept of pyramid training is to simply add weight as you go while simultaneously decreasing the number of reps you do. For many, this is the go-to method for building muscle. But is Pyramid weight training really the “best” method for building muscle? Is it even a good method?

Well, the term “best” gets thrown around way too much and in reality what works better for one person might not work for another. However, it’s safe to say that if you’re looking to build stronger muscle, traditional pyramid training is probably not the answer.

Instead, you might want to consider reverse pyramid training. What’s that? Since it’s the opposite of the traditional pyramids, you start with the heaviest weight and decrease the weight from set to set while increasing the number of reps.

The amount of reps can vary depending upon what your main focus is. Here is an example of what the two different pyramids could look like for a common lift like the bench press.

Pyramid Weight Training:

10 reps – 155 lbs
8 reps – 165 lbs
6 reps – 185 lbs

This is considered a 6-10 rep pyramid.

Reverse Pyramid Training:

6 reps – 205 lbs
8 reps – 195 lbs
10 reps – 185 lbs

This is considered a 6-10 rep, reverse pyramid.
What’s Wrong With Traditional Pyramid Weight Training?

Although the pyramid is most likely the “go-to” workout routine for many gym goers, it really is not the smartest approach for building strong muscle. In fact, I would assume that the main reason it is so popular is simply due to the fact that many gym goers don’t have a real plan of attack.

They show up to the gym and start with a fairly light weight. They continue to increase the weight as they go “because they are getting warmed up” and they don’t want to pull a muscle. By the time they reach a fairly heavy weight … they’re now worn out, or at least have a significantly decreased amount of strength.

While I do completely agree, you should definitely warm up prior to lifting, this is certainly not an efficient way to train.

Instead of getting under the bar with your best foot forward, you are now “warmed up” (fatigued) to a significant enough degree that you cannot lift to your real potential. You are never going to be able to handle much heavier weights because you are training your muscles to be tired once the weight gets challenging.

In the end, traditional pyramid training causes you to lift the lightest weights when you are the strongest, and the heaviest weights when you are the weakest … doesn’t make too much sense.

Note: There are some occasions when doing a more traditional pyramid is actually a good thing. If you are focusing your efforts on trying to fatigue the muscle and are shooting for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy then these actually do work really well.

They are also great for beginners since they teach proper form while continually increasing weight at a manageable pace.
How To Do Reverse Pyramid Training

Instead of going to the gym on your next workout with the idea of winging it by doing 3 sets of 10 reps only to find that you actually end up doing:

1 set of 10 reps @ 135 lbs (warmup)
1 set of 10 reps @ 185 lbs
1 set of 8 reps @ 205 lbs (oops, too heavy)
1 set of 7 reps @ 185 lbs (too tired now)

how about planning to do a reverse pyramid.

Now, I’m not saying that I’ve never been guilty doing a set/rep scheme similar to the one above. I am, however happy to say that I’ve learned and seen first hand that this is not the most efficient or effective way to train … and I’ve moved on.

Setting up your reverse pyramid workout

Now that you’re planning on a (good) set/rep scheme, it’s time to pick the rep range you want to work in. A nice benefit to doing reverse pyramids is that you can choose different rep ranges depending on what your goals are.

As a general rule, here are what the different rep ranges work:

1-3 reps – Pure strength & definition
4-6 reps – Mostly strength & definition with little gains in size
7-10 reps – Mostly size with little gains in strength & density
11-15 reps – Pure size

For a more detailed write-up you can check out this article for more on how many reps you should do.

It should also be noted that you can do a tighter reverse pyramid such as only doing a rep range of 8-10 or even a wider range like 8-12 reps.

Here’s what your workout could look like with a 4-7 rep range for bench press.

Warm-up

3 reps @ 145 lbs
3 reps @ 145 lbs

Work sets

4 reps @ 235 lbs
5 reps @ 220 lbs
6 reps @ 205 lbs
7 reps @ 190 lbs

Note: Working like this is very taxing. Make sure to get sufficient rest between each set; at least 2 minutes between each set and maybe even 3.

Also, these rep ranges are just for an example. I actually feel that traditional pyramids are probably best for muscle size (higher reps), whereas reverse pyramids are probably best for strength gains (lower reps).

You should pick a weight that you can do for the given amount of reps. Your first set should be pretty darn close to failure. You do want to be able to complete 4 reps but if you can do 5 you’ll need to increase the weight on your next visit to the gym.

The following reps should be done 1 rep short of failure. So if you can do 7 reps for the second set you should increase the weight the next visit. If you can do 6, you’re good to go.

Increasing the weight and continually improving is the idea so if you feel you can complete a full 7 reps for the second set then lift to your potential and up the weight. You do want make sure that you are able to lift more rep(s) than the previous sets.

Arthur Prelle Malvern in the Fall

Malvern in the Fall

Arthur Prelle Malvern in the FallNow that the weather is finally getting cool, fall is upon us, and there are lots of ways to commemorate the turning leaves, harvests, and cool weather in south-eastern PA. Philadelphia has countless activities, and even some smaller towns like Malvern, Brandywine, West Chester, and other small suburbs of the city hold their own festivities to celebrate autumn’s arrival. Here are some of the big ways places are celebrating.

Take a Paranormal Tour of the Paoli Battlefield: In 1777, the British forces ambushed the American fighters in Paoli, PA, and massacred 52 soldiers in three motions. Since then, many historians and ghost-hunters have visited the battlefield to learn more about what really happened, the soldiers who died there, and what the ghosts of the slain soldiers are up to nowadays. The weekend of October 21, Tri-County Paranormal will host an investigation full of history, mystery, and surprise. Buy a ticket and join the festivities!

Attend the West Chester Halloween Parade: Always a fan favorite in West Chester, the annual Halloween parade will take place on October 25 this year. High school marching bands and cheerleading squads will be in attendance, along with numerous floats, groups, and costumed community members. West Chester University’s marching band will also be making an appearance along with their dancers, color guard, and mascot. Children can come in costume and collect candy from a candy stand — paraders won’t be throwing candy this year for the safety of the kiddos.  

Get Active at Philadelphia’s Free Streets Festival: To encourage people to explore active transport, learn the city better, and get their limbs moving, Philadelphia’s authorities agreed to close down seven miles of downtown roads to motorized vehicular traffic to make room for walkers, runners, and bikers. Along the routes, artists, craftspeople, and small business owners will have tents and stands to sell their wares. Support some local artists, get some exercise, and imbibe the beauty of the city of brotherly love.

Visit China’s Terracotta Warriors at the Franklin Institute: Making their only east-coast stop on their world tour at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, the Chinese Terracotta Warriors guarded the burial complex of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, for 2000 years before their discovery in the 1970s by a farmer who literally stumbled across them. The warriors will be in Philadelphia until March, at which point they’ll travel to Seattle and exhibit there. Get your fill of ancient Chinese history and art before they’re off to dazzle the west coast.

Great Vegan Recipes for Fall

Last month, I wrote about how to go vegan. I chose to do so for health reasons, but the reasons that people choose to abstain from meat and animal products can include economic motivations, sustainability purposes, and moral ones. Regardless, just because someone has chosen to abide by a vegan diet doesn’t mean they have to be left out of all the fall food festivities. Below are some recipes that take full advantage of the season with none of the guilt of straying from a vegan diet:

Persimmon and Butternut Squash Soup | Nothing says “fall” like gourds, particularly squashes. For a really nice guilt-free fall dinner, make butternut squash soup by combining it with some savory spices, other fall ingredients including persimmon, maple syrup, and ginger. The sweet/savory combination of all these flavors makes this vegan and calorically-reasonable soup perfect for autumn.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup | Another perfect dish for a cozy day indoors, this soup is incredibly healthful and can be easily adjusted for the calories you have left to consume at the end of the day. You can also adjust this soup to include either fresh or frozen vegetables, so if you didn’t quite find the time to make it to the farmer’s market, you can still whip up this super simple recipe with goods found in the frozen aisle of your local grocery store.

Roasted Vegetable Salad | If soup isn’t necessarily your cup of tea, you can opt out of pureeing and go for a raw or roasted salad instead. Fall is prime harvest season, and you can take advantage of it in countless ways. To pull the most flavor out of the vegetables, consider a Moroccan-inspired salad that includes apples, onions, garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, hot pepper, turmeric, cardamom, lemon, maple syrup, and pomegranate seeds.  

White Bean Pot Pies | If you’re from PA, pot pies are an entire food group unto their own. The strong German influences of this dish and the heartiness of the dish make it a winter favorite for Pennsylvanians young and old. Even if you’re adhering to a vegan diet, you can enjoy the savory delicacy with some crafty substitutions. Load the inside up with veggies and use vegan butter for rolling out the crust, and you’ll be on your way down memory lane in no time.

Stuffed Butternut Squash | Not only does this gourd make for a fantastic decoration, it’s also perfect for a fall-inspired highly-instagrammable vegan dish. Cut the squash in half and hollow out the innards. Set the rind aside, and use the “meat” of the squash in preparing kale, quinoa, chickpeas, and cranberries. Once everything is done cooking, use the rind as the “bowl” and serve under good lighting for all the pictures that are sure to be taken.

Arthur Prelle How to Go Vegan

How to Go Vegan

Arthur Prelle How to Go VeganIt’s all the rage these days to forgo all animal products in favor of raw totally plant-based diets. Different from being a vegetarian, which still allows dieters to consume foods and goods that come from animals like eggs, honey, and wool, being vegan means abstaining from all animal products or byproducts, including but certainly not limited to sugars refined with animal fats, anything dairy-based, meat broth-based soups, and much more. Veganism has come into vogue lately as documentaries like Fed Up have explored the ugly underbelly of the food industry in the United States and turned up some stomach-turning truths about how foods are processed and manufactured.

The dawn of social media, particularly the likes of Instagram, has also made the community of raw, healthy eaters even more enticing both for the good of the environment and for the body. Naturally, given how much meat and other animal products Americans consume regularly, you may think it’s nearly impossible to be an American vegan, but a little bit of forethought can go a long way in making veganism an invaluable experience of mindful and healthful living. Here are some starting tips:

Load up on local veggies | Best diet practices indicate that even non-vegans should make vegetables the star of their meals. They’re less calorically dense and fill up a tummy on fibers and water so that there’s less room for unhealthful stuff like junk foods. As you meal prep and hunt on Pinterest for good recipes, always plan around your vegetables. Invest in spices, herbs, olive oils, and balsamic vinegars to add flavors from across the globe to your veggies of choice. Before you know it, your cravings for meat will be gone in favor of some flavorful greens!

Research Plant-based proteins | A major concern of those aspiring to veganism is how they’ll take in the appropriate amount of protein, given that the main sources of protein for Americans are meat- or egg-based. Rather than reaching for cheese or a hard-boiled egg when you need protein, opt for something in the bean, legume, or nut family. From soybeans to almonds, these foods are chock-full of proteins in that they have a lot of the nutrients needed to sprout into a full-grown plant someday. As you transition, ensure that there are beans spilling out all your cabinets.

Read the Labels | Unfortunately, shoppers are wont to conflate labels like “vegan” or “gluten-free” with “healthful,” and that’s not necessarily the case all the time. Packaged vegan foods can often be laden with extra fats that make them just as damaging to your arteries as non-vegan foods. Don’t let your guard down just because a food item claims to have no animal products in it. Continue to seek out vegetables above all else.

Get in your iron and B-12 | Dieticians warn vegans about some proteins that humans truly cannot get except through meat. Make sure that your new diet contains some precious metals and minerals. B-12, for example, helps our bodies break down foods, but we get it exclusively from meats. Humans’ main source of iron is usually red meats. You can usually be crafty about finding supplements or fortified cereals and nut milks that will help you reach your daily recommended dosage of these invaluable substances.

Arthur Prelle Dance Class

Take a Dance Class

Arthur Prelle Dance ClassFor people who are conscious about staying in shape and staying in touch with their bodies, there are lots of options outside the traditional hour of dumbbells at the local Planet Fitness. I’ve written before about all the benefits of hiking, as well as the benefits of yoga specifically for men. But if you’re looking for something fresh, fun, and out of the ordinary, consider taking a dance class.

The kind of dance class you take is totally up to you. Maybe you’ve always harbored a secret dream of taking a ballroom dance class with your significant other. Maybe you loved dancing as a child and have been pining to take it back up ever since you quit at age 12. Maybe you’ve always been a little jealous of the Latin American competitors on Dancing with the Stars and would revel in a Salsa class. Whichever kind of dancing you desire to learn, there are numerous physical and mental benefits to getting your groove on.

Balance | Dancing requires you to be light on your toes for great lengths of time and to shift your weight, sometimes rapidly, from foot to foot. As such, dancing will improve your balance as you become more comfortable moving and keeping stride with your partner.

Leadership | Especially for dances that are done with a partner, including but not limited to swing dancing and bachata dancing, you and your partner will have to communicate. Men in partner dances are tasked with leading the pace and motions of the pair, and many of the skills necessary translate well to the workplace. You need to direct your partner clearly and firmly, but not demandingly or demeaningly. You and your partner should work in tandem, not as a leader-follower pair. It’s your job simply to guide your partner through the dance.

Confidence | Unlike many other forms of exercise, dancing is inherently done to show off and be done in a social setting surrounded by onlookers. The more you practice dancing and working with your partner, the more your confidence in your body and your motions will grow. You’ll be able to flaunt at parties in no time.

Cardio | If you’ve ever watched professional dancing competitions or even watched on at a wedding as the dancing wore late into the night, you’ll know first hand that dancers sweat a lot — it’s a high-intensity workout! All the motion, time on your feet, and keeping up with the music works a lot of muscles, but in such a way that you enjoy it the whole entire time.

A Good Time | Dancing is big fun! From the music to the time with your partner to the sheer energy, dancing is one of the most fun ways to burn a lot of calories while moving to your favorite tunes with some of your favorite people.

Arthur Prelle manage your snackiing

Manage your Snacking

Arthur Prelle manage your snackiingFor many individuals, the urge to grab a snack is often born of boredom or sloth, and not necessarily the need to take in more energy. Americans by and large use food as a means of entertainment, from dates to enhancing the quality of a movie-going experience. However, mindless eating can quickly lead to sneaky weight gain since snackers may put food in their mouths less than consciously. If you’re trying to get healthy, catching yourself with your hand in the cookie jar and finding other ways to cure your boredom could lead to almost instant weight loss. Here are some ways to monitor your actual hunger.

Actually determine if you’re hungry. Figuring out why you find yourself reaching for a fresh bag of Doritos will help you determine how to end the habit. Every time you consider snacking, go through a little checklist in your head: when was the last time you’ve eaten? When is the next time you plan on eating a meal? Has your tummy rumbled recently? Taking stock of what your body really needs will help you determine whether you need to take in some energy in the form of food.

Drink some water and then wait a little bit. Sometimes, all you need to do is perform the act of putting food in your mouth and see how your body reacts. If you’re bored, drinking water will suppress the urge to eat as it gives your hands and lips something to do. If you’re hungry, though, all that liquid in your tummy will exacerbate the hunger, and you’ll know that it’s time to refuel.

If you are indeed hungry, opt for a healthful, low calorie snack. As I’ve written about before, there are ways to “trick” your body into opting for more healthful snacks. For example, most people leave their junk foods on the counter and keep their fruits in the refrigerators, so naturally, when you get the urge to snack, you’ll reach for the foods your eyes rest on. Try instead to keep your healthful snacks in plain sight and make your junk food more inconvenient.

If you find yourself hungry a lot, re-evaluate your meals and eating schedule. You may be eating calorically-dense meals that your body burns through quickly. Breads, for example, don’t keep you full the same way that proteins do, so carb-heavy diets will results in more frequent snacking. Instead, opt for more smaller meals full of proteins to keep you full.

If you’re bored, do something more productive than eating. If the issue is boredom, there are nearly infinite cures to that particular issue. One blogger wrote that she paints her nails — that way, her hands are busy and her nails are too wet to reach into a bag of salty, oily snacks. Others suggest hopping on the phone with a friend, taking a walk, chewing on ice, or cleaning your house.

Healthy Summer Desserts

Arthur Prelle Healthy Summer DessertsMaple Berry Parfait: This parfait is a simple and attractive way to enjoy seasonal berries. The maple syrup sweetens the fruit in a delicious, healthful way.

Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream: This dish is as classy as it is simple. The balsamic vinegar brings out the flavor in the strawberries, and the ricotta cheese is cool and lightly sweet.

Sorbet: This unbelievably simple sorbet uses only three ingredients with marvelous results. The recipe suggests strawberries, but you can use any fruit you like. I’d recommend making a double recipe and storing some in the freezer for later. Bonus: for a dairy-free option, you can simply replace the yogurt with silken tofu.

Sautéed Grape Napoleons: If you’re really looking to impress, this sophisticated dessert uses crispy phyllo dough, tangy goat cheese, and sweet port to create a delicious, complex dish.

Cherry-Hazelnut Cake with Streusel Topping: This cake is fantastic for coffee with friends or an afternoon picnic. It’s sweet, hearty, and absolutely satisfying.

Grilled Bananas: If you’re having a barbeque, slap a couple of bananas, halved the long way, on the grill before closing up shop. The caramelized bananas are surprisingly sweet, easy, and about as healthy as you can get. The recipe here suggests using creme fraiche and fresh berries to garnish, but you can throw on nuts, balsamic vinegar, or anything else you like.

Chocolate Raspberry Tofu Pie: This decadent pie gets its rich, silky texture from tofu–but no one will need to know. Easier than it looks and healthier than you’d expect, this is a great pie for family get-togethers.

Blueberry-Lavender Pops: Who knew ice pops could be so classy? These pops use plain yogurt for an almost ice cream-like texture, and sweeten almost entirely with fruit and honey. The recipe makes ten, so you can have them in the freezer for whenever you get a craving for something cold and sweet.

Chocolate Mousse Pie: If you’re craving chocolate, chef Bobby Deen’s chocolate mousse pie is only 244 calories per slice. By using dark chocolate and low-fat milk, it stays light while maintaining a delicious, rich, chocolate cake. Plus, you don’t have to bake it! A great way to impress guests.

Cantaloupe-Balsamic Sorbet: Because you can never have too many types of sorbet. This creamy dish is slightly more complicated than the previous one (although still incredibly easy!) but it makes up for the extra five minutes by being unbelievably low calorie and delicious.

Thai Fruit Salad: For something delightfully different, this simple tropical fruit salad combines mango, pineapple, coconut milk, and just a little bit of hot sauce to create something sweet and slightly spicy.

Bike to Work This Summer

National Bike to Work Day is May 19, and advocates for more greener transportation are encouraging all who can to give up their cars for a day and commute exclusively with their pedals. Philadelphia especially has made a huge push for greener commutes either on your own bicycle or on one of the public bikes available for rent throughout the city. There are lots of good reasons why you should give up your gas guzzler in favor of a more sustainable vehicle.

Reduced Traffic. If you’re stuck in stop-and-go traffic, you’ll likely call your significant other to say “I’m stuck in traffic,” when in fact, you are the traffic. The fact that you, too, are in a car taking up space means that you’re contributing to the traffic that everyone on the road is experiencing. On a bike, though, you won’t be taking up the space your car does, so you won’t have to deal with the effects of the traffic you would have helped create. Fewer cars on the road means less traffic for everyone. Win win.

Save Money. As costly as gasoline is, you can save significant money by choosing to ride a bike to work. As the old saying goes, cars run on money and make you fat — bikes run on fat and save you money! Just make sure you pack some baby wipes and business clothes so you don’t make a big presentation drenched in sweat.

Much-needed You Time. Especially if your commute has a tendency to be trafficky, you might be starting your day way more stressed than you need to. Studies have demonstrated that spending more time in nature will literally help you destress and find more peace. So, if you need to start your day with less ajida, hop on your bike and pedal your way to some pre-work tranquility.

Let your subconscious do the leg work. Cognition studies have shown that often, walking or biking help people solve problems they’ve been stuck on for a while. If you push some of your pressing issues to your subconscious while you walk or bike, you might be able to figure out what’s been plaguing you while you’re focused on your bike ride.

See Your Neighborhood. If you’re whizzing by on your daily commute, you may have no idea what shops you pass, the landmarks you’re missing, or the hole-in-the-wall restaurant that may become your next favorite. Biking will give you the opportunity to view your neighborhood at a more leisurely pace.

arthur_prelle_lose_weight

Change your House to Lose Weight

Believe it or not, your house might be working against your efforts to lose weight! Certain furniture arrangements or common household items may be discouraging you from being active, or worse yet, actively encourage sloth! If you plan on losing weight this spring and summer, you might want to clean out your living space and make sure it’s conducive to your weight loss goals.

Your plates and bowls might be too big. Instinctively, we fill our plates when we prepare meals and visually decide on an appropriate serving. If you have incredibly deep bowls or dinner plates twelve full inches in diameter, you’re probably regularly doubling or tripling recommended serving sizes. Go for smaller bowls, plates, and cups to encourage more prudent eating habits.

All your furniture encourages sitting. If every piece of furniture is angled towards a TV, your house is designed to encourage sloth — enter the home, sit down. This isn’t necessarily “bad,” but it does reduce your inclination to move. Rearrange your furniture so that you can exercise while you watch TV or stand while you’re working on your computer. These little opportunities add up over time.

Your exercise equipment is hard to get to. It’s not uncommon for exercise equipment like dumbbells, stationary bikes, and weight-lifting contraptions become nothing but expensive clothing hangers in time. If you want to make sure your surroundings encourage activity, fitness, and weight loss, make sure all your equipment is easily accessible and somewhere you see it all the time. If your bike is hidden in the back of your garage under mountains of miscellany, you’ll always find reason not to ride it. But, if you remove most of the impediments to exercising, you’ll find yourself doing it more often.  

Your food is visible and unhealthy. Most people keep their produce in the refrigerator and their junk foods in the cabinets, often overflowing onto counters and kitchen tables. Human brains put the vast majority of its sensory trust in our vision, so if all you see all day is chips and candy, your brain is going to internalize it and crave that. Luckily, this switch is super easy. Keep your fruits and veggies on the counters and visible, and reduce your junk food store to fit in a cabinet. That way, when you feel snacky, the first items in site are healthful and low-calorie.

You don’t get enough sun. For reasons both physiological and psychological, sunshine makes you want to get out and be active! If you spend most of your time in dark and cool spaces, your body takes that as a cue to stay still and conserve heat — that is, wrap up in a blanket and fall asleep to Law and Order. To encourage your body to be more active, set the thermostat in your house a little higher and make sure you let in plenty of sunlight.

These little tips cost next to nothing but could alter your lifestyle enough to ensure that you’re always looking for ways to be active and encourage yourself to be the best you possible.

Arthur Prelle | Walking and Hiking near Malvern, PA

Walking and Hiking near Malvern, PA

Daylight savings time has begun, meaning the days are lighter later, the weather will be steadily improving, and you can return to your regularly scheduled walks and hikes. Recently, National Geographic Magazine ran an article discussing the psychological and physiological benefits of spending more time in nature. In addition to the added exercise, being in nature helps your brain relax and de-stress, since our brains are often exhausted and overwhelmed.Arthur Prelle | Walking and Hiking near Malvern, PA

Arthur Prelle lives near Malvern, PA and enjoys exploring the botanical gardens and woods in south-eastern PA in his free time. Below are some of his favorite places to be immersed in nature.

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA: A gem in the multi-million dollar DuPont crown, Longwood Gardens is an enormous botanical garden with specimens of flowers, fruit trees, trees, and other plants from all over the world and from various stages of the earth’s development. From the vast outdoor walking gardens organized by color to the huge indoor greenhouses and mansions open to the public, Longwood gardens is the perfect place for either a stroll or a jog now that everything’s in bloom.

Horse-shoe Trail in Valley Forge, PA: This beautiful wooded trail has a strong history connected to the iron industry in the US during the 1700s and 1800s. According to the website, “The many furnaces and forges were connected by trails leading through the charcoal forests between them.  Portions of these trails have survived to become today’s Horse-Shoe Trail.” Today, the trail is maintained by the Horse-shoe Trail Conservancy and has been since 1935. For a historic walk through a wooded area, this is the trail for you.

The Scott Arboretum in Swarthmore, PA: Most of Swarthmore College is a registered arboretum maintained by students and members of the arboretum. The “Garden of Ideas” is open to the public from dawn until dusk for you to walk or jog through, read the plaques, and revel in the little liberal arts college feel for a little while.

Schuylkill River Trail: Extending upwards of 130 miles, the Schuylkill River Trail is a multi-use path for walkers, joggers, hikers, bikers, and more to explore and discover south-east and south-central PA. Four counties contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the trail, which was once just disconnected short trails. The trail is home to much Revolutionary War history, as the Schuylkill River was an important asset in the US fight for independence.

The Farm Park Preservation Association in Montgomery, PA: A non-profit organization, the FPPA prides itself on keeping up a 690 acre park safe from modernization. The park features buildings from the 18th century, a trout farm for fishing, paths for walkers, joggers, hikers, bikers, and more, and lots of wildlife for birding and nature photography. Visiting this park is like going back in time to a simpler age in American history.

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