“Spring” Some New Life Into Your Fitness Routine
Leave it to Albert Einstein to come up with yet another catchy idea: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I have no idea whether he was a fitness buff, but the scientific genius could have been talking about exercise. Whether you’re a fitness newbie or fanatic like me, sometimes we all need a little motivation and a good kick in the you-know-what to take things up a notch. There are three reasons why spring is the perfect time to change your routine:
- Avoid a Plateau: If you run at the same speed on the treadmill everyday for 20 minutes, your body will eventually hit a plateau. You’ll still burn calories, but you’ll need to increase your resistance levels or speed if you want to help boost your metabolism and maximize results. This is the same reason personal trainers push clients to increase reps with each workout. As your strength and endurance grows, so should your workout.
- Avoid Over-Training: Doing the same workout day after day doesn’t allow muscle groups time to rest and recover and ultimately grow. This not only diminishes returns on your hard work, but it also puts you at increased risk for injury. This is why I try to hit cardio and core hard on Mondays and Wednesdays and focus on strength training on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I continue to mix things up over the weekend, and I’m always sure to take a minimum of one if not two days off each week.
- Avoid Burnout: If you get bored with your fitness routine, you’re likely to stop putting 100% into your work. If you stop seeing results, you may give up on your fitness goals altogether. Trying new group exercise classes and weight training circuits can keep things fresh.
The good news is there are simple ways to add a little variety, and perhaps some extra sweat, to your typical routine:
1) Start jumping rope: Not only does this fun activity make me feel like a kid again, but you can burn up to 20 calories per minute jumping rope. Also, you can do it just about anywhere. All you need is a jump rope! Even walkers can incorporate jumping rope into their routine and take things to the next leve. Try this combo: walk at your top speed for 5 minutes, then jump rope for 1 minute, keep switching between walking and jumping rope and work your way up to a total of 30 minutes. Ideally, try to work up to three walking/jumping sessions three times a week for two weeks.
2) Tweak the traditional push-up: Place your feet on a six- to eight-inch high step as you get in plank position and perform a push-up as you normally would. Be sure to draw in your navel and squeeze the glutes through all your reps. Adding the step creates more work for your shoulders along with the chest.
3) Get a new playlist: I can always count on heart-pounding beats to keep me moving! If you need some new tunes, I recently started following DJ Al Roccone on Twitter. He’s got great fitness mixes you can download for free. Check out his latest here:
4) Blow Your Mind: If you want to see what true strength and determination look like, check out this amazing video I found on the Fitness Girls Facebook page.
I may not be able to bang out half of exercises in that video, but I like seeing such challenging variations to body-weight exercises. It just goes to show sometimes all you need is your body and some floor space to get to work! Let me know how you take things up a notch this spring as part of the never-ending quest to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Fast Fitness Friday
I don’t know about you, but I have no idea where the summer is going. I feel like we went from Memorial Day weekend to the beginning of August in the blink of an eye.
That being said, there’s still plenty of the season left to enjoy. If this was the summer you were going to get your butt and your fitness routine in gear, there’s no time like this weekend to get things going!
As our brains start shutting down from the work week and move into weekend mode, I’ll keep this post short and sweet, but hopefully offer just enough motivation to turn the next couple of days into productive ones when it comes to working on your health and fitness goals.
1) Start your weekend with a workout: While I’ve never been a 6-am workout girl, I do like getting to the gym when it first opens at 8am on Saturday mornings. It feels great to kick-start the heart and break a sweat while clearing the mind of the leftover mental clutter from the work week. Afterward, the endorphin rush provides the energy I need to get all those pesky errands done. Then I can transfer the energy to enjoying whatever fun is planned later in the day or in the evening. (The added bonus: not feeling totally guilty if those plans include some cocktails or sweet treats!)
2) Try something new: Have you heard rave reviews about the new Saturday morning Zumba class at your gym? If you belong to a gym, check the schedule for a group class you’ve been meaning to take, but have found a million excuses not to get there. No gym membership? No problem! Make this the weekend you explore that new hiking trail or ride your bike to the beach and then take a long walk on the sand.
3) Make it social: Getting fit with a friend is a great way to incorporate some fun into your schedule! Meet a pal for a walk, group exercise class or to spot each other for a solid weight training session. Afterward, you can catch up over coffee and egg whites!
So, make the most of your escape from the daily grind and enjoy a weekend filled with chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!