Spring Cleaning Your Workout Routine
Rid your workouts of the winter blues, after all, summer is just around the corner
By Jessica Merchant
If you’ve been in a workout slump since the middle of January, chances are you are ready to step things up to look your best this summer. Or perhaps you are just bored with the mundane workouts on your schedule and have simply been going through the motions? Whatever the reason may be, declutter your workout; making it more efficient and effective can leave you feeling accomplished and lead to quicker results.
Just like our closets, spring is a great time to sift through our workout routines and determine what can stay and what needs to go. It’s a chance to spice things up and make your workout more fun. Add in a few exercises that you love to hate, and re-evaluate those goals you set at the beginning of the year.
Clear the clutter. Performing exercises such as inner and outer thigh raises or wrist curls can add unnecessary time to your workout and slow down your mojo mid-exercise. There is a time and a place for exercises like that, but remember—there is no such thing as spot reducing. Focus on performing compound exercises that work large and small muscles, such as lunges, squats, pushups and overhead presses. This will help streamline your workout and leave more time each week for something you love to do—maybe now you can fit in that spin class you’ve been spying on.
Save time. Adding an intense interval session or two into your weekly exercise schedule can shave time off of your workouts and inches off of your body. It is true what they say: quality is better than quantity. An intense 20-minute interval session can do more for your body and your mind than a leisurely 45-minute walk. Intervals can be performed on a treadmill, elliptical or bike inside the gym, but you can also make up your own with a combination of calisthenics and cardio bursts. My favorite is to alternate exercises like pushups and wall sits with 30-60 seconds of jumping jacks or crunches.
Get moving outside. Being cooped up indoors can lead to plenty of couch time and refrigerator raiding. Taking your workouts outside can give them a breath of fresh air—while you bask in the sunshine. Go for a walk, a run, a hike, or create your own outdoor boot camp with a friend. Utilize local playgrounds for triceps dips and pull-ups, and include sprints around a local track. Making it fun and different each time will leave your body challenged, and keep you excited about your next workout.
Set a weekly goal. Have you already forgotten about your New Year’s goal? Setting a weekly or biweekly goal can help you feel more accomplished, and achieve those dreams that have been put on the backburner since the first week of January. Not sure what to add to your list? Try a new strength training exercise, run an extra mile or bump up your fruit and veggie intake. Write your goal down and place it somewhere you can see it: near your desk, in your car or on the fridge. Hold yourself accountable and you will see the changes you desire.
Slow down. While many of our day-to-day lives include rushing around and receiving instant gratification, courtesy of the internet, it is important to take some time each day to slow down and find our center. Aim to fit in one or two yoga sessions per week, or even just spend 10 minutes meditating each day. You will find that you have a clearer perspective, less anxiety and more determination to achieve your goals.
Jessica Merchant is a former personal trainer who writes about food, fitness and living a happy balanced life at “How Sweet It Is.” She believes in loving what you do and doing what you love, and enjoys exercise and bacon equally. Visit her at howsweeteats.com.