Spring signifies a time of transition and welcomed change as we say goodbye to winter and hello to warmer and sunnier days ahead. As you begin to shed winter layers it's the ideal time of year to switch up your fitness routine too.
I often preach 'if nothing changes, nothing changes.' It's so important to shake things up with your fitness routine to help achieve the results desired. Even the smallest changes can yield significant results.
Many people who work out regularly reach a plateau when training. As you become accustomed to your routine you may stop seeing progress or find that your workout no longer provides the challenge that it once did. It's important to know that as your heart, muscles and body become stronger and your energy and endurance build you need to embrace new challenges to continue to advance your fitness.
A general rule of thumb for switching up a fitness routine is to reverse the order of your regular routine. For instance, if you normally begin your workout with cardio and proceed with resistance training reverse the order. If you fatigue your muscles first with strength training then perform your cardio exercise your body has to put in more effort to respond and adapt to the new normal. Although this doesn't sound like a huge change it's enough to surprise your body and force it to respond to the new order of business.
Keep it simple. If you're an avid treadmill runner try using a different piece of equipment like an elliptical. If you normally lift weights switch to body weight exercises. Making small changes will make all the difference, you'll feel a challenge and your body will get to use different muscles it's not used to using as frequently or in that particular way. Variety is key to improving exercise response and results.
2017's top fitness trend is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which incorporates quick and intense bouts of exertion followed by short periods of recovery. HIIT workouts are a great way to change up your exercise routine and bust through training plateaus because you have the potential to generate a greater amount of work in a shorter amount of time.
With HIIT you will also challenge yourself to work as hard as you can for a very short, focused bursts of effort rather than working at half the speed or intensity for a long period of time. HIIT training formats can be used with any sort of exercise - running, cycling, rowing, calisthenics (on the spot exercises), resistance exercise, etc.
Here is an example of a HIIT workout to incorporate into your routine:
• Three minutes of light movements such as a light jog, rebound or shuffle step in place, squats, side to side stepping or lunges
• 45 seconds of vigorous high knee running or jumping jacks followed by 15 seconds of active recovery (light jog in place)
• Repeat four times (alternating high knee running with jumping jacks) for a total of four minutes
• 45 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of 'active' recovery as follows, repeated three times for a total of 24 minutes:
o 45 seconds of squats with overhead press (with weights) followed by 15 seconds of alternating lunges with hands on hips
o 45 seconds of push-ups followed by 15 seconds of hover/plank
o 45 seconds of alternating side to side lunges with bicep curls followed by 15 seconds of squats
o 45 seconds of hip lift (bridge) followed by 15 seconds of abdominal curl-ups or cycle
• Three minutes of stretching
Transitions aren't always easy, in fact, many people are resistant to change. Take some time for yourself to envision your goals and the changes you are wanting to make. This will help you incorporate those small changes into your routine, both in and out of the gym. Manage your mindset. Begin everyday by taking five minutes to set an intention for the day. At the end of each day, reflect for five minutes on what you've accomplished and embrace the wonderful change.
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