Springtime is the time for fresh starts, growth and, most important, changes. When we think of spring, we think of spring cleaning. Yes, your closets and drawers need cleaning out, but so do your workouts. It is time to get rid of boring monotonous wintertime workouts and start your spring in new and active ways.
1. Get out of the gym!
Kick the wintertime blues by getting outside. There’s no need to spend your entire workout in a stuffy overcrowded gym. Enjoy getting some natural sunlight. Not only will you receive the benefits of fresh air and the sense of freedom, you’ll get to soak up sunshine, which naturally produces vitamin D. Vitamin D has been proven to help boost your mood and energy levels.
2. Out with the old, in with the new.
Mix it up and try something new to challenge yourself. When you do the same cardio routine over and over, your body starts to adapt and your workout becomes less effective. In order to continue to make muscles gains or to lose those few extra pounds before summer, you need to push your body in new ways. Try a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Tabata class. Or try this quick-start Tabata routine:
–Jump Squat: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, drop into a squat position and then explosively jump up, land and then drop into a squat again and repeat.
–Reverse Lunge: Start with feet shoulder-width apart, kick back your right leg and drop down into a lunge position. Your left knee should be at a 90-degree angle. Switch legs and repeat.
–Burpees: Start with feet hip-width apart, drop into a squat, then kick your legs back into a push-up position. Leap legs forward so you’re back in a squat position then jump straight up, arms overhead. Repeat.
–Plank: Lie down on your stomach on a mat and then get into the top part of a push-up position (on your hands and toes) and hold. Keep your body straight and abs tight.
Do these exercises in a circuit. Do 20 seconds of full intensity repetitions followed by 10 seconds of rest in between each exercise. Do four circuits. Each full round should last 4 minutes. Try to complete four circuits.
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3. Jump into spring!
For a fun alternative to your everyday strength-training workout, try adding in plyometrics. “Plyos,” such as plié jumps, jump lunges, or box jumps, will help improve your coordination and agility and you also have the added bonus of sweat-busting cardio. These explosive sets are based on a combination of contracting your muscles and stretching them, and because they are based on using your own body weight, you can do them anywhere.
Instead of single-motion exercises, incorporate compound exercises for something new. Compound exercises maximize your results by activating multiple muscle groups in one single set. For example, instead of just doing a classic dumbbell deadlift, try adding a shoulder press in between each deadlift.
5. More is not always better.
It’s time to clear the clutter from your workouts. There is no need to do every exercise you know in one trip to the gym. Maximize your time by working only two to three muscle groups each session (i.e. triceps/biceps, chest/back) and, most important, take your time on each rep.
6. Don’t go at it alone.
Grab a friend and get together to try out new activities. Having a friend (or friends) to rely on will keep you motivated and hold you accountable. Depending on your level of adventurousness, you could try rock climbing, aerial yoga, or even a pole fitness class.
7. Clean out your closet.
Athletic clothes lose their compression, and after a while they start to get that gym stench. So get rid of those old smelly gym clothes and get some new duds! Let’s be honest, nothing is more motivating than the desire to wear that hot new workout outfit to the gym. Not only will you feel good about your revamped workouts, you’ll look good doing them, too.