Get Fit For Summer

Whether you are an exercise pro or a beginner to the gym chances are you have a few questions about your workout.  With summer just around the corner everyone is stepping up the workout to get ultimate results.  Here are a few tips to keep that workout moving in the right direction.

DO:

Work out every day: You don’t need to be at the gym seven days in a row, but try for at least five days. To get a good habit started you must be consistent. Doing something every day even if it is just a little is all you need to keep up the motivation.  For the best results, don’t overwhelm yourself.  You should aim for 30 minutes of cardio every day and strength training twice a week for the first month or two.  Once this workout has become a part of your regular routine you are ready to increase your intensity.

Set new goals: It’s easy for gym regulars to hit a slump and stop seeing the benefits or having the fun that kept them motivated in the past. Before you start dodging gym dates, find a new challenge: Sign up for a 5K, or plan an active vacation like hiking or kayaking. Keeping your workouts interesting and goal oriented will make it more fun and also give you something to work toward.

Breathe better: To improve your performance, focus on your breathing. Next time you are jogging on the treadmill or out on the path try inhaling to a count of three and exhaling to a count of three. Steady your breathing with your pace and you will feel more energized during your workout.

Something new: Many advanced exercisers can get stuck in a workout rut.  Some exercisers will stick to the same workouts because they are familiar with it.  Try new exercises that are completely different from what you normally do. Those are the moves that help build a stronger, more balanced body and prevent overuse injuries. By changing up your routine you are challenging your body in a different way and forcing your body to adjust.  This will help create a more balanced workout.

Work out with someone slower: Once a week, exercise with a buddy who moves at a more leisurely pace. You’ll give your body a chance to regenerate, and maybe you’ll even have a bit more fun. It’s good to be competitive but every once in a while it’s nice to give your body a break and change up the normal routine.

DON’T

Get stuck on the treadmill: New exercisers often do the same routine for the same duration and at the same intensity every time they work out. First of all, this is a really good way to make exercise become a task instead of a release. This bad habit gets reinforced because, as your workouts get easier, you’re fooled into thinking you’ve become more fit. In reality, your muscles have just grown accustomed to the challenge. Be sure to mix up your routine by varying your time and intensity and by cross-training on the bike or elliptical machine, or by going for a jog outside.

Be a slouch: Whether you’re leafing through the latest gossip rag on the elliptical or curling dumbbells on a bench, straighten up. Slumping causes you to check out of your workout both mentally and physically. Focus on sitting or standing up straight, since most people spend a lot of time sitting at a computer give your shoulders a break and pay attention to posture. Slouching also keeps you from breathing deeply, which is necessary for delivering the oxygen your muscles need to work at full capacity.

Be unbalanced: Most regular exercisers are diligent about including cardio, strength, and flexibility in their routines, but they forget about balance. This critical skill allows you to move fluidly and avoid injuries. At the end of your workout, stand on one leg and lift the other out in front of you. Try to hold this for 20 to 30 seconds, then, repeat with the other leg. If this maneuver seems too easy for you try adding a BOSU ball to your workout.  Stand on the BOSU while doing bicep curls or shoulder presses.

Focus on the numbers:  Tracking your running time or calorie count provides instant feedback on your workout.  Try not to get too hung up on the numbers.  When you have a goal whether it be time, distance or calories it feels great to reach it. If it becomes an obsession it takes the joy out of the workout.  Be sure not to push yourself to your limits all the time.  Take a day and run just for fun.

Written by: Nicole Flanigan

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