Spring! Once it arrives in full force, it’s hard not to feel a little happier and more positive as you shed layers and start enjoying some much-missed sunshine. Lots of people start afresh in the spring-time, whether it’s organizing, spring-cleaning, or going back and dusting off those nearly forgotten January resolutions.
Spring is also a perfect time to switch up your fitness routine. I know you’ve heard this expressed in countless different ways, but it’s true – your body is an incredibly sophisticated and adaptable machine. It means that whatever you do with your body repetitively, your body will adapt to that movement and find a way to make it easier, expending less energy doing the same activity. This is both a good thing – it’s why we can get better with practice; and a bad thing – it’s why the same workout may not yield the same training effect or calorie burn as it used to.
10 Ways to Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine
1. Get Superficial. Yup, I’m talking about workout clothes and shoes and accessories – if you can afford a splurge, then buy something you’re excited to wear to the gym, or yoga, or out for a run. You could also invest in technology like a GPS watch, FitBit, or fitness apps for your phone. On a budget? Kill two birds with one stone and spring clean your closet, getting rid of the workout stuff you never wear and organizing it so you can quickly put together everything you need for your workout.
2. Make a date. Chances are, it’s not just you who’s itching to get outside and take advantage of the weather, or is motivated by the annual shedding of the winter layers to want to recommit to fitness. If there’s a time that suits both you and a friend to get together, try to find a class or activity for that time you guys can do together. Or get a little creative and set up your own ‘workout club’ (like a book club except with the books…and the wine…and the wine). Every week, or month, each member could organize a new workout for all of you to try together. When someone else is calling the shots and deciding what to try, you’re guaranteed to try at least a few workouts you never would have otherwise.
3. Timing is everything. If you’ve worked out the same three days a week for years, a change in workout could be as simple as switching up the days you workout, or even the time. Gyms will have different class schedules and equipment that’s more available at different times; running areas may be more or less crowded; or maybe you find a workout near your office that would fit perfectly as a lunchtime break a couple of times a week.
4. Reassess your goals. When you’re first starting out with a workout routine, setting goals is easy. You know what you want and need from your workout and you can plan accordingly to meet that goal. But once you’ve met your goal, or you find yourself doing the same workout, not seeing new results, but able to maintain your level of fitness, your pace, your strength – how many of us decide to reassess and shake things up? It’s more likely you think to yourself, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it.” Think about what you do and why you do it – is there a new goal you could strive towards? Are you holding yourself back? Be honest and see if changing your why could be enough to transform your routine.
5. Inspire yourself. Don’t discount the power of what you choose to surround yourself with. Try out things like vision boards, motivational quotes or mantras, actually trying things you pin on Pinterest, follow people you find inspiring on blogs or social media. You never know what will stick with you and motivate you to get moving.
6. Sign up for something. It’s a tried and true method of switching up your routine and motivating you – registering for and paying for a race will kick your butt into following a training plan. Buying a class pack with an expiration date at a local studio can inspire you to keep turning up to those pre-paid classes. If the event is something you can also make a vacation out of, or you can sign up for classes with a friend, it can be even more motivating and fun.
7. Enjoy the outdoors! There’s no more snow! There’s sunshine! We’ve waited months for this – let it inspire you to get outside, especially if you’re usually a gym goer. If you’re not a runner, try a boot camp in a local park, or hiking, walking, biking – there are so many ways you can take advantage of the nicer weather and take your workout outdoors.
8. Switch up your entertainment. If you normally listen to music on a run, try audio books or podcasts instead. (Check out these posts from Nellie, Tina and Tara on great podcasts to keep you motivated and absorbed). If you find yourself constantly skipping songs on your iPod, invest some time in building all new playlists. Or, if you’ve never tried working out without music, see what it’s like! You may be surprised that the quiet brings some peace or thinking time to your workout.
9. Change your workout space. Don’t have the cash for trying every popular class or studio in your area? Try at-home workouts. Dust off your fitness DVD’s, or sign up for one of the many, many online workout sites. Check out my review of Gigabody, Christine’s tips for building your own at-home yoga practice, or do a little research and find something that suits you. You can also check out YouTube or blogs for countless free workouts. (I like Breaking Muscle for its varied range of free workout plans). Or, switch gyms; try a new fitness studio; find a new outdoor space for your run or walk. Sometimes a new environment is enough to revitalize you.
10. Do something that scares you. Think about an activity or workout you think would terrify you for one reason or another – for example, indoor rock climbing, trapeze lessons, pole dancing, aerial yoga, CrossFit. Then go ahead and do it. Why? Breaking out of your fitness comfort zone – even if you decide you hate it and will never do it again – could have a domino effect on the rest of your workouts. Once you’ve challenged yourself to do something you didn’t think possible, you’re more likely to push yourself (even if on a smaller scale) in your regular workouts.
I love this time of year and it naturally motivates me to want to get out and move and enjoy the outdoors. Something tells me I will be taking it easy around the time the weather really becomes lovely here, but since making a plan for my postpartum fitness recovery, I’m excited just to get out with a baby strapped to my chest and a toddler by my side to start.
How often do you reassess what you do for your workouts?
Do you get stuck in a fitness routine?