Don't Let Your Fitness Routine Become 'Groundhog Day'
Is your workout routine starting to feel like the plot of “Groundhog Day”? Don’t be afraid of your own shadow. If you’re stuck in a rut, now is the time to try something new for the next 40 days, whether or not everyone’s furry friend predicts more winter weather. Check out these ideas:
1) Step it Up - Switch up your cardio from the treadmill or elliptical to a summit trainer. The summit trainer works and challenges your lower body’s aerobic and muscular systems differently than a treadmill or elliptical, causing “muscle confusion” that yields results similar to a P90X workout.
2) Be Ready to Run - February is the last month before the outdoor running season meets the race circuit, so you'll want to prep your body with some running or sprinting. Plus, believe it or not, sprinting does wonders for your backside muscles during deceleration.
3) Go Online - Use that YouTube addiction for good! Laughing babies will not get you into your skinny jeans, but using channels like the Life Fitness Academy Training to learn some new moves might. In addition to the exercise videos on my channel, Jason Hodge and pumpone.com house a few of my other favorite workout videos.
4) Slow Down – Try mixing up your weight training with super slow sets. To start, use a weight that is 65 to 85 percent of your max for a specific exercise. Then, perform six repetitions taking 20 seconds on the first half of the move (the concentric muscle contraction) and 20 seconds on the second half of the move that returns to the starting point (eccentric muscle contraction). This slow movement helps recruit more muscle fibers, which can lead to more fatigue, faster. Fatigue means muscles are growing and burning more calories.
7) Tabata - Tabata workouts have gained popularity over the last few years thanks to CrossFit and other boot camp classes. Pick six to 10 Tabata exercises for your total workout, performing eight sets of each exercise for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest after each one. This will fatigue the targeted muscles for each exercise and keep your heart rate up for a lasting cardio effect.
8) Professional Help - It's always a good idea to get a second opinion about what your body needs, and hiring a personal trainer may be just the ticket to getting out of your rut. Trainers can introduce you to new exercises, teach you proper form and help you set and reach realistic goals.
9) Phone a Friend - Staying motivated with your program may be easier with a friend. I’m not a big fan of working out by myself—not even when it comes to cardio. It’s nice to know someone else is exercising right along side you, pushing you to finish the entire workout. Alternate being the leader of the workout, and you just might be introduced to something new.