Workout Shake Up: Find Your Style

Spring is here and that is usually the time when a deep cleaning/organizing of our homes, work space, and lives move to the top of the “to-do” list. But, why stop there? Spring is the perfect time to do an overhaul of your workout, analyzing to see if you are getting the results you want and if it is taking care of your current needs. So many of us get stuck in a rut and perform the same exercises, the same way, at the same time of the day over and over again, year after year. Not only does your muscles loose interest and begin to adapt to the workouts and the movements, but it is just plain boring! There are a few things to consider and ask yourself when looking to clean out the boredom and shake things up:
  1. How long have you been doing your current exercise routine? Your workout plan should be changed every 6-8 weeks to make sure that your body is constantly being challenged, to make sure that you are not creating imbalances throughout your musculature, and to make sure that you are not overworking certain areas and setting yourself up for an injury. When your body and results begin to plateau, that is a huge sign that something needs to change!
  2. Does it feel like a chore or is it something that still motivates you? Do you enjoy your workouts and get excited or, at least, feel a small surge of positive anticipation when getting ready to bust a move? If not, your current exercise routine may not be right for you. Exercise is meant to challenge and give you results, but it is also meant to be fun. If you drag your heels to get to the gym or to do some core work at home or to go for a run outside, I would suggest it is time to shake things up.
  3. Do you have enough time to finish the workout routine that you prepared for yourself? And, if not, do you typically find yourself stressing to get it completed? Workouts are meant to be a stress reliever and, regardless of how aggressive your workouts are, they should still bring you pleasure. If you find yourself consistently rushing and not being able to complete the workout that you have planned or if you find yourself compromising your form and safety because of trying to get everything done quickly, then it might be time to find an alternative style of workout.
  4. How does your body feel afterwards? Do you feel tired, but alive OR do you feel exhausted and washed out? If you consistently feel tired and washed out, that is increasing the stress and inflammation within your body and may be pushing you into over training. The more unhealthy stress that is delivered to the body day in and day out raises your cortisol levels. When your cortisol levels are maxed out on a consistent basis, you could be setting yourself up for some adrenal fatigue. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
  5. Finally…Do you have fun? If you are not having fun, like I mentioned above, what is the point? Workouts should be enjoyable, bring you pleasure, and make you excited to see what results you are getting. Should each one of us exercise to enhance our lives and make our bodies and minds healthier? Absolutely! But if you feel drained from your chosen activity, the health benefits are teetering on the line of being null and void. You may actually be putting a damper on your health with the added mental stress you are engaging in.
If it isn’t enjoyable, it isn’t sustainable. Remember, in the land of fitness abundance, there are so many personalities and so many possibilities! Let’s find any alternative that can shake it up for you…
  • Busting boredom

Try: Body weight exercises. If you want a real challenge in your routine, then try a few circuit rounds of body weight exercises to make sure that your musculature is in tip top shape. My motto is that if you can not hold and control your own body throughout some basic body weight movements, then that’s where you should start. Try 3-5 rounds of higher repetitions (20-30 repetitions) and/or to failure. Rest for 90-120 seconds in between each round.

Exercises (all exercises are in common names): Push-ups, Lunges, Abdominal V-ups, Pull-ups (or assisted pull-ups), Step ups (on a step height that is challenging, but doesn’t cause knee pain), Supermans, Planks, Bicycles, Tricep dips, Burpees

  • Short on time

Try: Rounds for time. Select 3-4 exercises that you can complete back to back without a rest and perform them for time. Each round, you try to bust your own personal record. Make sure that the moves you pick are full body and functional. You can do higher repetitions or you can do moderate repetitions. It will depend on the exercises you choose and the intensity they create for you.

Sample workout: Squat to overhead weighted shoulder press (15 reps), Split Squats (15 reps each leg), Tricep push-ups (15 reps), Stair runs (30 seconds to 1 minute)

  • More fun in groups

Try: Any class to get your heart pumping, your muscles burning, and your socialization buzzing. Here are a few examples – Boot camps, Zumba, TRX suspension classes, Spinning, Hip Hop/Funk dance classes, Pole dancing, Hot yoga

  • Fun in the sun

Try: Anything outdoors, really, but to shake it up, some alternative ideas are – Sand running, Beach volleyball, Rock-climbing, An outside yoga or stretching session, Trail running, A track workout at your local track

  • I need some power

Try: Plyometrics. Plyometric work increases force generated by the body and helps to develop the fast-twitch muscle fiber activation. It is also a great way to turn up the heat, and your metabolism, in any workout! Do 3-4 rounds of this circuit with a 2-3 minute break in between rounds. Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise.

Exercises: Bounding, Squat jumps, Box jumps up and then forward jump off, Alternating lunge jumps, Lateral side to side jumps (Ice skaters), Forward leaps, Knee tuck jumps

ACTION STEP: Take action now! How does your workout fit you? Is it still appropriate for where you are at in your life? If not, what can you do to change it and shake things up? I want you to comment below or email me through my website, Facebook, or Twitter and tell me all about what you do. Did you recently change your workout style? I want to hear all about it! Live your life with passion and purpose…

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