Now that we’re all coming out of our winter hibernation, it’s time to get serious about our fitness goals. No more of those lame-o elliptical workouts you use to justify your addiction to Keeping Up with the Kardashians. No more skipping long runs to sleep in on Sunday mornings. No more canceling workouts to hit up happy hour. (Side note: We’re totally okay with combining the two.)
If you’re feeling trapped in a fitness rut, we don’t blame you one bit. But now that warmer weather is upon us (Any day now! Promise!), we thought it might be a good time to reexamine our routines and make some, er, much-needed changes.
Here, five ways to spring clean your sad, tired, winter-weary fitness routine.
1. Enlist a buddy. Or buddies.
There’s no better way to motivate yourself to get back on track with your fitness goals than to make use of the ol’ buddy system. Whether that means you and a friend commit to taking a class or two together each week — on a set schedule, so no one can flake — or you and a faraway pal schedule weekly FaceTime check-ins to keep you both on track, the accountability of a friend in the same boat really works wonders.
If groups of workout buddies are more your bag, consider joining one of the region’s many running clubs, or check out the November Project’s free workouts one of these days. Both offer heaps of new fitness pals who will keep you more than motivated to stick with your goals.
2. Try something completely new.
True story: It took a 30-day yoga challenge to turn me into yoga convert. And let me tell you, those first few classes were rough. But once I got over the hump — of feeling out of place, of not knowing the names of poses, of being completely and utterly inflexible — I actually started to like yoga. With time, I grew to love it.
That’s not to say you need to follow my lead and do one activity every single day for 30 days straight. But if you’re sick to death of running the Schuylkill River Trail or the thought of yet another Zumba class has you searching for excuses, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and try something brand new. A trainer I once worked with recommended trying one new class or workout a week for two months. That gives you eight opportunities to try something completely fresh; chances are, you’ll find something that sticks.
3. Mix it up.
Since you’re trying something new, anyway, you might as well take the opportunity to reassess your approach to fitness in general. Think back over the past few weeks of your workouts. Did you do the same type of workout, day in, day out, week in, week out? If the answer is yes, I would encourage you to get off of the hamster wheel and try varying your routine, even within a given week. (Obviously, this is for people who aren’t training for a race or other fitness event. If you’re in training, stick with your training plan.) Maybe Mondays are for running, but Tuesdays are for yoga. On Wednesdays, you might try a Spin class or boot camp, and on Saturdays, maybe it’s water aerobics.
The benefits here are twofold: Not only will a more varied fitness approach keep your brain engaged with all the newfound fun you’re having, your body will be incredibly confused by all the switch-ups, so you’ll keep your muscles guessing and working hard.
4. Create a rewards system.
Look, I am not above bribery, especially when it comes to enticing myself to stick with a fitness plan. Don’t be shy about building in a rewards system to give yourself a pat on the back whenever you hit your goals. Maybe it’s treating yourself to a lunch out on Fridays if you’ve met your goals for the week. Maybe it’s buying a new piece of workout gear or clothing once a month when you’ve surpassed your hurdles. Hey, maybe it’s just a slice of pie every once in a while. (Do not underestimate the power of a good piece of pie.) Figure out what motivates you to stay on track, then use it as a powerful tool to meet — and surpass — your fitness expectations.
5. Get outdoors.
If you’re a cold-weather wimp like me, you were probably trapped indoors for much of the past few months. Now that the weather is turning — and the sun stays up past 5 p.m. — consider taking at least some of your workouts outdoors for some much needed fresh air and sunshine. Lucky for you, we’re on the verge of a seriously jam-packed outdoor fitness season, with things like Yoga on the Pier and Yoga on the Banks set to launch next month, and free outdoor workouts at Dilworth Park already underway. We’ll be sure to keep you posted about more outdoor workout opportunities as they’re confirmed — stay tuned.
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