by Jennifer Trimmier
Spring cleaning is a necessity in most homes, a time to dig deep into the bowels of closets and storage rooms to rid the home of unwanted clutter and wipe away the dust and cobwebs. The concept of “spring cleaning” can apply to our bodies, just as it applies to our homes. Spring cleaning your fitness routine means cleaning off the “dust” that has gathered on your monotonous exercise regimen.
Maybe you’ve been going through the motions for a while, and your body has gotten used to switching to “auto-pilot” as you cycle through the same set of exercises day after day, week after week. As your body adapts to the repeated 3-mile run or the Tuesday evening gym circuit, your muscles are likely working less, repeating the same motions and effort with less intensity and less intention than when you started.
That’s where spring cleaning comes in. Time to shake out the old routine and bring in some freshness. Here are some great spring cleaning tips:
- Add intervals to your cardio workout. Including intervals in your cardio workout will increase calorie and fat burn. Instead of jumping on the treadmill, setting it on your daily speed and going at it for 30 minutes, vary the speed and incline to get more “burn” in the same amount of time. Treadmill tip: If you tend to watch TV while you tread away, increase the speed and incline on the commercials and decrease both back down during the main program.
- Do the same exercise a different way. If you always use the assisted pull-up machine, switch to banded pullups. This new twist on an old exercise challenges your body and incorporates more of your core. Another swap could be back squats instead of the leg press machine; moving from machine-led movement to free weights is more taxing on your body and engages your core more. Note that it’s important for you to understand the new exercise or new equipment before jumping right in; while it may look similar, you’ll need to start slow to ensure your body adapts appropriately.
- Mix strength and cardio. If you’re a cardio buff, mix in strength training, and vice versa. Having a good mix of both cardiovascular and strength training activity is good for your body and your heart. Neglecting one part of this puzzle can leave your body unbalanced. Your muscular and cardiovascular systems work together to support your structure and body, so ensure you’re working on both to stay in optimum health.
- Take days off to rest and recover. Rest is an important part of a healthy regimen. Because every body is different, rest and recovery requirements are also different. The general rule of thumb is to listen to your body and rest when you feel you need it. Having proper recovery intervals will allow you to keep exercising on a consistent schedule. Typically, a rest/recovery day or lighter workout is warranted every three to five days.
Remember, spring cleaning isn’t about changing everything completely; it’s about freshening up so your home, and your body, doesn’t become stale. Add some freshness to your fitness routine, and you’ll soon find yourself as happy in your spring-cleaned body as you are in your spring-cleaned home.
Jennifer Trimmier is an ACE-certified personal trainer who owns Strong Body San Antonio Fitness & Wellness Coaching. She provides at-home and on-location personal training and wellness coaching for individuals and groups. To learn more, visit www.strongbodysa.com or call 210-445-0448.