Hey, hey lettuce-heads!
I wanted to touch on a topic today many of you have mastered, and many of you might not have a clue on! Either way, refreshing yourself, reminding yourself, and just plain realizing what you could do differently to make a dent in your progress is always time worth spending. Day in and day out, I pop into the Y and people are doing the same thing they always do. Power to the efficacy of routine, YES, but our bodies adjust to the tasks we begin to master by repetition. Our muscles and hearts adapt, its no longer hard, and alas we are on auto pilot. Fortunately, because Ive been teaching for 6 years now including some of the exact same things (Turbo and Cycle for example), Ive had some great trial and error in how to keep things fresh, difficult, challenging, and effective in burning calories. There are 2 main ways to exert the energy you’re trying to 1) go longer… or better yet 2) go harder.
Here are my tips to step out of that rut, go HARDER, maintain efficiency and take things to the next level instead…
1) Train for an event
Why do so many adults train for the mini-marathon, force themselves to swim for the first time to accomplish their first triathlons, or pay an entry fee to sloth through mud and barbed wire? Well the challenge of course is exciting, people have the motivation to put themselves through the torture, but the training is a wicked workout. Just following a training plan is sure to get one out of their comfort zone, often forcing cross training which people dont do if theyre glued to an elliptical.
What LBD’s (little black dress) are to the chronic cocktail chaser, heart rate monitors are to the fitness junkies! Heart rate monitors help a person understand their body and how they’ll feel when their heart rate has reached its maximum. Theyll better understand their calorie burn. Perfect example being if they run 13 miles and vowed they had to have burned 2000 calories, eating according to that vow, but then slap on an HRM and realize it was only 1100 calories, the reality will smack them in the face and they’ll maybe hold the fries next time. If a person starts to do interval training (like advanced cycling training) or Insanity or crossfit, their heart rate monitor is a perfect barometer to see if they’re at where they want to be. Let it be a personal trainer for you and let it help you get in tune with your physical temple.
3) Add Weight and Tools
When you used to burn 600 calories running for an hour, you will eventually adapt and have to go faster (covering more ground) and/or longer to get that same 600 calorie burn. How will you know? The good ol HRM. There are SO many ways to make something that used to be hard, hard again! For example, when running or cycling, you can hit up inclines, hills, run up mountains! With your aerobic routine you can add weighted tools (gloves, weighted vest, ankles weights, and of course mix in heavy weight lifting). You can even get the right shoes (Spin/Cycling) for example that can give you that efficient push and pull action equaling a better quad, ham, glute, calf maximal effort. Anything low to high (tabata training, Insanity, cross fit) and with intervals is sure to rock your world versus a steady state comfortable hang out workout. If you have to be sweating and pushing for 1 hour- would you rather make the most of it or be busy half a-ing it?
Similar to the above post- you’ve got to change it up. Keep the body guessing. And not in the sense that you immerse yourself in one thing and hop to the next once youve mastered it- though that is surely possible. But if your week consists of 4-5 high intense cardio workouts, 2 days of weights and 1 day of steady state, longer cardio workouts (walk in the park, yoga, rollerblading, easy bike ride) then you sure as heck have a great cross training routine covering your major muscle groups, your heart, strength, and flexibility. Last year when I went to Snowbird, Utah with Oakley, I didnt want to chance my 3 previous knee surgery legs on the slopes, so I snow shoe-ed for hours instead. I thought creatively- which Im sure many of us are doing amidst this snowmageddon. Not able to hit up our usual solutions, we’re doing the most random of things to get our heart rate up instead of sitting on our bun- if even just for survival purposes. Everyones status updates are surely impressing me with their creativity, variety, and determination!
5) Join A Challenge Group or Club
How many times have you been talked into something because someone wanted you there? Socially we want to do things when others are doing it. Whether its FOMO- fear of missing out- or just the natural inclination to be a part of what everyone else is doing, being a part of one of my challenge groups online, running or tri club, cycling communities, group classes where everyone knows your name, etc, etc- you’ll be much more likely to accomplish what you said you would when people are expecting you to be there! You know as soon as you log on to Facebook, glance on Instagram, or check your texts, you’ll see/hear about the fun they’re all having that you talked yourself out of. Many of these communities get together for fun social events… workout+ food, workout + beer, competitions + road trips! Let the fear of missing out on some major fun be an accountability tool for you. Trust me it works.
I hope these simple steps can either refresh you all on how to step it up or point out a thing or two you haven’t tried yet. Prevent yourself from suffering the depression of auto-pilot workouts, step it up, and have the time of your life!
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