Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bag the Winter Workout Blahs

Let me be frank: training for the Flying Pig over the past few weeks has been, well, darn near impossible. With a foot or more of snow covering most of the sidewalks and trails throughout the city, we've had little choice but to suck it up and either run super early (to avoid traffic on the roads) or knock out our miles on the treadmill.

And running inside is so tedious. Mile after mile, day after day, slogging it out while staring out the window at the dirty, slushy landscape is just plain boring.

I've about had it with the weather and the way it restricts my workouts. And I'm betting you have, too. Treadmills, stairmills, elliptical, the sweaty dude who always has the equipment before you and never wipes it down - they're all on your nerves and about to make you bag your workouts until the sun finally shows its face once again. But wait! Don't give up. You don't have to bag your workouts; bag your blahs instead by taking a fresh approach to a tired routine.

Necessity is absolutely the mother of invention. And with your fitness motivation at a new low, there's never been more of a necessity to invent a new program. Take this opportunity to try something totally new.
  • If you're a runner, give the stairmill a try - you'll be shocked at how it works your glutes and gets your heart rate up. Phoning it in on the elliptical? Grab a good gossip rag and jump on a recumbent bike. You'll cycle from Florence to Fairborn before you know it.
  • Ask your trainer for a great circuit workout. With a circuit, you'll perform a series of exercises quickly with little or no rest in between. It will push you beyond your current limits and give you a great workout in 30-40 minutes by incorporating both cardio and resistance work in one routine. If you don't have a trainer, you can find circuit programs online or in magazines like Self, Women's Health and Men's Health.
  • Revert to childhood with a jump rope. There are few more efficient - or cheaper - pieces of exercise equipment available. Incorporate 50-100 strokes as you move between machines and you'll rev up your heart, your stamina, and your calorie-burning potential.
  • Give group fitness a try. HealthStyle offers two group fitness options, our Adventure Boot Camp for Women and the Total Fitness Makeover. You can also check your gym's schedule for classes ranging from yoga to Zumba to kickboxing. Many people find spinning addictive, and most gyms offer both morning and evening classes.  
  • If you're totally snowed in, try a DVD. There are thousands of workouts for all fitness levels and interests. You can have Jillian Michaels bark orders at you, find programs tailored to new moms, to women over 40, build muscle with Tony Horton and P90-X, or even take a crack at belly dancing or striptease. And here's 2 free at home workouts from yours truly! Click here to work your quads, chest, shoulders, triceps and heart rate ... or click here to work your hamstrings, back, biceps, core and heart rate ! Both workouts can be watched online ... or downloaded to your iPod!
The weather - even when it's been as bad as it has been this February - is NOT a viable excuse to ditch your healthy habits. Give something new a try and soon your energy will be restored and your attitude improved. In the meantime, I swear I heard birds singing the other day. Spring is out there somewhere, I just know it.

Brian Calkins

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