How are your workouts going so far this year? Remember back in January when you made yourself the promise to work out on a regular basis to lose weight and get healthier? Have you plateaued yet?
Often when we start an exercise routine whether it is walking, aerobics, weights, or whatever, we tend to do the same thing over and over again. We get in a workout rut.
Not only are our minds getting bored, but so are our bodies. If you are tired of doing the same old thing week after week, chances are the results you were hoping to see still have not arrived yet.
You need some challenges thrown in to challenge not only your muscles, but also your brain. Let’s face it, if you’re bored your motivation to workout will start to fade. Soon excuses start cropping up as to why you didn’t work out today.
Just like in a healthy diet, you need variety!
Try throwing in some extra challenging moves you only do for short bursts to get your heart rate up and to rev up your fat burning metabolism.
These short bursts of working really hard or really fast can really put some zing and fun back into your workouts.
Here are a few ways you can throw in a little “burst” to your workout:
- Walking – when walking the dog or just out for a stroll try walking so fast that you are almost running. Running is great, but if you haven’t run in a while or have an injury you may want to stick with walking. Pick a target in the distance like a tree or a park bench and walk as fast you can taking large strides and breathing rhythmically till you get there. You can also just count off in your head how long you are working hard till you just have to stop. Make sure you go long enough till you’re panting and bring that heart rate up.
- Running – if you are a runner or a jogger than adding in sprints throughout your run is another way. Follow the same ideas as walking.
- Weight lifting – during your weightlifting sessions (you are doing them, right?) try either adding considerable extra weight for a few reps or adding reps with your normal weight or even adding speed. Just don’t compromise proper form so you don’t injure yourself. Again, set a timer or count in your head. Whatever works for you.
Here is an example of something I’ve just started doing. We just acquired a new treadmill. Great for when it’s cold and snowy out and I can’t get out to walk. A couple times a week I do an interval of walking on an incline.
I start off at 0% for 5 minutes at an easy pace just to warm up my muscles, then I increase the incline by 1% for 2 minutes. Then after those two minutes I increase it another 1% till I am at the machine’s maximum which is 15%.
Now 15% at 2.5 mph may not seem like a lot, but I do have a back injury and a knee injury I have to consider. Believe me, walking at this speed at 15% incline isn't easy - look at the machine's intensity level, it's at 9!
You may be able to go faster or you may have to go slower. It isn’t important to “keep up” with someone else. What is important is to challenge “your” body.
I show you this as this is just one way you can mix up a treadmill routine. The other days I add in speed where I run at the fastest pace I can for as long as I can, then come back down to my normal brisk walk. I walk for a few minutes then increase the speed again till I’m running. My injuries prevent me from running a long amount of time, but these “bursts” help me to increase my calorie burn as well help to condition me faster.
The important thing to remember is to do these short bursts in intervals. If you only have 30 minutes to work out, then after your 5 minute warm up, work out at your normal speed then throw in a burst for 30 seconds then go back to normal speed for 5 minutes. Try and do at least 3 bursts.
As you get accustomed to them you need to up the burst level. You can add the number of fast bursts, increase the time you do your bursts or increase the speed you do them at. Find what is the most fun and challenging for you.
Don’t worry if you can’t even do 30 seconds of intense burst activity. If all you can do is 10 seconds, that’s fine. We all have to start someplace and 10 seconds will eventually lead to 15, then 30 and so on.
Remember to allow yourself some grace and start where you are comfortable. The idea is to build up your endurance, burn more calories, speed up your metabolism and get fitter faster.
Change is good. Be creative. What sounds like a fun way to add a burst of activity into your routine? Keep your body guessing as to what is coming next. It will be happy to burn those extra calories and you will get more excited to work out.
Don’t forget to keep hydrated during your work out. We like to use the same hydration drink the Olympic athletes use, Shaklee Performance. Check it out, I think you’ll like its features and how well it works at keeping your energy levels high while you are rehydrating.
Remember to have fun while you are getting fit!
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