Sarah's Fit Blog


15 ways to break out of your fitness rut!

Posted in Live by Sarah on April 2, 2012

TRADE PLANKS FOR KICKBOXING
Standard abs exercises like planks are great for building core strength, but if that’s the only thing you do to tighten and tone your waistline, you’re missing out! Kickboxing is a very effective way to work your core and burn calories (to help shed body fat and show off your six-pack underneath).
Every punch, bob, weave, and kick engages your abs, while also helping you blast away stress related fat! So instead of lying down to work your abs, keep your whole body moving with kickboxing.

TRADE WEIGHT MACHINES FOR TRX
Strength training on machines is one way to develop muscle, but since most isolate one body part at a time while the remainder of your body “rests” on the machine, it’s not the most efficient (translation: fewer calories burned). Try adding some TRX suspension training to your routine! Use this minimalist piece of equipment (nylon straps that attach to a door or other stable anchor) to maximize a bodyweight-only workout. You’ll engage multiple muscles at once, develop core strength, balance, and flexibility, and burn tons of calories in the process.

CUT CARDIO TIME WITH TABATA
More isn’t always better, especially when it comes to your cardio workout. Tabata training is a perfect example. This super-quick workout (dubbed the “four-minute fat-burning miracle” is the perfect way to mix up a stale cardio routine.
Studies show that just four minutes of this very high intensity training is more effective than an hour-long treadmill session. And the best part is you don’t have to be at the gym to do it!

HIT THE ROAD WITH A NEW ROUTE
Exercising outdoors is a useful way to keep your cardio interesting, but you may be stalling your progress and inviting boredom if you always follow the same path. Avoid getting lost and stay safe trying new routes on your bike or during your next run with Mapmyride.com. Search by your zip code and find bike (or running/walking) routes, maps, and log your mileage to help you progress.

SKIP THE GYM, NOT YOUR WORKOUT
Instead of scrapping your workout because you couldn’t get to the gym, try working out at home with an exercise DVD. Many are lead by top fitness professionals with years of teaching experience that could introduce you to some new exercises, training methods, or simply become a new source of motivation for your workouts.

WORK OUT WITH EYES WIDE SHUT
This may sound strange, but closing your eyes during some of your strength moves can help you zero in on your form, focus on contracting the targeted muscle, and may make your movements more controlled and precise. Even a simple balance exercise (such as standing on one leg) can be made more challenging simply by closing your eyes. (Warning: this may cause strange looks from fellow gym-goers).

SKIP SPIN CLASS AND HIT THE ROAD
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fans of spinning—it’s an incredible workout. But switching from a stationary to a real road bike may be the perfect way to help spark new changes in your body.
Most (not all) indoor cyclists don’t use enough resistance on the flywheel, which means they aren’t burning as many calories or generating as much power as they could be, not to mention putting excess stress or strain on their joints. A road bike ride is a great reminder of just how hard it is to pedal that fast, meaning next time you saddle up indoors, you may just take your inside ride to the next level.

KICK YOUR FEET UP
If you always have both feet on the ground during your workouts, try picking one (or both) up! Plyometrics and balance training are two effective ways to challenge your body in a new way during old exercises.

STAND ON SHAKY GROUND
If you always work out on a flat surface, it’s time to mix things up! On the treadmill? Add an incline. Doing squats? Stand on a BOSU. Going for a jog? Run through sand or water. You can burn more calories, engage more muscles, and get a more effective training session simply by changing the surface of your workouts.

GET SOME FRESH AIR
The best gym is nature! Taking your routine outdoors is a wonderful way to stay inspired and add additional challenges during your regular workout. Uneven terrain engages more muscles, the sun helps boost your mood, and the change of scenery may be all you need to get motivated to lace up your sneakers regularly. Even if it’s cold outside, an outdoor workout still offers some major benefits.

SWITCH UP YOUR SCHEDULE
While the best time of day to work out is the time you’ll actually do it, switching up your workout schedule could be an easy way to boost your energy level during your regular routine. For instance, if you have to fit your workout in at the crack of dawn in order to make it happen, try scheduling just one day a week where you can exercise in the evening or on your lunch break instead. You may find yourself with more energy, enthusiasm, and stamina to get more out of your usual workout.

REVISIT CHILDHOOD FAVORITES
If you haven’t gone swimming, biking, or jumped on a trampoline since you were a kid, now is the time to bring them back into your life! All the fun activities that you used to “play” as a child are still awesome ways to stay in shape. Getting back into an activity that you used to do in high school (such as competitive swimming, running track, or ballet) can help you push yourself harder and stay more committed to your routine. Ask friends to come and “play” and help each other stay accountable.

WEAR A HEART RATE MONITOR
Working out with a heart rate monitor can help you burn more calories during your workouts by giving you feedback on your intensity level. Once you’ve determined your specific training zone, you can better balance your workout days by alternating high and low intensity sessions and make sure you stay in the right heart rate range at the right time.

ROCK TO THE RIGHT BEAT
Listening to exercise specific beats per minute (BPM) during your workout can help you get more out of your moves. A song’s tempo directly relates to the average person’s heart rate during exercise, which means tapping into the power of your tunes can truly help you maximize your workout potential.
Here are some general bpm guidelines when it comes to picking the perfect workout playlist: For strength training (done at a circuit pace) stick with 120-130 bpm, for running try 150-175pm, and for cycling try 95-130 bpm (will vary with terrain).

SOUND THE ALARM
A simple stopwatch-style timer can be an inexpensive, but super effective, tool for boosting your workout’s benefits. Use it for Tabata intervals, boxing rounds, or just to make sure you get your routine done in 20 minutes or less—no time for talking or daydreaming allowed!

Here’s a couple photos of the Sweat Junkies playing a good ol’ game of kickball last week. Most of them were surprised how sore they were and how they didn’t even realize how hard they had to work because they were distracted by the huge amount of FUN!


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