As the warmer weather dwindles, you may be taking your workouts indoors. While exercising outside definitely has its benefits, varying your activity with challenges like strength training and new kinds of cardio is a great way to winterize your workout routine. So re-up your gym membership and zero in on some new goals. Here’s how.
Make a plan. Write it down.
Whether you’re setting your intentions for the season, or one workout, heading in with focus and commitment makes a big difference. Maybe you are already tracking your times and weight and reps at the gym. Great, keep it up! Even a quick note to yourself before you even get out of the car will help you head home with your head high (and glutes on fire). Achieve a great indoor workout by making a written plan of your workout, picking one playlist to listen to, and really focus on the movements you are doing.
Don’t workout on empty. Before you lace up your sneakers, eat a snack to help you power through your routine. Protein bars are a great option for making sure you have what you need to get through an hour or so at the gym, but not so heavy that they will weigh you down.
Don’t fear Sweaty.
If you’re used to wide open runs and backcountry hikes, moving indoors may not be your favorite thing. Not only is your space limited, but you’ll likely be sharing it with more people than you pass on your trails. Fight the tendency to feel self-conscious about what you look like when you work out. We ALL sweat, and if you’re working hard and putting it all out there on the floor, you might end up dripping. We mean a cold stomach, sweat-dripping-from-your-forehead kind of sweat. Embrace it, towel off, and be sure to spray down the mats and machines after you use them. Sweating is good for your skin with additional benefits ranging from shedding toxins to aiding your immune system to regulating your body temperature. Just don’t forget to hydrate!
Bored? Change it up!
Working out at the gym can get really boring really fast if it’s the same cardio or weight rotation day after day. Trade your treadmill run for a HIIT workout. HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training and are super effective ways to get it all in in a short period of time.. Not only will you be maximizing your efforts, but having a little more fun!. Think of a HIIT workout as an obstacle course. Write down a set you want to complete – ranging from squat jumps, ab kicks, 50 meter sprints, whatever you like – and make it your goal to do this rotation for a number of minutes with little breaks in between each set. With the constant changes in movements, it is more difficult to get bored or distracted. Not a gym rat? No worries! HIIT workouts require little or no equipment, so you can do your workout in your living room or on your lunch break.
We all have our favorite playlist, but did you know there are actual benefits to music while you work out? Studies are telling us that it might actually make us work out harder, but anyone with a handful of pop power anthems at the ready already knows that a fresh song can be the difference between quitting a workout early or sticking it out. Plus, listening to music releases endorphins, which helps convince your brain of the positive correlation between working out and feeling good. BONUS: The analgesic effect endorphins have help distract your brain from the pain or discomfort you may be physically feeling during your workout. The perfect tempo for high intensity workouts according to science? 120-140 beats per minute. When you’re ready to cool down, bring it back to the 80-90 bpm range.
Take a tech break.
Try to avoid switching songs or fiddling with your smartphone during your workout. Pick a playlist before you start your exercises, and put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ mode so texts and emails don’t pull you away from your sweat session. Don’t worry, your fitness tracker will do it’s job, even if you don’t look at it every thirty seconds.
To maximize your indoor workout, eat smart, turn up your music, make every exercise count, and get sweaty!