5 Tips for FUN and Effective Workouts
Not feeling motivated? Has exercise become mundane? Are there days when you've lost your mojo? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, don't fret, just adopt a few simple tips to make your workouts fun and effective!
Tip 1 - Strike while the iron is hot.
You know those moments. Moments when you FEEL like working out, but you don't. You think, I'll do it later and it never happens. Don't feel badly, it happens to all of us. But, remember this - you'll most likely NEVER get to it - so instead, do what I do, drop and do 10 - 10 reps of anything - push ups, squats, dips, etc. This small act will change your mood and mindset, as well as build momentum to continue. While you may not have time for a full workout, allow yourself to lace in more exercises throughout the day.
- Motivate: Come up with a simple goal and you're more likely to follow through. Give yourself a number to follow, like say, "By the end of the day, I'll do 10 different exercises, x15 reps."
Tip 2 - Go slow to go fast!
Admit it: Warm-ups can be a bit tedious. But, here's the thing, skip your warm-up and your workout WILL be harder to get into and harder to DO. Why? A warm up prepares your body and mind for the exercise to come. It gives your mind, muscles, joints, heart and lungs, the opportunity to rehearse for the activity ahead. And we all know, practice make everything easier.
- Motivate: A warm up will enhance circulation, initiate carbohydrate and fat enzymes for consumption, as well as increase levels of epinephrine, the hormone that helps you burn fat. Skip your 8-to-10 minute warm-up and you'll skip the process.
Tip 3 - Incorporate toys and tools.
Sure, body weight and gravity exercises like push ups, lunges and pull ups are all very effective, however, sometimes you just want to add a little something to mix-it-up and make it more interesting. I'm a fan of resistance tubing (all strengths), Nordic walking poles, neoprene-covered weights (you can drop them on your foot and not get hurt!), as well as vinyl-covered hand weights (they don't feel cold in the winter).
- Motivate: Have two or three different strengths in resistance tubing. For example, use very strong resistance to wrap around trees and posts for large muscle groups like chest, back and biceps exercises, and light to medium strength for smaller muscles such as the deltoids of the shoulder.
Tip 4 - Play with props.
Do a little scouting to find fun props to use as your "gym." Just about every community has a local playground, park, or square that you can use as your training arena. The trick is to scan for areas of opportunity - look for props like monkey bars for reverse pull ups, a slide for single-leg dips, swings for ab work. In a park setting, you can perform an entire full body workout using only a bench. For example try step-ups, decline push ups and triceps dips. Live in the mountains? Try my "Tree Workout" - A fun total-body workout, using only a tree!
Tip 5 - Visualize your greatness.
When it comes to fitness, what you see IS what you get! Turns out we really do have the ability to affect our performance through our thoughts. Professional athletes understand that mental rehearsal and attitude account for 80% or more of their performance. They comprehend that "thoughts are things", and the emotions we attach to those thoughts, have a physiological affect. You see, when you visualize your goal - really see it and feel it - your mind and body seek to accomplish that goal.
- Motivate: Just before you begin your warm up, close your eyes and take a moment to picture yourself doing the workout - warm up, exercises, cool down - as you are going through this process, you may notice various muscles begin to twitch, as if you are actually performing the move. As this happens, finish your visualization with a clear picture of yourself having completed the workout, and how GREAT you feel. Now, step into the picture - literally-take a step - and LIVE it!