Love Your Workout: Take it outside!

Although I am not a fitness professional, I’m a total convert from couch potato to 6-day-a-week exerciser.  I move residences a lot AND I get bored easily, so I’ve tried MANY gyms and many different exercise classes, DVD series, and training programs.  I find that the more I change it up, the more I am excited about each day of exercising.  The BEST thing I’ve learned after years of struggling with myself?  Exercise is NOT a punishment for what you ate this weekend or the 5 lbs you gained on vacation; it is a GIFT to yourself each day–a way that you tell yourself you are worth the very best.  So, loving your workout is the key step to your integration of fitness into your lifestyle.  Each week, I hope to provide tips and recommend gadgets that will help you keep your workouts fresh!

TIP #1: Take out Outside!

I know how it is.  You find a workout you can tolerate, and you cling to it.  You climb on the treadmill or elliptical every day, throw a towel over the clock and let the time tick away.  I wager that if you shake things up, you’ll be able to enjoy your workout instead of just “tolerating” it.  This week, take it outside!  If you’re a runner or a walker, skip the treadmill, go outside, and pump some tunes–see where the wind takes you!  If you REALLY want to commune with nature, check out THIS gadget: http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/indexNA.htm

Not a runner or walker?  Check out these two suggestions for outdoor workouts!

1) Outdoor Yoga: You don’t have to be a yoga guru to take it outside.  Get yourself a good yoga DVD (my absolute FAVE is P90X’s Yoga X).  Pop it in your laptop, grab a mat (or not) and bring it to your backyard or even a local park.  There’s just something amazing about smelling the fresh air, feeling the grass between your toes and doing Yoga.  I defy you not to feel supremely refreshed afterward!

2) Outdoor Cardio/Resistance Circuit: You don’t need any fancy equipment to get a great outdoor workout.  All you need is your own body (and a stopwatch).  Here’s a great formula for a Cardio/Restance Circuit.  3 circuits. Each circuit contains 4 moves (45 sec per move), repeated 3 times with a 30 sec between each set.  So, all in all, you’ll need 12 moves, and you’ll do each set of 4 (a circuit) 3 times.  (If you love circuit workouts, I whole-heartedly recommend Beachbody’s INSANITY)

Circuit #1:M1, M2, M3, M4 (30 sec break) | M1, M2, M3, M4 (30 sec break) | M1, M2, M3, M4 (30 sec break)

Circuit #2:M5, M6, M7, M8 (30 sec break) | M5, M6, M7, M8 (30 sec break) | M5, M6, M7, M8 (30 sec break)

Circuit #3:M9, M10, M11, M12 (30 sec break) | M9, M10, M11, M12 (30 sec break) | M9, M10, M11, M12 (30 sec break)

There’s the basic formula.  Now, here are a few “moves” to throw in there.  I like to do 3 cardio and 1 resistance per set.  If you want to build extra muscle, alternate cardio moves with resistance moves–or do 3:1 in the other direction.  The point is: make this workout something you enjoy!  These are some suggestions, but feel free to get creative!

Cardio Moves: Jumping Jacks, Mountain Climbers, Jump Squats (or reg squats), Plyometric lunges (or regular lunges- alt sides), High knees, butt kicks, Jabs (punches- alt sides), uppercuts (punches- alt sides), hooks (punches-alt sides), back kicks (alt sides), side kicks (alt sides), front kicks (alt sides), Roundhouse kicks (alt sides), jump kicks (alt sides), ski jumps, forward/backward jumps, Run in place or fast feet

Resistance Moves: Standard Pushups, Wide Legs/Feet Pushups, Triangle Pushups, Walking Pushups (start w/ ft and hands together in ctr, walk r ft/hand out right, do a pushup, come back to ctr, then repeat left), Sphinx pushups (http://www.smart-strength-training.com/pushups-sphinx.html), Chaturanga Pushups to Downward Dog to plank, Tricep dips, Tricep dips-alt one foot off ground) | For the truly badass: Alligator walking pushups (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvhjI1eOeko), Plyometric pushups, One-handed pushups (alt sides)

Some of these moves can be crazy hard, but as Tony Horton says in P90X: “Do your best and forget the rest.”  Seriously.  Do NOT beat yourself up if you have to do pushups on your knees, or if you can only pump a few out the first few times you try.  The point is that each day you get stronger.  Stick with it, and someday you’ll rock those one-handed pushups!

That’s my tip for the week.  Shake things up and take it outside!  Let me know how it goes…

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