Words by Chatel Theagene
We’re well into the new year and chances are, a few of the health-focused resolutions you loosely clung to have pretty much quieted down. Some may be out of sight completely. We’re guessing that thoughts of heading back to the gym, and the monotony of keeping the go-hard, kind of grinding schedule never officially took flight, right? Well if this is a situation where the lure of the gym has completely lost it’s appeal, maybe it’s time to think outside the box, and get creative!
Truth is, some of the more beneficial workouts these days are often done far away from the gym, and have found homes in alternative camps. More and more high-profile trainers are advising clients to take up an organized sport to help stay motivated, but more importantly, increase cardio drive without the added stress or pressure to commit to one activity. Basically, you finally have the option of actually having fun while getting in a good workout.
We spoke with certified health coach and founder of Gym Hooky, Ariel Belgrave for best tips for those who are ready to re-enter the realm of active fitness.
THE START BUTTON
No matter your workout plan, motivation is a major key. To kick things into gear, “set short-term goals that are specific and that you can easily track (i.e. walking 10 minute a day, increasing to 3 days a week),” says Belgrave. “Making a plan will help you develop a routine and commit. Think of the days and times you could do the activity or sport, like first thing in the morning, during your lunch break at work, after dinner or on a Saturday afternoon.”
“Find a light stretching routine that works for you to loosen up some muscles,” she advises. “Combined with walking, light stretches, calisthenics, sit-ups, and push-ups (we’re talking small sets of 20 situps and 5 push-ups) can be a great way to get the body in shape for more intensive activity.”
Taking part in an organized sport is probably the easiest way to ensure a commitment to your fitness goals. Social interaction when competing in sports like a quick, high intensity basketball game after work with a few coworkers, or a touch football or softball game on the weekend can increase chances of losing weight minus the fear of getting bored.
AVOID THE RUT
If you’re already prone to a minimal attention span when it comes to workouts, take the proactive approach by getting a personal trainer. Not only do they provide the strongest boost of motivation, but the accountability factor will always be front and center. “They will not only provide you with workout guidance, but will also help you set and achieve your fitness goals.”
And if you’re just too pressed for time, bogged down by work meetings, still try and squeeze in a few office workouts or carve out a few early mornings to incorporate a few high intensity workout sessions (HIIT).
EASE INTO IT
“A good way to ease into becoming more active is to try a new physical activity for at least twenty minutes a day. Whether it’s going for a jog or taking a local class, stay at it long enough to get your heart rate up to feel the benefits of your new active lifestyle.” Live in an area where there’s sunshine more often than snowflakes year round? Lucky you! Biking to work or even around your neighborhood just got easier and more fun. The Commuter Bike business has hit a surge in recent years, and investing in the proper gearcan also help you stay motivated.
You may also want to consider skipping the long workout train altogether and opt-in for short bursts of internal training. Science may be on your side for this break. Exercise scientists recently concluded an extensive study praising the comparable benefits between longer extensive workouts versus short intervals of exercise. “In this new experiment, in fact, 60 seconds of strenuous exertion proved to be as successful at improving health and fitness as three-quarters of an hour of moderate exercise,” explains Gretchen Reynolds, a writer over at the New York Times.
In other words, if you’re game, getting in at a high intensity workout that lasts less than five minutes, can give offer you the same results as a routine that pulls in over 45 minutes. Got it? Now, no more excuses!