Ah, spring! It has a way of reviving our goals and motivation, doesn’t it? For a lot of us, the season of new beginnings starts at home with cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of the clutter of the last year. But why stop there? Spring is the perfect time to assess your habits at the gym, too. You can improve both your experience and fitness results by spring-cleaning these five habits from your workout routine.
Proper form is the foundation of any workout. Regardless of your experience level, paying attention to your form prevents injury and allows you to get the most out of every exercise. And it’s not just about positioning your body correctly. You want to make sure your range of motion and breathing are correct, too. Not sure what to look for? Ask one of our staff for help!
While it’s important to warm up before any physical activity, it might be time to reevaluate how you start your workouts. Used correctly, static stretching is a great way to increase your flexibility, but it shouldn’t be how you start your warm-up at the gym. Several studies conclude that to prepare your body for physical activity properly, you need to begin with dynamic stretches. A combination of walking lunges, high knees, arm circles, or torso twists will increase blood flow to your muscles and literally warm them up before your workout.
NOT SWITCHING IT UP
Finding a workout routine that you enjoy isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important to change it up. Stick with the same thing for too long and your muscles will adapt, which means you could wind up on a workout plateau. If you find yourself being a creature of habit at the gym, chances are you will also find your motivation decreasing along with your progress. To avoid this, make sure to change your routine every four to six weeks. We make that easy with dozens of dynamic group classes, as well as personal training programs. Ask us how you can switch it up!
Everyone wants to leave the gym with the satisfaction of knowing they showed up and challenged themselves. That said, it’s important to know and respect your limits. Overtraining, such as lifting too heavy or running too fast, can not only hinder real progress but can also lead to serious injury. Overtraining also looks like exercising too long or too often, so be intentional about taking rest days. Don’t forget: rest is an important part of your fitness. And if you do feel the need to move, try incorporating “active rest” activities such as yoga or walking.
SITTING BETWEEN SETS
As we mentioned earlier, rest is an important part of fitness, but it is crucial to keep your muscles warm during your workout. Much like dynamic stretches and active recovery, engaging in active rest in between sets will optimize your time at the gym. We recommend marching in place or light stretching to keep your blood flowing as you get ready for your next maximum effort.
BONUS TIP: COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
It can be easy to fall into the comparison trap at the gym when there are usually other people around that can be used as a metric for your own progress. But remember that there are so many factors that go into each individual fitness journey that no two paths ever look the same. Nor should they! Teddy Roosevelt said it best: comparison is the thief of joy. Instead, focus on how good it feels to move your body and celebrate the milestones that make the journey uniquely yours.