Spring is a wonderful time of the year: The whole world hits refresh! It’s a great season to clean out closets, build new habits, and get out and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. With this renewed enthusiasm, it’s also an ideal time to put the fire back into your fitness regimen. This week I count down my springtime checklist for better workouts and a healthier, happier, more attractive you.
#5 Update your workout drag.
Still wearing grandpa’s old cotton t-shirts and baggy shorts? Why not replace worn-out duds with sexy shorts and tanks in lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics? While you’re shopping, make new sneakers a priority. All exercise requires a strong, supportive base, so if you feel like splurging, do it on shoes. If you can, invest in both a cross-trainer for lifting and a solid, durable running shoe for cardio work. Your feet are worth the expense.
#4 Clean out your cupboards.
Candy, cookies, pretzels, and chips add nothing to your life except empty calories and unwanted inches on your waistline. Processed meats and cheeses, white bread and potatoes, and high-fat condiments like mayonnaise and bottled salad dressings are even worse for your health. Try shopping at an outdoor farmers market for fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Supplement those staples with fresh cuts of meat and fish from your local butcher, fishmonger, or grocery. Eating healthier can help you feel better, live longer and look sexier.
#3 Shake up your fitness routine.
If you have a particular body part you want to tone or build, find some online workouts focused on that area, and add a few new exercises to your routine. Keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for articles and products that might be helpful, and be open to feedback and suggestions from friends. You may even want to team up with a like-minded workout bud. Change gyms, if necessary. Mix things up with outdoor sports like swimming, tennis, golf, or running. Hire a personal trainer, take a class, sign up for a race — anything! Just keep your exercise fun, challenging, and a consistent part of your daily life.
#2 You do you.
Training and shaping your body is a lifetime project that requires effort, work, and patience to accomplish great things. Customizing a plan to suit your own abilities and preferences is key. If you loathe counting calories, focus instead on portion control. Despise the idea of dieting? Turn your attention to developing a creative nutritional plan. Don’t have endless hours to spend in the gym? Start with lifting weights twice a week for 20 minutes. Do some power walking with a co-worker at lunchtime. There are myriad opportunities to slide into a health and fitness routine, make it your own, and keep it consistent.
#1 Check up before you tune up.
Only about 20 percent of Americans see their doctor for a yearly exam. Sure, we all hate waiting rooms — not to mention, a bossy doctor reading us the riot act. But high cholesterol, out-of-control blood pressure and vitamin deficiencies can be silent killers over time. So, be sure to have an expert take a look under the hood before you hit the gas on your exciting new spring fitness regimen!