Clean Up Your Workout

Over the next month or so, I will be posting on the theme of spring cleaning. This will include cleaning up your home, your diet, your mindset, your relationships, your career, your closets, and much more! Today, we will discuss your workout.

Is your workout working for you? Or are you working hard and getting nowhere?

Before you can assess your current workout, take a moment to consider your goals. What do you want to gain from working out? Some possibilities include:

1) increased strength
2) increased flexibility
3) increased agility or coordination
4) increased functional fitness (the ability to perform daily tasks better or more easily)
5) decreased stress levels
6) weight loss
7) fun!!!!

There are many other goals you might wish to achieve, specific to certain sports or practices. You might wish to improve your tennis backhand or run a half marathon. Take a moment to write down your fitness-related goals.

Then take a look at your current workout. How does it rate? Do you believe you are achieving any of your goals?

I personally believe that number 7 is crucial. If you're not having fun while you're working out, if the whole thing is a real drag, then it is unlikely you will stick with it for long enough to reap any benefits.

And if weight loss is your primary goal, you must consider your diet in addition to your workout. The most vigorous and challenging workout in the world cannot overcome a crappy diet. So if you expect to eat as much as you please, just because you went to class once a week, you are going to be very disappointed in your workout!

Other considerations when evaluating your current workout include:

*Are you sore and exhausted for days after each workout? Muscle soreness might indicate gains in strength, but constant soreness accompanied by insomnia, exhaustion, depression, injury, and/or illness probably indicates overtraining. You need to do LESS. Rest more and recover fully before each workout. The older we get, the more recovery time we need for healing.

*Do you dread your workout? Or often "forget" to go to your workout? Are you bored when you do show up? Is your workout very repetitive or exactly the same week to week? If you answered YES to all of this, you might need to mix it up more. Try something completely different. Your body and mind will respond positively to something new!

*Do you find balance in your workout? In other words, do you work both sides of your body in a symmetrical fashion? Do you make gains in strength AND flexibility? Do you move both fast AND slow? Does it get your blood pumping AND calm your nerves? If not, you might need to add an additional element to your workout which helps it become more balanced. Our bodies need all of the above in order to be fit.

This spring, I suggest one area where you might clean up is your workout. If it's just not working for you, throw it in the trash, or possibly recycle it! Seek out the elements missing from your workout or discover something completely new. Challenge your body and mind and reap the rewards of greater fitness!