Getting a head start on your fitness training for 2012 can make a huge difference in how you handle the holidays.
Your training routine should never become stagnant, especially when times are busiest. If you haven’t switched up your workouts in a while with the types of exercises you do or the way you do them, now is the perfect time to start. The body adapts extremely fast, so keep it guessing.
Start implementing some of these guidelines right away, and see which additions work best with your existing routine. These tips will show you the most efficient ways to train, put some foundations in place, and show you how to mix it all up. By the time January is here, you’ll already have a new plan so you can take your training to the next level.
The deadlift, bench press and squat are your foundational exercises. They’re great for strength, learning proper form and all-around muscular development. Once you’ve mastered them, add to them! If you like to deadlift, add an upright row and a military press. That’s one rep. If you love doing pull-ups, do a leg raise at the top of every rep. Better yet, do a leg raise at the top and bottom of every rep. You’ll get extremely strong and defined at the same time, provided your nutrition matches your routine. Some of these exercises are advanced, so always make sure your form is close to perfect — that’s why the foundations are so important.
Small enough to travel with and set up right in your hotel room. Don’t worry about having extra-high ceilings! Actually the goal is not to bounce as high as you can but to apply enough force and control so you don’t go too high. Mini-trampoline routines are excellent for the joints. This type of workout is also great to cleanse the lymphatic system. Plus, it’s fun.
Use a Kettlebell
A not-so-secret secret of Russian strongmen, kettlebells will increase your strength just by using them for a similar movement as you would a dumbbell. If you use 30-pound dumbbells for front raises, start doing single-arm kettlebell swings with 30 lbs. In four to five weeks, your shoulders will be able to handle heavier dumbbells because of the core strength you’ve built. And yes, women, especially, should use kettlebells, almost exclusively.
If you’re not training in relation to the specific activities you routinely perform every day, then you’re risking an injury. Once you start mimicking your daily activities in the gym, you want to strengthen the muscles you most commonly use, and strengthen the muscles that are weakest or overcompensating. Then those same daily activities won’t take so much out of you anymore. If you’re an athlete, move in the gym the way you move while playing your sport. If you walk all day, practice walking while holding heavy dumbbells at your sides. If you sit at a desk all day, strengthen your posture, neck and back. Practice relaxation exercises. If you’re an analyst and your job requires your left brain to be on overdrive, learn meditation. And if you’re a pit crew girl, then start doing core work and throwing around hot tires in the gym!
Arnold, Lou and all the old-school pro bodybuilders knew how beneficial training barefoot can be. It strengthens the nervous system and doesn’t mess up your foot alignment. Being directly connected to the earth can also give you more power. Go outside and get your feet dirty.
Here’s another nervous system strengthener. Training blindfolded also awakens the mind-body connection in beginners, and for intermediate-level athletes, can deepen it. When a sense is taken away, such as sight, the other senses become heightened. Instead of looking at your form in the mirror, you’ll have to decide what feels right. Reflexes and posture will improve as a result. Get a partner and try it.
More Dynamic Training Instead of Traditional Cardio
Skip the treadmill and do some squat, clean and presses. That’s one exercise. You’ll be burning more calories than you thought possible, and in a shorter period of time. Next is squat, clean, press and jumps!
Make It Fun
The term “training” sounds much more like work than fun, but it doesn’t have to be. Mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding, skiing, waterskiing and kayaking will all keep you in great shape if you do them consistently enough, and they’re fun activities you can do with your friends and family. If you love just getting in the gym and lifting weights, give yourself something to look forward to besides just the results. Listen to new music, find a new partner or try a different gym every couple of weeks. Whatever you have to do to make your training fun and exciting, get creative and do it. Experiment. Discipline can only take you so far. It’s dedication that gets you to your goal, which is a combination of discipline, interest, purpose, and fun.