Spring is finally here, so it is time to check in with our bodies. Did you spend the entire winter hibernating? Just scale back a bit? Or have you never been a regular exerciser, but want to start? It is never too late to get a spring back in your step and get in shape. Here’s how to start!
For the novice, do safe level 1 moves
Duration: one of the best ways to start a spring workout is to start slow and isolate muscle groups with toning workouts for the whole body for 45 minutes every other day, or for just the upper body for 30 minutes and another day do lower body for 30 minutes, and steady state cardio for as long as you can every other day or every third day for the first two-four weeks, four-six times a week.
The moves: Muscle toning should be done every other day to let muscles recover. If you have access to a gym, focus on isolating machines. For example, a seated shoulder press machine, a seated abductor/adductor thigh machine and many others allow you to sit and just work one area of the body. This will keep your workout safe and start to build muscles before doing standing balance challenges and multitasking toning moves (see level 3). If you are working out from home, start with seated arm moves using light barbells (ex. seated biceps curls), then standing squats and lunges holding onto a wall. Also, kneeling push-ups work several areas of the arms and the core, so work on doing them every other day and adding on the number of reps. Do regular crunches, side lying oblique crunches and cross crunches and spinal extensions for the lower and upper back.
For cardio: Start with walking or jogging for 10 minutes, then work up to jogging for 20 minutes. If you prefer an elliptical or a bike, slowly start increasing your duration and speed. You can do cardio on the days you don’t do toning, or do both on the same days if you have the energy.
For someone who just hibernated a little too much this winter, but used to work out in warmer weather, your muscles have memory so you can start at level two.
Duration: Do cardio for 30–40 minutes every other day, and do combo muscle workouts for 30–60 minutes every other day, 4–6 days a week.
Level 2 muscle moves: Once you are stronger, a novice can up the weights and move on to combo moves that work the upper and lower body together. For someone who just took the winter off, you start at this level as well. At this level, you can get rid of the gym machines and do multitasking toning moves and increase the weight. These include plie squats with over head shoulder presses, lunges with biceps curls, calf raises with triceps overhead presses, bent over glute leg lifts with upper back rows, and full push-ups. Work the low back with supermans and add more complicated abdominal moves. Start with a weight of around 5–8 pounds with 8 reps, once you can do 15 reps easily, then increase the weight to 10–12-15 pounds and go back to 8–10 reps. Once you get to 15 reps with 10–15 pounds, move onto to level 3.
Once you have moved through both levels, it is time for a kick-butt workout like the NikkiFitness Booty Camp DVD.
Level 3 moves combine muscle and cardio in intervals and do harder combo moves but cut the workout time to just 30 minutes! You do your multitasking toning moves with balance challenges for 3 minutes, then 3 minute plyometric cardio intervals where you go medium effort for one minute, hard effort for the second minute, then recover with medium to easy effort on the 3rd minute. Because these moves are intense and the transitions are fast, you burn more calories and up the metabolism.
Duration: You’ll get your booty camp workouts with muscle and cardio on the same day, then on alternate days you can also add cross training classes like dance, yoga, pilates, spinning, swimming and long runs/road races because your body will be ready to take on more and more challenges. Work out 6 days a week….
….And you’ll be ready to show some summer skin!