The days are getting shorter. The nights, warmer. The birds, livelier.
That all adds up to one thing: spring is in the air.
But spring isn’t all fun in the sun. The warm season brings with it a slew of chores, from yard work to long-deferred car maintenance to — perhaps most importantly — a renewed commitment to personal fitness.
Someone has to get that beach bod in shape, and that someone is you. Here’s what you can do to turbocharge your spring workout without breaking the bank or dissolving in a puddle of sweat.
- Start Off Slow
You can’t go from zero to all-out overnight. Re-enter your spring workout routine slowly, a few steps at a time.
Start with a comfortable, familiar routine. That might mean running 30 minutes on the treadmill, hitting the pool for a quick 500 meters followed by a short lifting session, or cycling around town for an hour three afternoons per week. Over time, you’ll build toward peak late-summer condition; for now, the onus is on avoiding preventable overuse injuries.
- Choose Workout Wear Wisely
Workout wear can really make a difference. If you’re not convinced, try out any of the best compression shorts on the market — and prepare to be amazed. Compression shorts provide a host of benefits for the wearer, including reduced lactic acid buildup, less chafing, increased blood flow and more. Other types of workout apparel, from sweat-wicking underlayers to high-tech support soles, have their own advantages. Before you venture into the maw of workout season, why not update your wardrobe?
- Keep a Workout Journal
How else will you track those gains? During or following each workout, summarize your achievements: reps, route, distance, elevation, speed, intensity, whatever metrics apply. Or use a wearable device that automatically collects this data for you.
- Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
Don’t settle for the same boring routine day in and day out. Cross training keeps things interesting and helps prevent injury by working out different muscle groups on different days. Hop on the bike one day, go for a run the next, jump in the pool the third, lift the fourth — whatever you have to do to keep things interesting and safe, do it.
- Set Concrete Goals and Enroll Early in Later-Season Events
Before the season starts, know where you want to be when it ends. Enroll in summer fitness events — 5Ks, marathons, triathlons — early on, so that you have a tangible goal to work toward. Set realistic time and distance goals, using past high-water marks as baselines for where you want to end up.
Sunshine, Here We Come
Tuning up your spring workout is just one of many responsibilities you’ll no doubt undertake as winter turns to spring. Just remember not to take the warm season too seriously — or spend so much time working on long-delayed projects that you forget to smell the roses every once in a while. They’re only in season for so long, after all.