Most people dissociate working out from the rest of their lives. And this is often done on purpose because one of the few times a day a person can release energy in a positive, beneficial way is by hitting the gym. But in separating your lifestyle from pushing dumbbells during a chest exercise or from lapping the five mile mark on the track, you lose the motivation that surrounds you in your daily work, social interaction, and passions.
So what if you approached your daily dose of stamina a little bit differently and applied many of the same habits you have formed outside the “gym office” to your workout goals?
If all you do is ride the bike or hit the elliptical, attack monotony by exploring other ways to heat your muscles. Speaking from personal experience, I used to limit my cardio to either a stationary bike for 45 minutes or the treadmill for an hour. What I noticed after a few months is that my body never changed. My muscles didn’t become more defined or become any leaner. I just stayed the same.
But now I tackle working out in a whole new fashion. Within one week I may run a few days, both long and short distances. I may use a spin bike instead of a stationary bike because that contraption kicks your ass. Maybe the next day I’ll throw in some jumping; rope, jacks, and benches. I may even go for a long walk. Many may think this a waste of time, but I would say “not so." Walking long distances requires less of one muscle but perhaps more of another, all of which is entirely different from the muscle formula for running, swimming, or biking. Plus, walking allows you to multitask. You can easily read, catch up with news, or enjoy being outside!
My body never knows what my mind is going to decide, so it has to work harder to adjust to the tactic I challenge it with. And the best way to trick your mind is by not falling into a routine.
As I reflect my cardio decisions on how sore my body is or on my moods, I’ll incorporate my lifting regiment also. And there is no set schedule needed here. All you need is a mind that doesn’t want routine, which is more common than not in the way we all live today. Just think a highly mixed workout plan is like food. You don’t want to eat the same things every day because it’s boring. Sometimes you want a salad, maybe a burger. Other times you want some yogurt with a chicken sandwich for lunch. Just like your eating impulses, your workout mentality depends on how you feel.
Beyond a varied training, you will need some inspiration to revamp your training. And there couldn’t be a more perfect time to find inspiration with the Rio Olympics coming up on August 5th. An epic league of athletes will descend on Brazil and present you with all their stories, gifts, and developed talents. Sometimes the best way to work harder is by wanting to be more like others, and I think Rio will be a pretty good start for that.
For me, my workout inspiration has come from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Which is probably hilarious to you because you are thinking, how does a 5’ 3’’ girl look up to a 6’ 2’’ Austrian seven-time Mr. Olympia champion? (My head can only tilt so far) I don’t really have or need a reason because I admired him for his work ethic, adrenaline, and vivacity. And more so, his discipline and commitment to a healthy lifestyle didn’t end with how he approached his training but affected how a whole generation lived and exercised. It is fair to say that he forever changed the way we think about “working out."
So this August, I challenge you to find your Arnold Schwarzenegger. What athlete do you associate yourself with? Whose story is the most interesting? And what characteristics do you see in them that you would also like to see in yourself?
*Content Provided by Melissa Jannuzzi *