Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Sledding... And Other Creative Workout Ideas

Even though I work in a fitness center, I LOVE trying unique and "non-fitness center-y" modes of working out.  I actually spent a good deal of 2012 crossing things off my bucket list when it came to experiencing new ways to be active (check out recaps #1 and #2 for a rundown) and don't see myself stopping anytime soon :)

I feel lucky to work in a pretty cool gym that has almost anything you could need for a workout.  As a result, I have lots of training tools at my disposal when working with clients to keep it interesting.

A few fun "fitness toys" that have crept into my clients' programs throughout the years (as well as my own) are:

  1. sled
  2. prowler 
  3. ropes  

I like using these so much, I decided to design a class around them for a fitness event we held this week at work.  I was able to introduce this type of training to members who aren't familiar with it and put them through a good morning sweat session.

Prowler (left) and sled (right)... AWESOME workout

These are great workout tools for many reasons... easy to use, excellent for overall conditioning and can be tailored towards any fitness goal - fat loss, performance enhancement, strength, etc.  Since they are much more of an intense workout than regular cardio, you get a better workout in LESS time too.

One of the participants mentioned to me after class that she would never have thought to try these exercises in her workout.  She said it was so much fun that she's definitely going to include them moving forward.

I forgot to take a pic of my ropes so here are some randoms doing a little demonstration.
It reminded me of something similar that I hear every so often from gym members... they do the same things over and over because they aren't sure how to switch things up, it gets SO BORING and they start despising their workouts.

Bored with your workout?  Time to change it up!

Now, I realize many people may not have access to a sled, prowler or ropes.  Not many gyms have even one of these let alone all three, which is a shame because some of the absolute best belly-fat busting workouts can be done with them.

The good news is - you can add creativity to a workout without ANY equipment.  Sure, the bells and whistles are fun but there are other ways to think outside the box and I highly encourage you to do so for your next workout...

  • Pouring rain preventing you from running outside? 
    • Instead of NOT doing anything, go somewhere with a decent stairwell and alternate between running up every step and every other step, using the walk back down as your active recovery.
  • Working late and can't get to the gym?  
    • Go home, throw on some music, push the coffee table aside and do a bodyweight circuit in your living room! Pushups, lunges, squat jumps, crunches and jumping jacks... 3 sets of 10-12 reps each, resting when you need it.  Boom, DONE.  
    • Or try this home workout that I created during a snowstorm last year but perfect for any time of year!
  • Woke up early, made it to the gym but not at ALL motivated to do anything (or just not sure what to do)?  
    • Ask a trainer to show you some exercises using a piece of equipment you've never tried before and shake things up a little (i.e. kettlebells, TRX or the cable machine)
  • Always run the same 3-mile loop at the same pace each time?
    • Add in some fartleks or timed sprints to enhance the cardiovascular workout you're getting.
Fitness isn't just about dumbbells and treadmills... trying new things is part of the fun! No one should "despise working out"!  That's just wrong. I mean, sure it's hard work (if you're doing it correctly) but keep in mind that there are soooo many options for getting in a good workout that if you don't like one method, why do it?  Move on to something else!

Need ideas on things to try?  Leave a comment and let me know!  

One of my specialties is getting creative with workouts, so I have plenty of suggestions ;)

Have you ever tried  the prowler or sled?

How do YOU like to switch up your workouts??

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