Add Some Madness Into Your Workout

by Scott Farina, Certified Personal Trainer

March can be the perfect time to add a little “madness” into your workout. New Year’s resolutions often start to fade in spring, and in order to push through these post-resolution plateaus we must keep our workouts fresh! Shake things up with these mad exercise tips that will get you ready for spring break and beyond.

Get crazy together. This is the easiest tip of all. If you are currently working out by yourself, get a partner. It doesn’t matter if it’s a coworker, friend, significant other or a random buddy you met in your group fitness class; simply having someone to challenge you to work harder will make a huge difference in your workouts. People stick to their workouts longer if they know someone is counting on them to show up.

“STOP” the insanity. No, don’t dig up your old Susan Powter DVDs; the” stop” here refers to stopwatch. Most people do a certain exercise for a set number of repetitions. That’s great, but it gets stale and boring after a while. Try putting a timer to what you do; there are numerous apps that you can use during your workouts. Two of my favorite timed workouts are Tabata Intervals and 60-second circuit training. A Tabata interval is 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. Complete eight rounds of an exercise, rest for one minute, and then repeat. For the circuit training workout, choose five exercises, complete each one for 60 seconds, finish all five back-to-back, and then rest for one minute. Keep the exercises simple; squats, push-ups, sit-ups, lunges and planks can be highly effective when completed in this style.

Turn up the intensity. It may sound like a gimmick, but high-intensity interval training (H.I.T.) allows you to burn a large amount of calories, and extra calories post-exercise in less than half the time of your normal workout. The concept of H.I.T. is fairly simple: you warm up, and then you do an intense burst of cardio, followed by a full recovery period. For example, you could hop on a bike, warm up for five minutes, and then perform about six 30-second efforts of very hard pedaling, followed by 90 seconds of easy pedaling between each 30-second effort. Once you’ve completed each of the hard efforts, you’re done.

Get heavy. A great contrast to lifting for high repetitions is to lift something very heavy for low repetitions. This is outside of most people’s comfort zone and for that reason is rarely done. However, heavy lifting makes you stronger and strength is the foundation of performance, durability and confidence. Again, simple exercises are best: squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, pull-ups, etc. 

Be odd. This one is short: swap out your barbells and dumbbells for oddly shaped equipment. Grab a kettlebell, sandbell, sandbag, medicine ball or anything that does not have an easy handle to hold, and see how differently they work your body! Now do your squats, lunges or sit-ups, or simply walk around with them in hand. Mixing up your routine is the best possible way to get fast results. 

Incorporating  one or two or all of these ideas into your normal routine will provide just enough “madness” for your next workout!