Spring Train like a Pro Athlete

by Kyle Holloman, Certified Personal Trainer

After a long winter of reduced activity, you might be ready to kick your workout into gear for the warm months ahead. Why not spring train like a pro athlete? Here are a few training tips for getting into superb shape.*

Train at high intensity. Any conditioning program that you do should include high-intensity training (H.I.T.). H.I.T. stimulates more muscle fibers than your basic cardiovascular work. High-intensity work is done for short periods of time, not for a long duration. It can be as simple as alternating a one-minute walk with a one-minute run for 30 minutes, or could incorporate props and equipment such as kettlebells, battling ropes or rowing machines. 

Include speed and agility drills. When getting back into a new fitness program or sports activity, you should practice speed and agility training to improve footwork and explosiveness. Agility drills can be performed in a variety of ways, such as with a speed ladder to teach rapid changes of direction that are necessary in baseball and many sports today. There are several patterns that you can use to travel through a speed ladder, but the most simple form of ladder work is an in/out drill. This is when you step one foot in each square, similar to a running motion except you’re utilizing quick feet. I suggest that most beginners start with 1-2 sets of these drills. More experienced athletes can do as many as 2-4 sets. One other way to increase speed is through plyometric jumps, such as box jumps, depth jumps and standing jumps. Not only will these exercises help you to move faster, but you will improve your strength, build explosive power and blast calories. 

Spring clean your nutrition. Your nutrition changes as you move outside more, and let’s face it, after a long winter you’re ready to be outdoors! When exercising outside, be sure to up your water intake to avoid dehydration and consume beverages containing electrolytes as you start to sweat. Coconut water is a great, healthy source of electrolytes. Avoid using sugar to keep you going, and be sure to eat plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats in moderation.

Spring training like the major leaguers can be a great break from the monotony of traditional exercises, and changing your surroundings to the outdoors is great for our physical and mental health. Spring awakens all of us to new growth, new possibilities, new ways of eating smarter and exercising more. What are you waiting for? I’s time to take on this seasonal springboard to a healthier, happier life!

*Based on your current health status, you should consult your doctor or a health and fitness professional before taking on a new fitness program.