Tuesday, February 15, 2011

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Adding Variety to Your Workout Routine

Are you finding it hard to get excited about your exercise routine? Maybe it’s time to add some variety to your workouts. According to Melody Tortosa, co-owner of Next Level Personal Training Studio in Wellesley, the way to get the best results from working out is to change up your fitness program regularly. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, doing the same old exercise routine can be boring and make working out less fun. In addition, you might find that a fitness regimen may not be as effective as it used to be because our bodies get used to the same workout routines. “When you regularly change your workout,” says Tortosa, “you force your body to step it up.” Here are some ways local fitness experts suggest you can add variety to your current workout program.

one Get the Feedback of a Personal Trainer.
Just scheduling one or two sessions with a personal trainer can make all the difference, says Jeff Dosdall, manager of Bodyscapes in Wellesley. A good trainer can help you put together a new exercise routine, and you can get tips on working on specific muscle groups. But use good judgment when you are looking for a trainer, says Wendy Veale, owner of Weston Fitness In-Home Personal Fitness Training. “I can’t stress enough the importance of proper credentials in a field where there is no licensing yet,” she says.

two Take it Outside.
A less expensive way to get trainer results without hiring a personal trainer is to take an outside boot camp class. According to Andy Provost, owner of Focused on Fitness in Natick, boot camp offers motivated people the chance to work with one trainer and a group of participants. Typical sessions include running drills, old-time calisthenics, core exercises, yoga, and Pilates. “The biggest benefit,” says Provost, “is the fresh air and the many location possibilities available to the class.”

three Start Small.
You don’t have to make huge changes to your fitness program to see results. For example, if you like to run on the treadmill, you can run a longer distance one day and shorter, harder sprints the next. Or you might want to consider doing more repetitions if you lift weights. You could also focus on cross training by doing a number of different exercises, like running, biking, and swimming, as part of your workout routine.

four Add Weight Training to Your Aerobic Exercise.
While aerobic activity has many benefits, Tortosa notes that the best way to change your body composition is to add weight training to your workout routine. Nothing else will build muscle and increase lean body mass like using weights, she says. This is especially important for pre-menopausal and menopausal women, since women especially tend to lose muscle mass after they turn 40.

five Try Some New Exercise Trends, like Barsculpt.™
This class, which is offered in the Pilates studio at Body in Motion in Wellesley, has been extremely popular says owner Mary Guarente. Barsculpt™ is a fusion of yoga, Pilates, and weight training, and uses a ballet bar to provide a total body workout. A complaint about Pilates is that it does not include much upper-body work. This class combines upper- and lower-body exercises as well as the chance to stretch muscles between sets.

six Spice it Up.
Another trendy class you might want to try is Zumba®. A one-hour Zumba® class combines Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves. This
calorie-burning program features interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms and resistance training are combined. Classes are offered at the Fitness Club for Women in Wellesley and through the Wellesley Recreation Department.

seven Mix it Up.
Several local health clubs, such as Focused on Fitness and Next Level, are offering aerobic circuit training classes that intersperse aerobic activities with weight training. An hour-long class breaks each activity into two- or three-minute intervals for maximum impact.

eight Get Back to Basics.
On the other hand, some fitness professionals have seen a movement away from trendy programs and back to basic exercises and weight training. Ed Carp, owner of Physical Ed’s Fitness Studio in Natick, says instead of people trying a lot of new weight-training techniques — such as Plyometrics, which involves doing weight exercises with a lot of speed — he’s seen an increased demand from clients who want to learn to just use dumbbells and barbells, while learning proper form. He says many trendy weight-bearing exercises, especially those that require explosive movements, can put a strain on joints.

nine Take a H.I.I.T.
Leanne Lalor, owner of TeamMates Fitness, Inc. in Wellesley, suggests adding variety to a workout routine by adding H.I.I.T, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This involves using short intervals of either cardio or body weight exercises at a maximum intensity for very brief periods of time — 20 seconds of exercise with a 10 second rest in between. She encourages clients to cycle through that for anywhere from 9 to 20 minutes — pushing themselves to maximum intensity. This type of exercise is especially suited to people who are limited on time.

ten Join an Intramural Sports Team.
It’s a great time to go back to that sport you played in high school or college. There are a number of options available for local adults who want to participate in team sports like hockey and soccer. To learn about local leagues or pick-up games, check out greaterbostonicehockey.com and mass-soccer.org.

 

 

© 2011 Elm Bank Media | Beth Furman, Publisher | Beth@ElmBankMedia.com