Between all the new fitness fads that surface on social media, sometimes even us runners lose site of our cardio love and using it for the base of every workout. Certified Trainer and Precor Global Education Manager Erica Tillinghast says having this base is essential for two reasons: You always have an effective routine to fall back on and keep you conditioned between fads, and it provides important heart-pumping action that can provide fundamental strength, balance and core benefits that a lot of today’s fad-based classes leave out. Here are some ways to make sure you’re still getting the pumper going before heading to your favorite strength training class:
Add your program to your fridge, phone calendar or anywhere else you check regularly. It’s easy to let yourself off the hook if you don’t have a plan. Setting up your workouts at the beginning of the week, or month even, will give you a sense of direction when you get to the gym. Make sure you not only establish the date and time, but also what you plan to do during that time (HIIT workout, recovery run, lactate threshold workout, etc.). This will give you the most direction and confidence heading into the gym. Setting up workout reminders in your calendar will also make sure that you don’t double book that time with something else.
Work out with a friend to create accountability and camaraderie. This is a great way to get more enjoyment out of your workouts and be held accountable to getting to the gym. The key is to find a buddy that matches your training interests and is as invested in your commitment to fitness as you are. You can even sign up for a free app like Everymove, Suunto Movescount, Nike+ or other community-based exercise tracking apps so you can see what the other person is up to on the days you are not training together.
Commit at least 10-15 minutes of cardio on a treadmill, elliptical, etc., before attending your favorite exercise class. Hopping on your favorite cardio before starting a class is a great way to get your mind and body ready to be an active participant in the exercise space. A light to moderate warm-up will get you moving and help you identify any areas of soreness or fatigue so you can best pace yourself during your class. With busy schedules it’s not uncommon to rush into the exercise room at the last minute and dive into a class—starting out on the cardio floor will give you time to get in the zone for a great workout.
When you work out at home, membership fees, travel time/traffic, makeup and “gym hours” never apply. Sometimes life keeps you away from the gym—your car breaks down, your child is sick, or maybe it’s icy on the winter roads. Having a space in your home where you can get in a workout—either brief or lengthy—is an important way to stay on track and not get discouraged when life happens. Home gyms may include everything from a few simple bands for strength and flexibility training to suspension trainers or more traditional equipment pieces, such as treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes. If your training has a purpose, anything will be better than nothing!