Finally, in the midwest and other usually colder areas of the country, spring is starting to happen. Well, maybe not yet, as we have another storm looming. But spring is coming. Sometime. While this was one of the worst winters in the midwest, it won't necessarily mean that our early spring will be warm. Unfortunately, nature's not always fair. But sometime it's going to warm up. So when the weather changes for the better in three-fourths of the country, it might be time to change your workouts. You can do things that take advantage of the warmer weather coming.
1. Get Outside
Get OutsideFor most of us who’ve been bundled up and inside in the winter and early spring, it’s time to get outdoors. Okay, so maybe we’re not lifting outside at Muscle Beach in Venice, but you might be getting outside doing something physical and fun in addition to your weight training. And that’s a good thing. Whether you’re walking, running, riding a bike, playing golf or kicking a soccer ball around, some physical activity other than the weights is always good, and it’s doubly good if it’s outside. You can breathe better, your skin and body will breathe better and thank you for it. Plus it can be a pleasant way to add to your conditioning.
2. Start Getting Lean
For many of us in the colder climes, we eat more during the winter. This is not only psychological, it’s often a biological reaction. It’s definitely swimming upstream to undertake a super-definition diet in the middle of a frigid winter. Through hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution, most of us have our bodies genetically programmed to store a bit more fat in the winter, and though some dispute this, there is biology that backs this up. The thing you don’t want to do—and we hope you haven’t—is to take this fat storage principle to the hilt by overeating or bulking up in the winter. Bulking up, by the way, should have gone out of fashion years ago, but somehow it hasn’t.
Anyway, if you want to get lean for the summer or even get defined for bodybuilding shows, you should start getting lean now—don’t wait. You will want to pursue this gradually, even if you’ve put on too much weight over the winter; again, the best way to get lean is gradually. Warmer weather, more daylight (another biological signal to become more active), getting outside, and maybe getting a look in the mirror that says you ate too much this winter are motivators. Use them.
3. Step Up The Pace
Increase the pace of your workouts. This doesn’t mean to do the exercises faster, but start cutting your rest times down between sets. You will burn some fat, but mostly you will improve your conditioning. Too many people are still eating way too much in the winter, then lifting slow and heavy. Often these same people wonder why they aren’t improving, losing bodyfat and getting leaner if that’s their goal. Yes, of course, nutrition is important, critical even for getting lean. But pick up the pace of your workouts. Work at a faster tempo, rest only a minute or less between sets, or do supersets. A faster tempo will be more challenging, help you focus your attention and concentration more, and you’ll get in better shape.
4. Cut Down On Your Eating
This is related to all the other things mentioned, but it deserves another mention. Eat less. Yes, you should improve your nutrition all the way around, but chances are you ate more than you should in the winter. Don’t think you’re just going to burn it all off with longer workouts or more working out, because that seldom happens. Yes, exercise of course helps you burn fat, but good nutrition is essential, and it might help your health, too.
5. Pay Attention—Concentrate
We mentioned this in the above section, but again, it deserves some additional emphasis. Many people during their workouts wander around, talk on their cell phones or text between sets, take long gaps between exercises and sets to talk to friends for several minutes and so on. We live in a very social age, we get that. But a productive workout is better achieved by focusing on the task at hand. After all your socializing, you may be disappointed in your results. Work out, then tweet, text, chat, call, hang out with your friends—whatever social things you want to do, afterwards. But for better workout results, pay attention and concentrate for better results.
Do some or all these things as spring unfolds and you’ll get better results. Good luck.