Spring Forward to Get Back in Shape After Winter

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Spring Training

If you live in a northern climate, it can be hard to keep up with your fitness routine during the winter. Even if you belong to a gym, the shortened daylight hours can make a workout session seem much less enticing than relaxing in the recliner after a long day at the office. Yet, now it’s spring and you’re thinking how much you’d like to start again, but [insert your own excuse here!]. Not to worry, it’s easy to jumpstart a stalled fitness routine.

Start Slow

Most people go out for that first spring jog or basketball game with the same spirit they had last summer. They quickly find out that those months between being in top shape in the fall and now took it’s toll. When the temperature starts rising, you’re going to be anxious to work out hard. Take it slow. Cut down on your pace and take more rests than you’re used to. You won’t get to your exercise goal if you end up hurting yourself. Just as you didn’t run your first marathon after one weekend of training, don’t fret when you find yourself more out of breath than you had expected.

Develop Sensible Eating Habits

Regardless of the sport or activity, good nutrition is a key component to any fitness routine. You don’t have to go overboard and eat a diet of only water and bean sprouts. Develop a few simple but effective eating habits such cutting out one unhealthy snack a day, adding a vegetable or fruit to each meal, and keeping a glass of water at your desk. Brighthub.com has a number of valuable resources on healthy eating:

Healthy Alternatives to Snack Food - Nutritious & Budget-Friendly

Tips on How to Choose a Multivitamin

Basic Shopping List for Healthy Meals on a Budget

Misery Loves Company

If you’re having a hard time motivating yourself to get out there, enlist a friend or join a group. When you have someone else expecting you to show up, you’ll be more likely to do it. Give yourselves a reward for doing an entire workout, have everyone go out for lunch or hold a quick cookout afterwards.

Don’t know anyone interested in sharing the pain? Finding a training partner or group is just an Internet browser click away. Web sites such as Meetup.com and Yahoo Groups are specifically geared to get people with similar interests together. You can also start a fitness group with social networking sites like Facebook.com and LinkedIn.com. The localized aspect of Craisglist.org‘s Communities also makes it easy to find workout partners in your area.

Go Shopping?!

Nothing gets a person excited like a new toy. Get some new tires for your mountain bike and I guarantee you’ll want to see how well they grip the ground instead of watching TV. Of course, it’s important not to go overboard with your purchases. Buy a moderately-priced item that you’ve looking forward to, like a pair of shoes, sports watch, or sweat-proof mp3 player. eBay is littered with the barely-used remnants of failed fitness goals. So take advantage of their former owners’ decision and pick up some exercise gear for cheap.

Yet for sheer motivation, nothing beats browsing the local sporting goods store in person. Walking through those isles of technical clothing, weightlifting sets, and nutritional supplements is a total immersion in the excitement of exercise that on-line shopping just can’t touch. Talk to the sales associates, ask them for shopping and training advice. Leave the store knowing that you’ll make good use of your new fitness purchase.

Enter an Event or Race

Create a deadline for yourself and your fitness training program by entering a race or event. Early summer is filled with three-on-three basketball tournaments, races of all distances, sprint triathlons, golf tournaments and more. Don’t chose an event too far off or you’ll face the temptation to procrastinate. Not too soon either or you won’t be ready. Make a firm goal to solidly compete, but keep it fun. After the race, treat yourself with a few days off and a nice dinner or movie. Two great sites to find events are Signmeup.com and Active.com. Also watch for notices at your local fitness shop.

Closing

Remember, the hardest part to restarting your fitness program is getting out the door. Once you start to sweat you’ll quickly remember the love you have for your sport. However, always talk with your doctor first before beginning any training program.