Mindset

Spring Cleaning for Your Fitness Routine

It’s May and that means the warm weather is officially around the corner (or maybe already here for some). So, now is the perfect time to reset and transition from winter (and hibernating and maybe not working out as much as you intended to) into summer when you know you’re going to be working out at the beach, running outside, and then getting some R&R poolside.

Spring Cleaning for Your Fitness Routine

Here’s how to reset in all the key wellness areas: training, nutrition, sleep, and mental health.

RESET: TRAINING

Whether you’ve been hitting the gym hard these past few weeks or spending all your free time on the couch, we can all benefit from “active recovery” days. Even elite marathoners will have tapers in their training where they run fewer miles for regeneration and weight lifters sometimes do what’s called a “unload week” where they allow for some much-deserved recovery.

If you’re coming back from a gym hiatus, start with three to four days a week, suggests EXOS expert Kerry Greer. “On these days, take the opportunity to do something different with a lower impact on your body,” says Greer. For instance, go for a swim or take a yoga class. A foam roller is also a great recovery tool to give your muscles some TLC. After a week or two with up to four active recovery days, back down to just two, per Greer.

RESET: NUTRITION

Rather than restricting calories, focus on eating clean. That means skipping packaged foods in favor of nutrient-dense whole ones like veggies, fruit, lean protein, and healthy grains. Clean eating and removing sugar and processed foods – even for a few days – can help you to “reset” your diet. You’ll feel more energized when you eat this way and therefore start making healthier choices with ease since you’ll want to continue feeling vibrant and awake.

RESET: SLEEP

It could be argued that sleep is the most important piece of the reset puzzle. It’s key for helping you perform at your best in the gym and research has also shown that getting enough sleep helps you make healthier eating choice and is even linked to weight loss. To reset your sleep schedule, try to set a regular sleep and wake time so you’re getting up around the same time every day. For more tips, check out these simple ways to sleep better.

RESET: MINDSET

When it comes to fitness, the battle is as much mental as it is physical. Try working in some meditation and check out The Best Ways to Stop Stressing Out. And, do some easy breathing exercises like the one below.

“[Breath] directly and dramatically affects your health, your ability to heal, your emotions, your physical performance, your creativity, and it’s used by every spiritual tradition to help achieve deeper states of prayer, meditation and contemplation,” says Al Lee, co-author of “Perfect Breathing.”

Breathing exercise (courtesy of EXOS)

(Tip: Try this right before bed!)

  • Inhale through the nose for a count of 6.
  • Hold for a count of 3.
  • Exhale through the nose for a count of 6.
  • Hold for a count of 3.
  • Repeat this series four more times.
  • Next, inhale through the nose for a count of 6.
  • Exhale through the nose for a count of 6.
  • Repeat this series four more times.

Here’s an example of what a “perfect” reset day looks like:

  • Upon waking have a pre-workout snack such as oatmeal with banana or dried fruit*
  • Workout: Warm up with some foam rolling and do some light activity like an easy bike ride or walk.
  • Breakfast: Omelet with spinach and whole wheat toast*
  • Lunch: Kale salad with grilled chicken and avocado*
  • Snack: Greek yogurt with berries and small portion almonds*
  • Dinner: Grilled salmon with quinoa and veggies*
  • Breathing Exercise: See breathing exercise above.
  • Sleep: Turn off all electronics an hour before bed and allow for seven to nine hours of sleep.

*Food recommendations approved by the experts at EXOS.