Rescuing Your New Year’s Resolutions - Get Back on Track with Four Simple Tricks
by Elizabeth Eckhart (find her on Twitter at @elizeckhart)
off the wagon completely with your New Year’s running and exercise goals. It’s understandable given the extreme cold and snow we’ve gotten throughout January and February, because who wants to leap over snowbanks to get to the gym? Well luckily there are a few simple tricks you can use to get yourself back on track and on the road to a fit 2015.
Pump Up the Jams
We all know that listening to music is a great way to motivate yourself through a run or workout, and now there is real science to prove that music does, in fact, positively affect your results. One of the world’s leading researchers of exercise music psychology, Dr.Costas Karageorghis, has gone on record after nearly 20 years of research on the subject saying that music is “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug.” Now, if that doesn’t convince you to incorporate some music into your run I’m not
sure what will. Of course, there are specific types of music that have been shown to positively impact performance better than others. The study found that songs with beats per minute (BPM) that fall between 125 and 140 were the ones the exercisers prefered, as well as the ones that showed the best correlation to improved performance. Of course that means nothing to many of us, but luckily there’s a website - Jog.fm - that has a database of tens of thousands of songs with their BPM listed. This means you can build your very own running playlist where all the songs fall within that 125-140 BPM sweet spot.
Take a Coffee Break
There have been numerous studies done during the past decade that have proven the benefits of consuming caffeine both pre and post workout. Not only has a jolt of caffeine before your workout shown to improve endurance and performance, but a study published last year found that it increases the amount of calories you burn after you’re done working out (known as “after burn”) by as much as 15%. So, not only can coffee snap you out of that afternoon slump when you first start thinking about skipping the gym, it will also help when you’re actually at the gym and during your workout recovery as well.
While it’s important to be paying attention to your body while running, if you’re like me, running on a treadmill in the winter is slightly tortuous. I’m definitely someone who thrives while being able to get outside and run, so remaining stationary in a confined space while trying to not stare at the timer on the treadmill is nearly impossible. Luckily we live in 2015, and with our cell phones and tablets we can be entertained 24/7. If your gym has WiFi consider bringing your tablet, phone, or Kindle with you on the treadmill to catch up on some movies or TV shows while you run. You might not need to subscribe to Netflix or Hulu to do it, as many providers like DirecTV and networks like NBC and HBO offer apps that give you free mobile streaming of their programs. Do be careful though, as you don’t want to hurt yourself or strain your running form while craning your neck to see the screen.
Mix It Up
Sometimes the monotony of the gym can be a drain on your motivation and performance, especially in the bleak winter months. That’s when you mix up your workouts
with something new. Many gyms offer free exercise classes to their members like Zumba or
yoga, both of which can be beneficial to runners. It certainly isn’t going to hurt you to stop in
and check out a class to see how you like it. Beyond that there are more and more studios
and trainers offering specialized classes like Pilates or barre method, and many offer
newcomer promotions or have deals on sites like Groupon making the financial risk
relatively low. If you don’t have the time to check out some classes there are tens of
thousands of workout DVDs, online classes, and websites with exercise videos that range
from strip tease to yoga with your pet and everywhere in between. With the unlimited
resources of the internet on your side, there’s no excuse to not find a different workout
that’s right for you.