Sunday was the first day of spring, and it definitely felt like it for a couple of days here in Montana. I was sweating while ski touring on Sunday and yesterday, I finally skied the local favorite Bridger Bowl and it was almost 50 degrees at the top. But sure enough, it’s still winter and today it’s back down to the high 20’s and about 10 inches of snow are in the forecast. Not that I’m complaining about more powder days before the season’s over!
Whether or not it feels like spring where you are, it’s still a great time to give your fitness routine a spring cleaning. I like to do this every so often to keep things fresh, ensure I don’t fall into a rut, and keep challenging myself. The change of seasons are a great time to do this. Plus, it’s far more fun than cleaning out your closets.
Everyone’s different but I find that considering a few quick questions helps me evaluate where I may want or need to mix things up with my fitness routine.
I thought I’d share my personal Q&A to give you a sense of what the exercise looks like and the plan it yields.
Happy spring cleaning!
How does my body feel?
Am I noticing any areas of weakness, stiffness and/or unbalance that I may want to address?
For the most part, my body feels good given that I’m doing something physically active most days, which I love. However, with all the skiing, touring and running I’ve been doing, I’ve noticed two things: 1) less flexibility/more stiffness, especially in my hips, quads and hamstrings and 2) reduced upper body strength. Nutritionally, I find myself eating pretty clean when Tim and I are on our own, but indulging a bit more than I’d like to when we have guests. When that happens, I feel it in the form of sluggishness, bloating and less quality sleep — yuck.
How does my mind feel?
Am I feeling energized and motivated by my routine, or am I feeling anxious, de-motivated, bored or burnt out?
Pretty good but with room for improvement. My routine isn’t making me feel bad — I’m really enjoying everything I’m doing and it feels good physically. But because it currently consists of a lot of hard-charging, more aggressive activities, I’ve noticed that I’m sometimes feeling a bit over-stimulated and amped up. This is making it more difficult to face some of the natural anxiety I’m feeling around my job search, and to chill out and concentrate when I need to (like when writing this blog or doing other work).
When was the last time I felt physically and mentally challenged?
Two days ago! And the day before that! And the week before that! This season has been a great experience in pushing myself past self-imposed boundaries. I’ve scared myself, surprised myself and discovered that my body and mind are capable of a lot more than I previously thought. I look forward to continuing to push my boundaries.
Is my current routine well-balanced between cardio/endurance, strength, flexibility and recovery?
Hmmmmm, no, I guess not. My current routine is disproportionately skewed toward cardio/endurance. Beyond short stretching sessions, core work and the natural strength building I get from skiing, hiking and touring, I’m not doing enough to increase my flexibility or total-body strength. I used to do a lot more yoga but have fallen out of a regular practice even though I miss it a lot. I do well with physical recovery — I listen to my body and every very few days I do take a rest day.
What new seasonal activities do I want to incorporate into my routine?
When I get back to SF in about a month, I’m really looking forward to discovering new hikes and returning to my 3-4 times per week tennis practice/matches. I’m also looking forward to cooking with all the beautiful, fresh (and cheap!) California produce that I can’t get as easily in Big Sky.
My Fitness Routine Spring Cleaning Plan
- Balance cardio with a regular strength training routine. Working with a GAIN Fitness trainer sounds like an accessible, affordable, educational way to develop a personalized plan.
- Re-establish a more regular (at least 2-3 x per week) yoga practice, either in studio or at home.
- Reduce anxiety and increase focus/concentration with a daily meditation practice. (I actually started this last week — I like using the Headspace app as a guide.)
- Take advantage of being back in SF and make a conscious effort to discover new hikes, outdoor activities and seasonal recipes a few times per month.
- Keep exploring your boundaries: look into running a half-marathon or doing a triathlon.