Time to clean up that out-of-shape body and get ready for the season
Ahhh, yes, springtime: one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. On the coattails of winter, spring is the transition into different outdoor activities, sports and attire. It prompts anticipation of long runs on the Coastal Trail with the beautiful midnight sun over your shoulder, hiking with man’s best friend in fresh mountain air, and games of ultimate-Frisbee with friends in a gorgeous park.
If you’ve packed on a few pounds over the winter, now is a good time to start preparing for an active summer. Don’t let a winter of inactivity weigh you down during the long days of our oh-so-short summer season.
It’s important to remember that spring is what you make of it, and, more important, what you make out of your time spent physically preparing for your favorite activities or sports. Every drop of sweat created in the gym will make returning that volley much easier. Every forced rep of bicep curls that you didn’t know you had in you will make Sally much more impressed when you’re dressed up in that spray tan sitting on the beach.
Are you ready to start a fitness journey that will prepare you for whatever summer may hold? Start by asking yourself, “What sports will I be playing? What activities will I be participating in? When is that next vacation?” Once you know this, it’s time to make a game plan to give you optimal results for summer fun.
Welcome to spring training.
There are many reasons for spring training. The athletes of the world are seeking improved performance. Vacationers are looking to get lean and shed some winter weight in order to get into that swimsuit they’ve been eyeballing for months. Outdoor enthusiasts want to improve their agility, strength and endurance in order to climb higher, hike farther, bike longer and roller-blade into the sunset of a perfect summers’ day. Though some want it all, the best way to get what you want is to make specific goals based on your choice of activity.
If I have an athlete who needs to increase his vertical leap for basketball, we work on legs, and more legs. OK, we might be doing a little core, but the majority of our training for this athlete will be focused on leg training; a lot of jumping, squatting and lunging to improve his vertical performance.
Here are some hypothetical goals and training routines to help meet them.
• For a muscle-bound beach body, follow a body-building routine. This means a strict diet, weight training and low-intensity cardio.
• If your goal is sports oriented, focus on sport-specific movements. Exercise for power, strength, speed and agility. Power movements are explosive and usually incorporate plyometrics like jumps squats. Strength is performing controlled movements with weights for lower repetitions, usually in the 1-5 range. Speed is performing a movement with quickness, like sprints. Agility is the ability to move nimbly with great proprioception, or awareness one’s body position in relation to its surroundings. Find an agility-ladder for this.
• What about outdoors enthusiasts? Again, train for specificity. Hikers can benefit from stair steppers, even wearing a backpack while working out. Spending time out on the lake? Get in the pool. Think about your activity and try to mimic the movement in the gym with vigor and a plan.
To reach your summer fitness goals, keep your focus on the day’s workout, be diligent and before you know it another summer will be here and a new you will be ready to make the most of it.
Jamie Cash is fitness director at The Alaska Club.