The couch seems like the perfect place to cheer on Team USA during the Olympics. But this activity will not win you a gold medal in the health department.
Studies show that sitting down (hours at a time) could be just as malignant for your body as smoking. REALLY?? Well, yes. If you don’t believe me, just ask your leg muscles; while sitting, their fibers are practically motionless. Dare I say, dead?
So, instead of lounging on the couch eating potato chips while watching Olympians stick their dismounts and spike on their opponents, I recommend you go out there and explore nature and actually train like an Olympian. It’s easier than you think. Now, who’s ready to win the Gold?
Rule #1 – Don’t be afraid to try new things
The good thing about working out outside is that you don’t really need any equipment. This will save you money, as well as future landfill garbage. (Remember, the first step of the Recycling Symbol is to REDUCE). You can use things like trees, playgrounds and stairs as your resistance tools. Get on the monkey bars at your local playground and do some pull ups. Use your front stairs for some pushups, and lean against a tree for one or two-minute wall sits. Each exercise will fire up your muscle fibers and burn extra calories even after you’re done sweating.
Rule #2 – Work out with a partner
A lot of Olympians, even those from different teams, train together to improve their performances. Working out with a partner has been shown to improve endurance and make the time go by faster. So grab a friend, and drag them to your local High School track for some sprints and medicine ball passes. The workout will fly by when you have someone to motivate and push you to get out of your comfort zone and try your best.
Rule #3 – Try an outdoors class
Spending an hour or two at a stuffy gym (and most likely breathing in toxic chemicals) might seem like a great idea that yields good-body results, but in the summer, who wants to be inside all day, when you’ve got sunshine and daylight on your side? Instead of heading to your local kickboxing class inside a dark studio, sign up for an outdoors, boot camp class instead. The new exercises and movements will challenge your body and mind, while delivering even better results. You can expect to do Olympic-worthy exercises such as lifting tires, pushing sleds, swinging heavy ropes and doing box jumps (just to name a few). The extra fresh air might also do your body good. Just don’t forget the natural sunscreen!
Rule #4 – To train like an Olympian, you have to think like an Olympian
As I mentioned above, in order to actually see visible results, you need to put yourself out of your comfort zone. If you can do 20 reps of one exercise easily without popping some veins, then the weight is too light. Try something heavier. If you’re running your usual three miles on the treadmill at 0 incline, you’re not challenging your muscles. Up the incline to at least 2, or better yet, go outside and do some hill sprints. If you’re finishing your typical set of 100 sit-ups, your abs are probably still hiding somewhere. Try a plank pose on the grass at your local playground or track – that six pack won’t take long to emerge.