For many of us, the arrival of spring can be a drastic wake-up call after a winter of eating more, moving less and watching way too much Netflix*. Hello, detox time!
But before signing up for a juice cleanse or going on a painfully restrictive diet, how about detoxing your fitness routine instead? We’re talking about getting smarter with your workouts for better results, with no calorie counting or strict rules to follow.
To help you get started, here are some tips from inspiring (and Instagram-beloved) fitness pros on how to do just that. Simply adopt one or all of their recommendations, and you’ll be on your way to a leaner, stronger you.
Make your moves multitask
According to certified nutritional practitioner, personal trainer and fitness blogger Jessica Morris, many of us get stuck in the same piecemeal workout routine, neglecting the value of full-body movements.
For example, instead of doing solitary moves like bicep curls, try adding walking lunges with your curls to work your quads and glutes too. Not only will you burn more calories, but you’ll also challenge your body in ways it’s not used to, leading to better results over time.
Morris recommends doing a combination of squats, chin-ups, deadlifts and kettlebell swings. If you’re not sure how to go about this, seek out a trainer to design a program for you.
Swap the couch for classes
Sometimes the problem with our workout isn’t that we’re choosing inefficient exercises. Sometimes it’s simply that we’re staying glued to the couch instead of toning our glutes.
If the thought of hitting the gym seems too painful versus keeping your date with HBO, do what fitness expert, author and founder of the blog Sexy Fit Vegan Ella Magers recommends: sign up for fitness classes. Getting fit with the real citizens of your community is even better than Real Housewives.
“Classes allow you to keep a set schedule, get assistance with your form and create a social network of like-minded people who can be a great source of accountability,” Magers says—regardless of your athletic level.
Classes can also help you target specific body parts like your core. And let’s face it: it’s just too easy to skimp on giving our core the plank power it needs when we’re working out solo.
Stop counting calories; add plants instead
To fuel your workouts, proper nutrition is key. But rather than focus on counting calories, carbs, fats or proteins, Magers says focus on filling your plate with as many nutrient-dense, whole plant foods as possible.
“You can’t outrun your fork. No matter how hard you train, if you’re not eating clean and green, you will not get the results you want,” says Magers.
And don’t forget your emotional and spiritual health too. She says it’s incredible the difference people can feel when they stop consuming animals from factory farms. Many of her clients report feeling “lighter,” being in a better mood and simply being happier overall.
“When we align our actions with our values, we’re able to attract the energy we want back, and there’s no limit to what we can accomplish,” she adds.
Lift heavy, go crunch-free and rest
Rest is fundamental to your results according to leading yogi and founder of the blog Namastshay. “It’s during rest when your body is recovering from your workouts and rebuilding your muscles,” she says.
Speaking of building muscle, she is adamant about lifting heavy versus doing high reps with lighter weights. “When paired with light cardio or sprints, lifting heavy will not bulk you up,” she points out.
Lastly, she says, “Ditch doing crunches.” For better results, she recommends core-strengthening exercises (like planks) and keeping your core engaged (energetically pulling the belly button back toward the spine) during all your workouts.
Replace “I have to” with “I want to ”
Our mindset can be the number one toxin affecting our workout. So often, we feel compelled to exercise because that’s what we’re told to do. For lasting motivation, Morris suggests you ask yourself, “Why do I want to work out? What are my goals?”
Whether it’s to lose a few pounds or improve cardio endurance, write the reasons down and keep a journal of your progress. If music will help you move more, make a playlist of your favorite songs.
“Take accountability,” she says, “whether it’s signing up for a handful of classes every week, making a workout date with a friend or booking a session with a trainer.” Just showing up is the first step to a fitness detox!
* Seriously: most of us watch a lot of Netflix. Two-thirds of us even watch it in public: on the bus, on the street, in the grocery store lineup … So let’s get watching GLOW on the stationary bike, okay?
Ever wonder what fitness pros nosh on to stay super fit?
In Shayla Quinn’s fridge:
- Spirulina capsules
- Hemp seeds
- Probiotic coconut yogurt
- Whole leaf aloe vera juice
- Various fermented foods
- Fresh kale
- Sparkling mineral water
- Raw cashews
- Dried apricots
In Jessica Morris’s fridge:
- Mixed greens
- Sprouts and microgreens
- Fresh herbs (cilantro, mint, basil)
- Hemp seeds and ground flaxseed
- Green juice
- Tempeh or veggie patty
- Sweet potatoes
- Homemade salad dressing
- Bean pasta
In Ella Magers’s fridge:
- Vitamin B12
- Mixed greens
- Hearts of palm
- Vegan cheese
- Chickpea pasta
If working out smarter means we get a silver bullet trailer and/or a dog who has the noble gaze of an aristocrat in an oil painting, we are 100 percent in.