7 Ways to spring clean your training

24 October 2014



Words: Schalk van der Merwe, Biokineticist │ Photos: Shutterstock


Warm weather, sun block and holiday vibes; these are all things we can look forward to in the upcoming months. However, if you are working on that ‘beach body’, time is steadily running out.

Maybe you have lost a little motivation and momentum with all the end-of-year work stress or maybe you just have hit a bit of a rut. Either way, see today as the start of a new dawn, a new season and a new approach to your training routine. Here are a few things you can do to overhaul your current training programme and fine-tune your inner fitness guru, just in time for the holiday season.

1. Revamp your kit
Have a look at your shoes. Do they look worn, out of shape and ready for the rubbish dump? It may be time to kick them to the curb and get a fresh pair. It is recommended that you replace your running shoes approximately every 500 km. Depending on what you use them for, obviously. Replacing your footwear when necessary will reduce the probability of picking up injuries, as well as reduce muscle fatigue and aching joints. Studies have suggested that getting yourself a new set of 'kicks' helps boost motivation too.

2. Change your pre- and post-workout snacks
Summer is a great time to look at overhauling your snacks. With a wonderful variety of fruits, berries and nuts in season, it is an ideal time to provide some variety. On a hot day after a hard workout, smoothies can be just what the doctor ordered. Bananas, fat-free Greek yoghurt, fat-free milk and vanilla extract make a great drink. It is essential to stock up on the necessary nutrients as your exercise requirements change.

3. Take your workout outdoors
If you are tired of counting down the minutes on the elliptical trainer or dealing with that annoying person who won’t stop yakking on the treadmill next to you, why not get a change of scenery by taking your workout outdoors. Going for a walk with a friend is a great way to start. With longer daylight hours during summer, a brisk walk or run in the late afternoon can leave you feeling invigorated. Are you a budding yogi? Wake up your senses and clear your chakras by doing an outdoor yoga class in your backyard, your patio or the beach. Doing some fun, outdoor group training, like *parkrun or *beach-core classes, is also a great way to get out of your slump and enjoy the fresh air.

4. Try a new sport or activity
Feeling a little uninspired with your current workout routine? A new season allows for some fresh new ideas regarding exercise. Why not consider taking up a new sport or activity? Sign up for a high intensity interval training class at your local gym or studio or try pilates if you have never done it before. If you are more of an outdoorsy person, why not take up running, tennis or even skipping. Exercise is the quickest way to invigorate the body and mind. So, take up a new challenge, meet some new people and strike up some new friendships. This will keep motivation levels high and ensure that you can reach your fitness goals.

5. Schedule outdoor activities with friends
Research has shown that training with a friend makes you more likely to stick to your training routine. It is always good to have someone to motivate you. When you feel tired or lazy, having a mate who encourages you to stick to your routine is priceless. Partner up with a neighbour, friend or family member at least once a week and schedule some kind of activity, such as an after-dinner walk, game of tennis or light jog. Training with a friend will not only benefit you physically but can also strengthen your bond.

6. Join a charity walk or local fitness event
It’s always good to set yourself an attainable goal. Getting ready to complete a 5 km walk in aid of your favourite charity is a good place to start. Whether you do it by yourself or recruit everyone from your company or family and friends to participate, it is a good way to build up your fitness together and create a sense of camaraderie amongst your peers and loved ones. Working towards a goal will ensure that you do not shy away from your training routine. Why not sign up for a non-competitive event today? It is fun and the benefits will be far-reaching.

7. Have an open mind and challenge yourself
Whether you are a seasoned athlete or a fitness newbie, it is important to keep challenging yourself. Just as you strive to include new foods into your diet, you also want to make sure that your exercise routine doesn’t become just that: routine. It is important to stay motivated. To achieve your goals, why not put up some inspirational messages in strategic places around your home. Take ‘before’ pictures of yourself and look at them periodically to motivate yourself.

Have an open mind in your approach to training. Don’t dismiss something until you have tried it. Challenging your body in ways that it hasn’t been before is a sure-fire way to obtain amazing results.

So, in the grand scheme of things, you will find that by changing your approach to your existing training routine, you will discover what great things you are capable of.

Remember, change is like a holiday, and the time is ripe to bring about some changes to your training routine when preparing for the holiday season.

Happy training.

More information
For more information or advice, email Schalk on

About parkrun
parkrun organises free, weekly 5 km timed runs. They are open to everyone, free, safe and easy to take part in. These events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and we encourage people of every ability to take part; from those taking their first steps in running to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience; we welcome you all. For more information, visit http://www.parkrun.co.za/

About Beach Core
Beach Core is a fun, functional all-body workout done on the beach to create extra instability and a more challenging workout. It is for anyone who wants to prove their general fitness and core strength and is suitable for all ages. Classes are designed to push you to your own physical boundaries and although some of the exercises are advanced, they are adapted to suit each individual according to their strengths and weaknesses. Classes vary between core-specific controlled exercises to cardio and various fitness challenges. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/BeachCore

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Welcome to the 24 October 2014 issue of DO IT NOW Magazine.