Four fun Fall routines

Summer days are fading away, and suddenly, there’s no more “swimsuit stress” to make you stick to your gym/workout routine. Thus begin the early days of “winter fat”. But there’s no need to have a muffin top sticking out of your brand new work pants. Instead, we present to you four fun, fall fitness alternatives, ranging (in order) from easy to extreme, to help you keep in shape.

‘No-workout’ workout

It’s a surprising title. How can you work out without working out? — a philosophical conundrum, if we ever saw one! But we’re just referring to the things you can do every day, by altering your routine just a little, if you don’t feel that you can dedicate the time and/or energy for a proper workout. Here are four easy moves to help you stay fit:

Take the stairs: Yes, this does seem to be the most popular advice these days. However, instead of taking them two at a time like many suggest, jog up normally (one at a time) to burn more calories.

Go shopping: Probably the most fun alternative for all the women out there looking to shed some weight. Studies show that carrying a shopping bag or cart up and down the aisles can really build muscles!

Get up: When someone asks you to bring a cup of water, or you have to keep your things back in the closet — don’t moan and groan! Instead, look at it as a fun workout opportunity. Getting up and sitting down again on the chair works your back muscles, and walking back and forth tones the legs.

Commercial cardio: When you’re watching TV and the ads are on, use that time to sneak in a little exercise. Try doing 30 jumping jacks or 20 crunches and squats. Any form of exercise will do; just make sure you keep doing it at every break!

10-minute workout

Many online fitness sites offer quick but challenging routines that will help you get into shape while letting you stick to your busy schedule. This has been deemed a “10-minute workout” by fitness gurus across the globe. The most important thing to remember is that you can’t do the same one over and over again — your body will get too used to it, so keep switching it. You may wonder how just 10 minutes is enough to keep you in shape, but after trying one of these routines, you’ll soon understand!

Abdomen: Crunches, leg lifts and some other abdomen-toning exercises are essential for a 10-minute workout. If you’re not a big fan of crunches, look up the “no-crunch” routine — you can find plenty of expert suggestions on toning the abdomen without having to do crunches. To keep things interesting, aim for more “oomph”, by doing 2 more reps of each exercise everyday — but sticking to your 10-minute limit!

Hips and legs: For this area, focus on squats, jumping jacks, step-ups and kicks. You’ll find helpful videos on YouTube by international trainers to guide you.

Upper body: All the things you’d normally do at the gym with weights (i.e. lifting weights over your head or straight up, or with bent elbows), can be done in 10 minutes at home. If you don’t have weights, try filled, rounded water bottles instead — you should get the same effect. Again, try increasing the number of reps in the allotted time, for a more intense workout.

Power Pilates

We’ve heard of power yoga — but Power Pilates? It’s a form of exercise that uses the routines and “moves” you learn and practise in your regular Pilates class to improve your posture. The workouts usually range from 50 to 65 minutes and aim at improving strength, muscular endurance and metabolism.

Interested in trying out this form of Pilates? The first option is to ask a Pilates instructor around town if he is familiar with this sort of routine and can teach you a few moves. If that doesn’t work out, then head to the Internet. Denise Austin, an American fitness instructor and famous author/columnist, has some great videos up, that target specific areas of your body, helping you customise your routine to your needs.

CrossFit

You may or may not have heard of this programme, which seems to have developed a cult-like following in the last decade. CrossFit was started in the U.S., but has grown to extend its network globally, with more than 6000 gyms associated with the programme. It uses a mix of aerobic exercise and gymnastics-based movements to help develop strength and condition the body. The most striking difference between CrossFit and the rest of the fitness regimens is that it focusses on high-intensity but varied movements across your exercise time. Celebrities and sport-stars alike swear by its effectiveness, but don’t be fooled — it can be quite draining, and it’s definitely not for the unfit!

There are a few gyms around India that have certified CrossFit trainers (they usually offer an introductory class, and a regular class can last between 45 and 60 minutes), but if you are unable to access any of these, just head to the CrossFit site to check out what are commonly known as ‘Workouts of the Day’. They guide you through the movements and give you suggested times and reps to complete the exercise(s).

So, you should have enough and more motivation to head out to your nearest gym and/or workout space and start building your biceps and triceps. And hey, if you ever feel lazy, grab your friends and make it a fun time for all!