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Spring clean your workout routine

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Even if you’ve maintained a regular workout program throughout the winter, there’s a good chance you’ll hit a plateau at some point, so spring is an ideal time to switch up your workout routine.

Why? Much like your mind, your body becomes bored with predictability, so a change of exercise scenery may be all that’s needed to keep it from becoming acclimated — and unresponsive — to your efforts.

Here are a few ways I like to spruce up my workout regimen for spring:

- Shake up your schedule. Early bird? Take advantage of the extra hours of daylight to get active in the evening. If you’re a night owl, challenge yourself to get up an hour earlier to get your workout done before work.

- Try a change in venue. If the cold weather has had you cooped up all winter, take it outside. Or if you’ve been out battling the elements for the past few months, mix things up with a weekly group class for cross-training.

- Play with sequence. If you break workouts into specific combinations of body parts on different days (say, legs/back, arms/shoulders, chest/abs), pair them oppositely to force your body to adjust.

- Get some new gear. Nothing makes a workout more fun than trying out the latest and greatest exercise equipment. Case in point: I just got a new set of wheels, and I’m loving the new challenge of honing my skills on the bike.

- Develop a need for speed. Repeat after me: “Intervals are my friend!” Scrap your usual pace and add in walk breaks and sprints to trick your body into working harder.

- Tune-up your fuel. Re-evaluate your current dietary habits, and make a few incremental, measurable and attainable changes in what you consume, whether it’s adding in more fruits and veggies – or cutting down on junk food. And don’t forget to hydrate!

- Set the mood with music. Shop around on iTunes for new exercise mixes, sample a new music genre or allow personalized music sites, such as Pandora or Spotify, to suggest songs for you.

- Use the buddy system. Sometimes all it takes is a little company (i.e. my MondaySweatGuru runch dates) to kick it up a notch; picking up a partner can be a huge motivator in terms of support, friendly competition and accountability.

Try easing into a few changes at a time; do too much too soon, and you’ll risk getting injured. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new workout program, and use common sense – be sure to stop exercising if anything hurts.

How do you adjust your workout routine to stay fresh in a new season?

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