There’s nothing worse in a workout routine than boredom. If the thought of heading to the gym, or out for a run, or whatever it is that you do leaves you feeling without the slightest bit of motivation, this is a recipe for failure.
And we aren’t just talking about psychological failure, but physical failure, as well. A good exercise plan will keep the body constantly challenged, which means constantly changing. For example, if you’ve never done a push-up before and you do 10 push-ups during a workout, you will likely be quite sore for the next few days. And this is a good sign, because it means that your body was challenged in a new way, and is adapting. However, if you continue to do 10 push-ups during every workout, they will quickly become easier, and you will no longer be challenged by them. In order for your body to continue progressing, you would need to do more repetitions, and/or change the type of push-up you are doing.
That is just one of many examples, and the rule applies to every aspect of exercise, whether you’re doing push-ups or are a regular runner. In order to both achieve our goals and to avoid the classic exercise rut that can leave us with little motivation, we need to spice up our workout routine.
And here’s how to do it…
1. Try a class
If you’re usually a solo-exerciser but are getting bored, try a class. There are endless classes to choose from, so you’re bound to find one that interests you. It could be spinning, pole dancing, interval training, swimming…take your pick. A class is a great way to spice up your workout routine because you have both the instruction of a professional, and the encouragement of working out alongside peers.
When was the last time you went out dancing? Depending on your lifestyle and schedule, this might be actually enrolling in a dance class (ballet, swing, salsa, etc), or it could be heading out to the club. Dancing is a serious calorie-burner, as long as not too many cocktails are mixed in, of course.
3. Run less or change up your runs
As a personal trainer, the type of exercise rut I see most is with runners. Several options work well for getting out of the running rut, one being simply running less. Instead of running five days per week, run two or three, and replace the other runs with strength training. Maybe this is a cross-fit or weight-training class at your local gym, or maybe it is weight training on your own, at the gym or even at home. Aside from boredom, strength training is also key for injury prevention, particularly with runners.
Another way to spice up your runs is to change the type of running you do. If you have the same route that you do most or all of the time, change it. Involve routes that include hills, or even implement one day of pure hill sprints instead of a distance run.
4. Do Pilates and/or yoga
In a workout rut but have never tried Pilates or yoga? Now is the perfect time. While these two modalities are certainly distinct, both will require the body to work in ways that are completely different than you’ve done in other types of exercise. You will strengthen and stretch the body, while also centering the mind. And anybody who says that yoga isn’t a good workout probably hasn’t given it a fair shot.
5. Sign up for an event
Grab a friend (or not) and sign up for an event that you’ll need to train for. Try something a little crazy like Tough Mudder, or opt for a triathlon (of which there are different lengths and difficulty levels). These types of events will force you to train in ways you probably aren’t doing now, such as swimming, biking or (in the case of Tough Mudder), crawling around in the dirt. Events are a fun way to seriously spice up your workout routine, and feel the satisfaction of having truly challenged yourself.
6. Join a club
Joining a local club is one of the best ways to get active and meet new friends. This might be biking, hiking, kickball, rowing or walking. There are even clubs for moms of little ones who want to head out with their strollers. Similarly to the class mentality but taken a step further, a club gives you the motivation to keep showing up, not only because you enjoy it, but because others are counting on you (not to mention you’ve probably paid for a membership).
7. Go on a retreat
If you have the time and money, a health and fitness retreat is a top notch way to spice up your exercise plan. Try a MovNat retreat that emphasizes natural movements such as pushing around logs and climbing hills, or opt for a detox/yoga retreat option. Both will leave you feeling revitalized, recharged, and full of ideas to take home with you.
Whether you opt for simply incorporating more hill sprints or take the plunge into adventuring to a retreat in a foreign country, the point is that you find new and exciting ways to keep your body guessing. Exercise should be fun (at least most of the time), and you should never dread doing it. Finding ways to spice up your workout routine will save you from getting stuck in the rut of boredom, which inevitably leads to, well…not working out.