It’s not always the easiest thing in the world to stay motivated to complete our workouts. This feat gets even more difficult when we become bored or tired of our workouts. If you’re doing the same tired old workout with the same movements each and every day, yes, you’re bound to lose morale and stop exercising altogether.
Below are a few techniques I use to keep my workouts fresh and challenging each week so I don’t arrive at the gym and try to do a workout I’m just not feeling.
CHANGE UP YOUR SCENERY
You don’t have to go to the gym each and every day. Especially when it’s your cardio day. Try heading outside and doing a run out. You can also do body weight exercises outside or at a local park if the weather permits. Consider doing a stair workout in your home or in your apartment stairwell. Don’t let the monotony of your scenery keep you from getting your workout in. Go some place new!
PLAN YOUR WORKOUTS AHEAD OF TIME
This is probably the best policy to prevent workout boredom I’ve come across thus far. I make a point of looking up new and different exercises on my rest day (Sundays, usually) and trying them out briefly to see if they create the sufficient “burn” I like to feel and if I like the movement. After all, there’s no point in doing exercises you hate. There’s more than one way to target a specific muscle or muscle group. From there I plan my workouts for the week with those exercises in mind. If you plan your workouts weekly and ahead of time, you’re more likely to think about your workouts from a diversification stand point and not have to worry about making things up on the fly and getting lackluster results.
This goes along with planning your workouts ahead of time, but it’s so important to factor in new exercises to each and every workout you do. It helps prevent both physical and mental fatigue which occurs when you exercise the same exact muscles and movements each day. Diversity also creates a sense of excitement when you know you have something new to look forward to each day even if you aren’t able to change your scenery.
RUNNING ISN’T THE ONLY “EFFECTIVE” FORM OF CARDIO
I used to mainly run for cardio because I felt like that it was the best and most efficient way to burn calories. In some ways, this is true, but you have to remember that different forms of cardio target different muscles more intensely. For instance, cycling targets the gluteus maximus if you’re looking to tone up that butt!
SWITCH BETWEEN CARDIO AND STRENGTH/RESISTANCE DAYS
Don’t feel compelled to do strength on your cardio days and don’t feel compelled to do cardio on your resistance days. It’s that simple. You’ve got time. You don’t have to feel compelled to do it all in one go or in one day. In fact, doing so will create a sense of overloading and potentially cause you to not want to workout the next day. Be sure to split up your cardio and strength days as much as possible so you can fully focus on certain muscle groups when you need to.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO TAKE BREAKS IN ORDER TO PREVENT BURNOUT
Workout burnout happens. It can be mental or physical. Either way, your body is telling you something, so you better listen. Pushing through these types of blocks carelessly can cause you to effectively begin to resent exercising. Once that happens, you’re not going to have any motivation for any workout routine no matter how much you make any of the changes listed above. If there is something that’s causing you to feel like you’re forcing yourself to workout, take care of that as much as you possibly can. This is especially important in the case of physical injury. Do not attempt to workout when you’re in physical pain. You’ll begin to associate that pain with your workout and that will eventually thwart any attempts to workout in the future.
TRY SHORTER INTERVALS AND BREAK THINGS UP
You can do almost anything if it’s in a small enough interval. I often find that five minutes is a good amount of time to get my heart rate up and really exercise targeted muscles. In your effort to diversify your cardio workouts, try bouncing from machine to machine for five minute intervals or whatever you find tolerable. Do your strength workouts in circuits. You don’t have to strictly exercise the same exact muscle group for all exercises even if it’s your day to focus on that muscle group. For instance, on leg day, throw in a couple arm and core exercise sets to prevent both mental and physical fatigue.
TRY WORKING OUT AT DIFFERENT TIMES
You don’t have to workout at the same exact time each and every day. If you don’t find yourself feeling motivated to do your early morning workout, skip it. You can hit the gym during your lunch break or even after work in the evening. Don’t feel pressured to workout at the same time every day. There isn’t technically such a thing as the “best” time to workout. You can workout at any time during the day so long as you’re motivated and feeling good. How you show up matters more than when you show up.
CONSIDER TAKING A GROUP FITNESS CLASS OR TWO
My final tip is to tell you to not to underestimate the power of a good group fitness class. Group fitness classes are not lead by you, so you can always expect a surprise when it comes to initially starting your workout. It also helps to take the pressure off of you to create a workout yourself, changes your scenery, and can help you find inspiration for your next workout. Instead of going to the gym or going for a run out, maybe try under water cycling, boxing, or yoga.