Revamp Your Fitness Routine
By Kelli Calabrese - MS, CSCS
Kelli Calabrese, MS, CSCS - 2004 Personal Trainer of the Year for Online Trainer. She is a 20 year fitness industry leader, author, trainer, and international presenter. Kelli is on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Personal Trainers, An Expert Fellow for the National Board of Fitness Examiners, the Lead Exercise Physiologist for NESTA (National Endurance Sports Trainers Association) and has attained over 20 fitness and nutrition certifications. Kelli is the co-author of Feminine, Firm and Fitand is available for fitness consulting. She can be reached at Kelli@KelliCalabrese.com. For more details go to www.KelliCalabrese.com.
Are you finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning for your workout? Are you making excuses to skip the gym on the way home? Even the most dedicated exerciser occasionally gets bored. It's time to revamp your routine.
Cutting workouts short and not having your old enthusiasm are sure signs of a stale exercise regimen.
First, you should identify the challenge by evaluating what it is about your current program that isn't satisfying. Whether your routine needs minor tweaking or major changes, varying your exercise can be just what you need.
Change the activity completely -- If you've been exercising more than six weeks without progress, it's likely that your body has adapted to your current program. Try a completely new activity like kickboxing, tai chi, studio cycling, swimming, etc. Substitute new activities for cardiovascular, weight training and flexibility components. Your body will have to adapt to a new movement, which will cause your body to acclimate and improve.
Try a new variation on your favorite activity -- If you can't part with a particular activity, there is no need to give it up. Just give it a new twist such as mountain biking instead of stationary cycling or trail hiking instead of walking on the treadmill. If you always use machines for strengthening, try a combination of dumbbells and fitness bands.
Work in some excitement -- Maybe there’s something you never thought you’d do. If you’ve always stuck to solitary pursuits, sign up for a team sport, such as volleyball, basketball or even doubles tennis. Or, tackle something you’ve always shied away from. Perhaps indulge your thirst for adventure with a rock-climbing class (start on an indoor wall, then move to the real thing as your skills improve). Inline skating may be just the thing to make you feel like a kid again.
Alter the time -- If you typically hit the gym after work, changing to a lunchtime or early morning routine can be stimulating. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much more energy you have earlier in the day. And, seeing a different crowd, interacting with diverse staff members or taking a new instructor’s class can give your old routine a fresh perspective. Studies show that those who exercise first thing in the morning have higher compliance rates, so it may be worth the effort. You will always have the option to get in a second session at night if you’re lucky enough to have the time.
Location, location, location -- If you’ve always worked out indoors move your workout outside for a welcome change of scenery. Run, hike or bike on trails; swim in a lake or ocean and climb steps at the local stadium. You can alternate locations weekdays, weekends or seasonally. The change of scenery will give you a refreshing boost mentally, physically and spiritually.
Join a group -- Working out alone is often an oasis of solitude in a busy day, but maybe you need some company. Exercise companions add a social element to any routine. Ask a friend to be your workout partner -- you won’t skip a workout if someone is waiting for you, plus you might just give it that extra push you wouldn’t have if you were alone. Just about every sport or activity has a club. To find one, ask around at gyms or local community centers. Keeping up with the crowd also means you’ll be continually challenged to improve your skills.
Enlist in an event -- Many exercisers work out simply to get or stay in shape, but setting a goal such as finishing a 10K race or completing a rough-water swim will give your daily workouts more meaning. It will not only foster improvement and a sense of accomplishment, but also offers tangible rewards for motivation such as awards and/or prizes. Goals are natural motivators, especially those that bring pleasure. For example, schedule your next event or competition in a beautiful location and combine it with a family vacation. This can be just the challenge you need to jumpstart your aspirations.
Try some new toys -- Exercise gadgets aren't necessary, but they can make your workouts more fun and challenging. Heart rate monitors, aquatic props, pedometers and safety equipment are just a few to consider.
Take a break -- Sometimes you really do need time off. In that case, cut back on your usual routine, and substitute other light or fun activities. You can substitute your formal routine with gardening, a trail walk, cleaning out the attic or helping a friend move. All of these add up to calories burned and you'll return to your routine even stronger than before.
There's no magic required for you to stay motivated and excited for your workouts on a daily basis. Look to the bigger picture of achieving and maintaining a healthy and energetic body. Simple awareness of the blood pumping through your vessels can motivate you to continue and to feel good about the process itself.
The amount of enjoyment and motivation you experience is limited only by your imagination. Your attitude and state of mind are crucial. Enjoy the process and success will come.