One of the things I have enjoyed most about starting up this blog is that it has encouraged me to try new things, forced me to be braver and more adventurous. Pushed me right out of my lovely little comfort zone.
When I started my health journey three years ago, I had three half-hour PT sessions a week. Working out was so alien (and hard!), I knew I needed actual appointments to make sure I got to the gym. Then I dropped a session and added a spin class. Then I added another spin class. And another. At one point (for a number of months) I was doing four or five spin classes a week. When I look back, I think that was pretty crazy. But I was too afraid to try anything else.
I was stuck, for a little while, in an exercise rut. And I’ve seen friends, real hard-core-gym-every-day-super-fit friends getting stuck too.
And then working out becomes a bore and a chore instead of a privilege and joy. That’s no good at all. Are you stuck in an exercise rut?
How to spot if you’re stuck in an exercise rut
- You drag yourself to the gym and don’t enjoy the workout when you’re there
- You don’t push yourself longer/harder each time
- You don’t walk away uplifted with big big smiles and on an absolute high
- You complain and moan about it
- You do the same workouts week in/week out
- You’re not getting the results you want
- You find yourself making excuses too easily and missing sessions
Here is my list of 11 Ways to get Unstuck from an Exercise Rut:
- First of all, you have to mix up the type of activity you do. Your body gets used to doing the same thing, it adjusts. If you want results, you need to continually surprise it. So make sure you’re doing both cardio and weight training.
- Add some new workouts to your regime. You might need to try a few before you find something you love. If you belong to a gym, grab a timetable and circle a few classes you’ve not tried before and give them a go. Or set up a challenge with your bestie/training buddy – each week one of you chooses what you do and the other has to go along with it, no matter what (keep it safe and legal, people). Get yourself out of your comfort zone (it’s where the fun starts).
- Book a couple of PT sessions to get new ideas for weight programs, check on your technique, push you a little harder. My PT (I still do one half hour session a week with her) changes my program every 4 weeks and pushes my weights up and up each week to ensure I’m progressing and not getting bored. She keeps an eye on my form too, to prevent injury and get the most out of each movement.
- See if you can put together a routine that works different muscles in different ways. Even with all the training I do now, doing the HIIT sessions at the Nike NTC on Bondi Beach and at Carriageworks, made me hurt like hell. Oh my quads! Because I was working muscles in ways that I don’t normally, and they really stood up and took notice. For days. Ouch (sore muscles, happy pain, though).
- Register for a fun run or obstacle course event to give your training some focus and goals. It makes a massive difference to my running routine when I have a race to train for. I track my pace, run a bit longer each time, mix up the courses a bit, run on different terrains… and whilst this helps prepare you for the event, it also brings variety and stops you getting bored.
- If you really have a set of favourite workouts, change them up a little. If you run, add some hills. If you walk, add some jogging intervals. Always on the treadmill? Try the rowing machine or cross-trainer instead.
- Think about the enjoyment factor as well as the calories burnt/muscles worked. If you usually work out indoors, take yourself out into the fresh air and play a game of tennis or go for a hike. If you usually work out alone, try doing it with a friend (or vice versa). I was a ‘solo exerciser’ until I joined the CrossFit gym, where I discovered that I actually loved working out with a group of like-minded women. It’s so much fun sharing the pain haha.
- Rest! Make sure you take a rest day. That’s part of the routine too.
- Focus on your food. You can’t out-train a poor diet. Eat mindfully. You know what’s good for you and your body… Cut the sugar and packaged goods; eat loads of greens, good fats, the right carbs and proteins; and drink plenty of water. It’ll help you get results which will help keep you interested in your workout routine.
- Update your play list. It’s always more fun to run or workout to new songs.
- And finally, go shopping! Seriously, I know I’m a gym gear junkie, and this may sound super-superficial, but I’m yet to meet a woman who doesn’t feel good in a great new outfit, and a gym outfit is no different. It’s surprisingly motivating haha. Well, that’s my excuse and I‘m sticking to it. I’m very VERY motivated 😉
So what about me? Well, I’m not in a rut exactly. Over the last year or so I’ve really mixed things up and my training schedule looks very different. I have added in running. And CrossFit (well, a specific female program at a CrossFit gym, I’m not exactly in the kipping pull-ups and handstand push-ups category haha). And even yoga.
I still do two spin classes a week and one weights session with my PT. In actual fact, there aren’t really enough days in the week to fit it all in, sometimes I have to force myself to take a rest day, and my feet are itching to do something the whole time. How times have changed.
But I’ve not really tried anything brand new for around 6 months (aside from the Nike N+TC) and so I think it’s time.
This month, my challenge is to try one new form of exercise every week. So, that’s four new things. I’ve chosen Barre, Pilates, Paddle Boarding and Tabata. Each week, I’ll report back on how it went and what I thought.
And if I fall in love with one? Well, we will definitely need another day in the week.