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10 Ways to Keep Your Workouts Exciting

Are you bored with your fitness routine? Have you hit a plateau and don’t know how to break it? Get-Fit Guy has 10 ways to kick-start your workout.

By
Ben Greenfield,
January 10, 2012
Episode #075

Do you ever feel like your workouts are getting ho-hum or boring? Do you feel yourself losing the motivation to exercise? Or has your body “stopped responding” to your workouts, putting you on a weight loss plateau or an inability to change your body the way you want to?

Maybe you just need to inject your workouts with something fresh and new! So in this episode, you’ll learn 10 ways to keep your workouts exciting, keep your brain guessing, and keep your body motivated.

Why You Should Keep Your Workouts Exciting

When you change up your workouts, you decrease the chances that you’ll get bored with the same old routine. But the benefits go beyond simply entertaining yourself.

In How to Get Better Results From Weightlifting, you learn about a principle in exercise called SAID. SAID stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands, and it means that our bodies eventually adapt to the demands we place upon them. For people who exercise regularly, it means you must constantly alter your routine in some way in order to get results.

So when you change up your workouts, you not only keep your brain guessing, but you also keep your body guessing, which gets you better results!

#1 Change Your Position

Do you usually sit while doing an exercise? Then stand! For example, a seated shoulder press or seated machine shoulder press can easily be done in a standing position. Too easy? Balance on one leg while you press. Or do a squat before you press. Or get one of those fancy balance devices like a Bosu ball or an air pillow and balance on that with one leg or two legs while you press. You get the idea: there is a multitude of ways to change your position while exercising.

#2 Use a Different Handle or Grip

Triceps pushdowns, a common exercise for the back of the arm, are traditionally done with a cable, gripping a thick rope with wooden or plastic knobs. But you could also use a straight bar or a curling bar for your pushdowns. Alternatively, you could use a “thumbs off” grip if you usually grip the rope with thumbs on. Or if you decide to change position, you can kneel on a Bosu ball or get into a lunging position on the ground, or even hop back and forth as you do them!

#3 Change the Time of Day

I know this sounds simple or trite, but I recently switched from swimming in the early evening to swimming in the early morning, and that simple change-up has made my swims different and given my day a fresh new start. If you’re getting bored with your workouts, and you have enough flexibility to simply move your workout to a different time of day, it can help keep things exciting!

#4 Change the Tempo

Do you usually do push-ups at regular speed? Try them super slow, with a 4 count down and a 4 count up. Or, try them extremely fast, lowering down and pushing up as fast as possible. Or lower slow and push fast. Finally, if you really want a change-up and you’re an advanced exerciser, try clap push-ups (clap between each push-up), one arm push-ups, one-leg pushups, or even push-ups with your hands on something different, like a medicine ball or a stability ball.

#5 Use Different Equipment

Do you usually lift with barbells or dumbbells? Try machines! Or vice versa. If you’re more advanced, then you may want to consider using alternative forms of resistance, such as kettlebells, sandbags, water jugs, chains, or heavy elastic bands.

#6 Change Your Sequences

If you usually do cardio before you do weights, then try cardio after weights. There is not an enormous difference in metabolic rate when you do this. Or, if you usually do cardio on a different day than weights, try doing them on the same day, and then do something new, like Yoga or Pilates on your off-day. You can also simply change the order in which you do your exercises. So if you usually do a full body workout that starts with upper body, then lower body, then core, try doing lower body first, then core, then upper body.

#7 Change Your Rest Time

If you usually do a circuit with minimal rest intervals, then you’re probably maximizing your time in the gym. But by resting longer, you may find that you can lift heavier weights, or do more complex exercises, since you’re not quite as tired during the workout. Alternatively, if you traditionally sit for long periods between exercises, try injecting movements such as jump rope or jumping jacks into that rest time. If you normally do your exercises one-by-one, you can try a circuit, in which you string all your exercises together in one long set, and then when you get to the end of the circuit, repeat!

#8 Experiment With Nutrition

If you’re used to eating breakfast before a morning workout, you can try eating breakfast after and working out on an empty stomach so that you use your body’s storage energy for fuel. Or, if you typically don’t eat before a workout, then try fueling your body with an easy-to-digest fuel, like fruit, potato, or a smoothie before you begin. Always be careful with this approach and try to experiment when your reputation isn’t on the line – you don’t want to be in a morning Yoga or spin class with a rumbly tummy!

#9 Slow Down

Are you one of those people who always has to work extremely hard during a workout? I used to be that way, until I discovered that it can actually be extremely stress-relieving to try something less hectic, like Yoga. Now that I have a couple days a week when I’m not doing hard workouts, I do Yoga, take an easy walk with my kids, go for a fun bike ride. This leaves me feeling rested and freshed for the tougher workouts.

#10 Try a Class

Recently, I took a Performance Pump class, which had me running all over the place doing lunge, plank, hop, step and push-up variations that I’d never tried before, and in an order and a pace that I wasn’t used to. I also tried a Kickboxing class, a Bikram Yoga class, a Core class, and a TRX class. By throwing these new routines in on a weekly basis, I keep my body and brain guessing, and get exposed to new moves and workout ideas I never would have thought of on my own!

If you have more questions about ways to keep your workouts exciting, or your own tips about how to change up a workout, share them in Comments or on the Get-Fit Guy Facebook page!

Stopwatch image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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