Finding yourself stuck in the same exercise routine day after day? Are you getting tired of it? Achieving very little progress, if any?
I’m not surprised! When you do the same thing every day, your body becomes adapted to it. The human body is smart like that. So if you’re doing the same workout every day, not only will you be bored, you won’t see very many results.
Talk about a lose-lose situation.
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Why is this the case?
I’ve talked about it many times before: in order for the body to change and grow stronger, it has to encounter a stimulus that’s greater than what it’s used to. This doesn’t mean to simply lift heavier weights. It means you need to switch it up and challenge your body in a variety of ways.
Today I’m going to give you a few examples of ruts you may be in and how to change up your workout routine to succeed. Whether your goal is avoiding that weight loss plateau, building more muscle, increasing your endurance, or simply enjoying exercise more, this post is for you!
One form of exercise
One of the most common exercise ruts I see is only performing one type of exercise. In fact, I myself used to be in this predicament. I grew up a runner and up until college very rarely performed any other sort of exercise.
A side note on this: If you’re training for something (i.e. a sports season, a race, a competition), the main way to get better for your goal is to perform more of what you’re training for. While training for cross country and track seasons, I lived by the words, “If you want to get better at running, you have to run.” And this is absolutely true. If you want to run ultramarathons, you have to run more. No way around it. But oftentimes, cross-training and weight training can also help build you up. So I’d still recommend keeping them in mind when preparing. And even runners don’t just run the same pace and same distance every day. They alter speeds and distances, perform track workouts, run hills, perform fartleks, and do tempo runs. You wouldn’t get very far doing the same thing every single day.
So to that point, switch up what you do with your preferred method of exercise. If you ride the stationary bike, alter the resistance! If you use the treadmill, try out that incline! Elliptical user? Let’s perform some HITT! Changing up what you do every day not only challenges your body, but is WAY less boring.
Try something new:
And if you only use one form of exercise, try out something new! Don’t be afraid of stepping off the treadmill to tackle to stair master – fun fact, I’ve still never tried one because they scare me. The stairs just disappear at the bottom! Plus my apartment gym doesn’t have one, so there’s that.
One thing that always used to hold me back was being afraid of trying new things. I worried I’d look dumb trying to figure out how a particular machine at the gym worked, which now seems totally ridiculous.
- If anyone’s taking the time to watch you in the gym they’re clearly not that devoted to their workout.
- Who CARES? It’s taken me a long time to feel this way, but oh my word. There are so many more important things than taking an extra second to fiddle with the seat settings or change the weight on a gym machine and looking like a clear newbie. Really though, who cares?? You’re at the gym and getting after it. That’s all that matters.
So own your exercise journey. Try something new and step out of your comfort zone – both mentally and physically!
Weight lifting monotony
I recently was gifted a book I absolutely love. It’s about strength training and has lots different exercises (733 to be exact). I’m telling you, if you’re looking to change up your workout routine, this book will tell you exactly how to do it. It even has pre-made exercise plans to help you achieve your specific goals.
Anyhow, my point is there are SO MANY ways to strength train, and there are even many ways to train the same part of your body. Want to strengthen your shoulders? You can perform:
- Front raises
- Lateral raises
- Shoulder press
- Squat thrusters
- Dumbbell shrugs
- Seated dumbbell external rotations
AND THAT’S JUST WITH DUMBBELLS!
You can do so many other variations with barbells, kettlebells, and cables.
Word of advice: I highly recommend investing in dumbbells if you’re looking for a good piece of home exercise equipment. They’re one of the most versatile weights and are extremely durable. If you’re interested in other home exercise equipment basics, you can find a post on them here.
So if you’re sticking to one or two exercise routines for weight training, mix it up! You may be sore tomorrow, but your body will be stronger for it.
If you’re curious about the book I mentioned above, you can find it on Amazon if you click the link below:
Small gym/lack of equipment
When you want to change up your workout routine, one of the hardest obstacles can be a lack of equipment variety. If you exercise at home or in a small gym, you may only have one choice of machine or set of weights. Having little equipment to work with creates few options for different types of exercise.
You have to be creative!
If simply switching up your resistance or other settings (as mentioned above) is still not working, try doing circuits! Alternate between cardio and weight training – sort of like an OrangeTheory-type workout.
Here’s a workout example:
2 minutes: warm up with a brisk walk on the treadmill
3 minutes: continue warm up with an easy jog on the treadmill
5 minutes: moderate intensity run. Push yourself!
Immediately hop off the treadmill and perform these exercises back-to-back:
12 bent-over dumbbell fly
20 jumping lunges
20 mountain climbers
Back to treadmill
1 minute: recovery walk on treadmill
5 minutes: moderate intensity run. Push yourself!
And repeat weights vs. running 2 more times!
You see? It takes away the boredom of monotonous exercise. Now you’re challenging yourself. Gone are the days of tedious repetition.
Same ole class
Likewise, if you take the same exercise class regularly, your body may sneakily adapt to it without you even realizing. Studios and gyms are actually usually pretty good at changing things up, as teachers don’t want their participants to get bored. But even so, I’d highly recommend switching your classes up every once in a while.
For example, if you do a “Gluteus Max-Out” spin class three days a week, change it up by swapping one of those weekly classes for the “Core Burn” spin class. Or better yet, do three different types of spin classes every week, with other forms of exercise such as running or yoga on alternating days.
The more you keep your body guessing and challenged, the more benefit you’ll receive.
You could also consider joining ClassPass, a membership that allows you to jump around to tons of different fitness studios in your area. You’re allotted a certain amount of classes per month, but it’s completely up to you where you want to use them. I’m obsessed with this idea – I think it’s pure genius for keeping your workouts both varied and fun.
Are there any other ways you change up your exercise routine? Have you ever hit an exercise slump and had to switch things up? I’d love to hear in the comments below!