The other day, I was late for yoga so I hit the next class, African Dance. I was completely out of my comfort zone but had such a blast and a great workout that it reminded me how important it is to change it up. Mixing up your routine is not only good for the body but it's good for the brain.
Here are 13 ways to help you break out of your fitness rut:
1. Add interval bursts.
If you’re accustomed to moving at a certain pace, add in 30 to 60 second “bursts.” If you’re a power walker, break into a jog, if you’re a jogger, break into a run, if you’re a runner, break into a sprint. After 30 to 60 seconds, drop back to your regular pace. Add 5 to 15 bursts throughout your workout for increased stamina and more calories burned.
2. Superset it.
Perform one set of an exercise right after another with little to no rest in between. You’ll keep your heart rate up, stoke your metabolism, and finish your workout a lot sooner.
3. Get outside.
Enjoy the fresh air, scenery, and a multitude of healthy benefits. Boost your mood and self-esteem, ease depression, and clear brain fog. Use surroundings like a park bench to target major muscle groups when you’re training outside.
4. Focus on food.
We all know that six-pack abs take more than performing a gazillion crunches. A lean core is closely linked to what’s happening in the kitchen. Nutrition plays a huge role, so cut out the crap and eat organic, whole fresh foods, lean proteins and drink lots of water. Resist “rewarding” yourself after an intense workout with a sugary or high-calorie treat. Instead, opt for a healthy carb and protein snack, like a slice of whole-grain bread with nut butter, or a fruit smoothie with protein powder.
5. Go for a certification.
If you’re a hardcore devoted fan to a favorite workout style (like kickboxing, yoga, or spinning), becoming certified is a fun and challenging way to stay fit and make new friends.
6. Instead of going through the motions, stop occasionally and add some strength training.
Get cardio and strength in one outing! Check out some ideas here.
7. Commit to a small group training class.
Many gyms and studios offer high-intensity training, boot-camp, and other types of small group programs for a flat fee. The camaraderie is powerful and the upfront commitment helps you stick with it.
8. Take a rest day.
Are you the type who hits it hard and works out all the time? As important as it is to exercise, it’s equally important to recover. That doesn’t mean you have to be sedentary. Try some restorative yoga poses, meditation, or get a massage.
9. Try something new!
Always wanted to try belly dancing? Tai chi? Line dancing? Search online; you can find just about any type of exercise!
10. Turn it up.
Studies show that upbeat music increases exercise performance. Picking songs with 120 to 140 beats per minute can boost your motivation so you get more out of your workout.
11. For one week, do the opposite of what you typically do.
If your workouts are usually high-energy, slow down with yoga, pilates or meditation. Conversely, if you usually do a slower style of workout, try something like kickboxing or a dance class. It’s all about variety and balance.
12. Take a different route.
New surroundings are stimulating. Make it an adventure and explore another area the next time you head out for a run.
13. Sign up for a race.
Get together with a few friends and join a local charity run, like a 5k. Raise money, train together, and enjoy being part of the community. There’s nothing like the goal of racing across a finish line to get you totally pumped up and in better shape.
Pushing yourself mentally and physically in a new direction can help you lose weight, work different muscle groups, boost feel-good endorphins and stimulate your brain. Variety is the spice of life!
Photo Credit: Sharon Schuur