We all go through lulls in our training and that’s when we need to refresh. If you find yourself struggling to get to the gym in the morning, dreading your runs or skipping out entirely, it’s time to switch up your workout routine.
If you’re bored with your workout, change up your music. Or, use that “free personal training pass” from when you first became a member of your gym. You could also ditch the gym altogether and head to a nearby park for a much-needed change of scenery. Whatever you do, don’t stop working out—just modify.
1. Change your playlist
Music distracts from pain and discomfort during exercise (i.e. the burning in your quads during your third round of 60-second wall sits), but listening to the same playlist over and over gets predictable. Suddenly your music isn’t doing what it’s supposed to during your workout because you know what’s coming next.
Spend a few minutes putting together a new playlist with new songs. Or, choose a daily curated playlist on a music-player app such as Spotify.
2. Score a free personal training session
While you may not need to work with a personal trainer on a regular basis, one intro session can be helpful. The assessment alone will be interesting, allowing you to discover areas of weakness or ways to boost strength in specific muscle groups.
Outside of the assessment, you’ll learn new exercises and movement patterns and likely pick up form and general fitness tips throughout the duration of the session. You can take all of this with you to start trying new exercises in your regular routine.
3. Take a group fitness class
Classes are a great way to refresh your workout routine for two specific reasons:
- Camaraderie pumps you up, getting you excited to workout again.
- You’ll learn new exercises you can add into your normal workout to keep things fresh.
You may be able to take classes at the gym where you currently have a membership, in which case, you can find one to try right away. If not, try out a few different studios that offer free classes for potential members. This way, you can see if you enjoy the classes before committing.
4. Use the buddy system
Everyone has their favorite workout equipment and exercises. If you’re feeling bored with yours, go the gym with a friend and see what they like. You’ll likely pick up new exercises, movement combinations and ideas. Not to mention, working out with a buddy boosts friendly competition, pushing you to work harder than you normally would.
5. Randomize your exercises
We are creatures of habit and we tend to choose the same exercises over and over again. They may be the only exercises we know, or we just don’t have time to learn new ones; either way, your routine needs a shot of randomness.
One fun way to do that is to create a deck of fitness cards with different exercises on each. You can even create multiple decks for different workouts (cardio, core strengthening exercises, etc.). My favorite is my cross-training deck, which includes all bodyweight movements and is broken up by area of the body: upper, lower and middle.
Separate your deck, choose 3 to 6 from each stack and then pair an upper body with lower body, core with upper body and so on. Add your reps and sets.
You can achieve a similar random workout with regular playing cards as well using the 52 Card Pick-Up Workout.
6. Head outdoors
You don’t have to go for a run to enjoy a workout in the great outdoors. With a little bit of space at the park, your yard or even your patio, you can do a full-body workout that’s as good as any gym session. Stick to your usual exercises or refresh your routine even more by doing all new exercises using the world around you.
Perform the following exercises using a park bench:
- Triceps dips
- Decline pushups
- Incline pushups
- Step ups
- Box jumps
- Sit to standing
Repeat each exercise for 5 to 6 rounds, 10 to 12 reps each, for a heart-pumping, full-body workout that’s as new as it is effective.
7. Switch machines
If you always run on the treadmill, try a new cardio machine. This may sound obvious, but autopilot probably takes you to not just the same type of machine, but the same exact one in your gym, every single time. Make an intentional decision to try one new cardio machine every day for a week. Test it out with low intensity, high intensity and intervals to see which ones you like best.
Perhaps you’ll end up using the treadmill for sprints, the elliptical for low-intensity cardio workouts and the stair master for high intensity glute workouts. Suddenly, variation is built right into your routine with minimal extra effort.
Refreshing your workout is as simple as a change of scenery or heading to the gym with a friend. Make the small effort to refresh and you’ll reap the benefits for months to come.