Beat Exercise Boredom

Young woman stretching in a gym
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It's Monday morning.  You get up, already a little tired, and put on your workout clothes. You're drinking your coffee, heading down to your workout room or perhaps driving to the gym.  You're putting on your headphones, setting your iPod and you have this sudden realization:  "I don't want to be doing this."

Whether you push through it or not is often a matter of will, but that isn't the important thing.

  The important thing is recognizing that you're bored.  We all get into workout routines and that's usually a good thing...routines keep us on track and help us stay committed to exercise. But doing the same thing for too long can lead to boredom, burnout and, for some, quitting exercise altogether. If you're bored with the usual, it's time to reinvigorate your workouts.

Invigorating Cardio

If you've been doing the same cardio workouts for a while, isn't it time to try something new? We often get attached to our cardio workout, afraid that doing something new won't burn as many calories. But, even if that's true, it's worth it if it keeps you motivated. Try these ideas:

  • Try something new. Challenge yourself by using a cardio machine you've never tried before (like the rowing machine or the versaclimber).
  • Do a rotation. Once a week, use every cardio machine in the gym for a little cardio medley. You'll get a great workout and have a little fun.
  • Add intensity. Add high intensity intervals to your workouts or shorten your usual workout and work harder. Sometimes just changing the duration/intensity of your workout makes it feel fresh.
  • Take a fitness class. If you never take group fitness classes, pick up a schedule and try one class each month. Even if you prefer to exercise solo, there's something about exercising with other people that lifts your energy and puts a little competitive spirit into your workouts.
  • Try videos. If you don't exercise at home, you're missing out on a wealth of workouts. Visit Collage Video and choose something you've always wanted to try. It's a small investment and could open the door to a new way to exercise.
  • Try online workouts.  There are so many great streaming websites out here, you can find just about any workout for any fitness level, goal, equipment, etc.  Visit Daily Burn or GymCube for live or streaming videos.
  • Make your own workout. This is one of my favorite things to do when I'm bored with the usual. Put on some music, slap on your shoes and just start moving.  Try picking 10 exercises and doing each for 1 minute, like one of these cardio or strength circuit workouts.  You could even liven up your outdoor workouts by adding some strength exercises, as in this Outdoor Circuit Workout
  • Visit my Workout Center for a variety of cardio workouts to try.

Liven Up Your Strength Training

If you're in a strength training rut, use these ideas to change your routine and keep things a little more exciting:

  • Change your resistance. We all have our favorite things – machines, free weights or the cables. If you tend to stick with one type of resistance, do something different. Try resistance bands or use the cable machine. It's amazing how different an exercise feels when you change the resistance.
  • Add new moves to your routine. Do a little research and find new moves or variations of exercises you've never tried before. Pick up a kettlebell and try some basic exercises.  Your workouts will feel fresh and new.
  • Change your method of training. If you usually lift heavy for less reps, try increasing the reps and lowering your weight for more endurance training. If you never lift heavy, give it a try. Find new ways to challenge yourself with your strength training workouts.
  • Take a fitness assessment. Try this pushup test, record your results and take the test again in a month to see if you've improved.
  • Break the rules. You may follow the typical strength routine of starting with big muscle groups and working your way down. Breaking the rules can be a good thing – it teaches you about your own body and what it likes or doesn't like. Change your workouts by starting from the last exercise and going backwards. Start with a different exercise or muscle group or change the rest between sets. See how your body responds to these may just find something that works better than what you normally do.

Take a Break

Of course, sometimes what you really need is a break from exercise, especially if you workout every day at a high level.  Take a few days off or even an entire week and you won't lose any of your fitness gains.  Sometimes a few days off is the perfect medicine for exercise boredom.

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