You made the resolution and stuck with it through those first critical weeks of the year, but here comes the next big test — can you maintain your fitness routine when boredom and burnout rear their ugly heads?
If your workouts consist of long stretches of time doing one repetitive task until you can’t stand it anymore (the treadmill and elliptical come to mind for me), you’re bound to get bored. When your motivation is slipping and you’re starting to make excuses to cut your workout short or skip “just this once”, consider these tips from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and stay on track!
- Make a Quick Fix: Sometimes all you really need is a little change in your routine. If you feel like you can’t possibly stay on the
dreadmilltreadmill for one more minute, get off! If the weather is cooperating, take your walk or run outside for a change of scenery. If your Zumba class is getting stale, try kickboxing or step aerobics and see how you feel.
- Bigger Changes: If a tweak isn’t enough, push yourself a little harder. If you’ve always exercised independently, try joining a team activity like volleyball or basketball. If you really prefer to work out solo, try something outside your comfort zone like a rock climbing class.
- Good Company: Even if you’re an independent exercise enthusiast, having a workout partner is a great way to stay motivated. You’re far less likely to skip the workout if someone is expecting you — plus you can encourage and challenge each other!
- Challenge Yourself: Yes, if you go to any gym (particularly in January) you’ll see plenty of people taking a leisurely stroll on a treadmill or chatting on their cell phones while slowly pedaling on a recumbent bike. Maybe that’s fine for them, maybe their doctor told them to take it easy. That said, push yourself. Set a goal and go for it! Sign up for a 5K or 10K and train with that in mind. It makes a huge difference.
- New Toys: They aren’t always necessary, but a new gadget can make your workouts more fun. Add some new music to your iPod, try a heart rate monitor, or download an app like GE’s Fit Friendzy, which lets you issue exercise challenges to friends and other users!
One more thing to remember: sometimes you have to listen to your body and take a little time off. It happens. Whether you’re literally sick and tired, mentally not feeling up to a workout, or your schedule is packed with other priorities, it’s okay to take a short break from your routine now and then. Don’t fall off the wagon entirely, but don’t be too hard on yourself either.