As I mentioned yesterday, I have been listening to Jillian Michaels’ podcasts during my daily commute to work this week. Part of the format of her show is taking questions from callers on a variety of topics (she’s been amazing at answering them all, by the way). One problem that people seem to have in common when trying to lose weight is staying motivated when working out. This breed of problem seems to come in two forms. The first is that the person doesn’t have the right mindset about it. They’re doing it for the wrong reasons, which ultimately leads to burnout (as far as I’ve noticed when I don’t have a clear picture behind my workouts). Another cause of burnout … is boredom!
The problem is that you get a routine down, which is great in terms of consistency, getting to the gym, making time for fitness. What it’s not so great for, is motivation. I am a morning exerciser, so I hop out of bed most mornings at 5:30am in order to hit the gym before work. If I don’t have a solid, interesting and unique plan of attack before I go to bed the night before, I am much more likely to talk myself out of working out at that hour, especially in the winter when it’s frigid outside my nice warm bed. Here are some things I have done in the past to break out of fitness ruts:
– New DVD’s – I love Jackie Warner and Jillian Michaels, and each one of them have plenty of options for working out, including circuits, muscle group isolation and different lengths for time for a workout
– Take a class – I belong to a gym that offers a rotating cycle of classes, so I would love to try spinning, Zumba, Kickboxing, Pilates, BodyPump. I’m sad that I have not as of yet done so – they tend to get very crowded, but I need to suck it up and try it out, as I have always enjoyed it in the past when I’ve tried classes.
– Head outside. I run, grab a jump rope, walk Penny. The outdoors are so motivating! This is weather dependent of course, but right now is my favorite time of year for this – the fall crispness is PERFECT for logging some time with Mother Nature. (And if I have to buy a few extra pieces of Under Armour to do it … that’s just too darn bad 🙂 )
– Read: Fitness blogs, magazines, books. There are so many people committed to healthy lifestyles these days – what better way to get new ideas than to head to these “real life” resources? Even though those “fitness trade” magazines can seem like they have a lot of the same material month after month, they have new studies about health-related topics, new recipes and new suggestions for muscle building. Sometimes, even if the same old bicep curls are being shown in a different combination with other moves and married together with a fun name (think “The Bikini Workout” or “Butt Blaster Routine”), it can be rejuvenating for your time in the gym. Arming yourself with knowledge is motivating because it creates even more of an investment in your healthy lifestyle and gives you new reasons to hit the gym (aside from the traditional “I want to look great!”)
– Podcasts – I just started listening to Jillian Michaels’ podcasts on iTunes on my drive home from work. She gives great ideas for working out and provides plenty of motivation as well. There are plenty of other fitness, healthy living and mental health podcasts to keep things spicy and motivational. Healthy life style means incorporating all aspects, not just food and fitness. Podcasts are an easy and time-efficient way to become more educated and well-rounded.
– Research. Sign up for a race or event. I recently ran my first 5k and loved challenging myself during training! There are plenty of online directories to see what’s available in your area (ex: http://www.active.com/) OR you can plan a race around a weekend trip. There’s no better way to see a new city than to bike, walk or run it.
– Buddy up! Dan used to do Crossfit, so sometimes he teaches me some of the routines, or how to use a new pieces of equipment at the gym (Those TRX straps are tough!) He also just signed up for a “Tough Mudder” so I have been joining him for some of his VERY intense training sessions.
Those are just some of the ways to keep it fresh and poppin’ with your workouts. But going back to point number one – knowing why you’re doing all of this is probably the best way to keep yourself going and the easiest method for staving off boredom. The more specific you can be about this, the better. That way, you can tailor your workouts to these aspirations and keep them in mind the whole time you’re working out. They can change over time, and as a result, you workouts will change with them. Continuously taking stock of how you feel before, during and after workouts can help keep you on track and in tune with why you’re keeping it up!
What do YOU do to keep your fitness life spicy?