Tips for breaking out of a workout rut

Dec. 4, 2011 at 6:04 a.m.

I was talking to a friend of mine in the gym the other day. He was telling me how lately he has been forcing himself to workout.

He knows working out is vital for his health, but he does not look forward to it anymore.

If you have been working out for any length of time, you will hit some dry spells. The trick is to get through them and back to enjoying your routine again.

Change your routine

If you have been doing the same routine for more than four weeks, it is time to change it up.

For example, if you always do bicep curls using a cable machine, it is time to try kettle bells or dumbbells.

If you do a routine that hits all the major muscle groups for every workout, it is time to try a split routine. Do upper body one day and lower body the next.

If your cardio is always two miles on the treadmill, it is time to try out the rowing machine or, better yet, row a real boat upstream.

Adjust your goals

This is probably the one thing seasoned exercisers fail to do.

Looking at your goals reminds you why you exercise. Writing down your goals gives you some direction, instead of just working out because it is "good for you."

Have a plan

Without it, you are just fumbling around in circles and getting nowhere. This leads to frustration and boredom.

Find a new activity

Nothing perks up your exercise routine like a new activity.

Try a Zumba class or rock climbing or paddleboarding.

You will probably discover you need to add some new moves to your current routine to strengthen the muscles you are using in your new activity.

Enter a competition

Having a race to focus on will help motivate you to improve your times and constantly fine tune your training.

There is a Tough Mudder coming up in January in Edna. This race consists of an 11-mile long obstacle course, including, among other things, 12-foot walls to climb, mud rivers to slog through and ropes to swing on.

Imagine how your workout might change to prepare you for that!

Find a workout partner

Finding someone with the same interests can be tough, but it is well worth the effort.

Being accountable to each other helps to get you out there on those days you would talk yourself out of it.

A partner can also help push you farther than you would go by yourself.

Besides, it is just more fun that way.

Reward yourself

Set up rewards that are both for short term goals and long term ones.

Some short term rewards might be new music for your playlist or new workout gear.

For long term rewards, you might travel some place new and try a new activity. Some examples include hiking in Colorado, paddling in Hawaii, horseback riding in New Mexico or kayaking in Idaho.

The important thing is to have a reward that you look forward to and are willing to work for.

Melissa Bagnall is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University in physical education and the owner of Fitness Solutions. You can email her at:



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