Sticking to the same workout routine week after week and month after month can hinder results and decrease motivation. Your body gets accustomed to performing the same routine over and over again. It becomes more efficient, burns fewer calories and results start to plateau. Breakout of a workout rut by changing your routine and boosting motivation with these 12 simple tips.
1. Limit the Time You Spend at the Gym
Aim to spend just 45 minutes working out. Focus on the quality of your workout instead of the length. Dial up the intensity of the weight or speed at which you are working to get an effective workout within the set time frame. Setting a limit on the amount of time you workout will make your workouts more effective and boost motivation to get to the gym. After all, you know you will be done in just 45 minutes.
2. Change Your Playlist
The right playlist can help you power through a tough workout. Research shows that songs with a certain tempo can boost motivation and decrease perceived effort, helping you power through a tough workout. Pandora and Spotify make it easy to change your playlist. Both offer a variety of well curated workout playlists.
3. Add Supersets
A superset is done by performing multiple exercise sets in a row with no rest in between sets. By not resting between sets, calorie burn increases, muscle engagement increases, and aerobic benefits increase. Supersets can be done with exercises that work the same body part, such as squats and lunges or exercises that work different body parts such as lat pulldowns and weighted squats. Supersets will boost your burn without increasing time spent working out.
4. Try a New Class
A good instructor can push you harder than you would push yourself. Step outside of your comfort zone and try a new class. Always head straight for the treadmill? Try swapping your usual cardio session for a spin class or bootcamp. Used to hitting the weights hard? Try a yoga class to work on your flexibility.
5. Set a Goal for the Month
According to research, setting goals, however big or small, makes a part of our brain believe that outcome is an essential part of who you are. This sets up conditions that drive us to achieve the goal. To bust out of a workout rut, set a fitness goal for the month. It can be as simple as increasing your weights by 10lbs or as challenging as completing a marathon. Just be sure the goal is achievable in one month’s time. If your goal is to complete a marathon, break the larger goal into smaller monthly goals to keep yourself on track.
6. Change Weight or Reps
Break out of your workout rut by changing the number of reps, the amount of weight you are lifting or both. Higher rep counts at a lower weight will build muscle endurance. Higher weight at a lower rep count will build strength. Or try the Pyramid Method. Pick an exercise, start with a set number of reps, say 10 reps. Complete that set. Rest. Decrease the number of reps by one. Continue this pattern until you hit one rep or are fatigued.
7. Add Interval Training
Your body adapts and gets more efficient at performing the same routine which can slow or stop results. Give your standard cardio routine a boost by adding sprint intervals. Add 30 seconds of all out effort followed by 60 seconds of recovery at a moderate pace. Repeat this pattern for 20 minutes. Try one of these Interval Workouts for a quick and effective total body workout.
8. Track Your Workouts
Tracking your workouts can help you stay on track, measure progress, and help you make informed decisions about what to do next. When you see your progress and how far you’ve come, it helps motivate you to keep going. Tracking your workouts will also help you balance weight training days, cardio, and rest days. Once you see your progress start to plateau, you know its time to switch things up.
9. Slow it Down
Taking longer to complete reps while focusing on the negative (eccentric) phase of the motion will increase muscle stimulation and therefore muscle growth. Increase the length of your reps to 4 seconds each. Perform the positive aspect of the exercise for a count of one, then do the negative phase for a count of 3. Focusing on the negative portion of the exercise can help you bust through a plateau.
10. Focus on Your Diet
The saying goes, fitness is 20% workout, 80% diet. If you find yourself in a workout rut, take a look at your diet. Too many cheat meals, not enough protein, or a lack of certain micro nutrients may be holding you back. If you find it takes you longer to recover from workouts, you are always tired, or not making the progress you would like, your diet may be to blame. Try a diet reboot such as Whole30 to get back to clean eating. And be sure you are getting the proper Pre and Post Workout nutrition to maximize all your hard work.
11. Ask Yourself Why
Remind yourself why your workout. There is no end to the reasons to workout, however, the specific reason that motivates you from day-to-day will change. One day your reason to workout may be to live a long and healthy life. The next day your motivation may be that beach vacation coming up. Before each workout ask yourself why. Set an intention for your workout that reflects this reason.
12. Take a Break
An active rest day may be all you need to break out of your workout rut. Plan an easy hike in a beautiful park. Book a massage. Spend a day focusing on self-care to reset your mind and body.