After many years of working out, it can sometimes become just routine and monotonous which will not have an impact on your goals, whether they be building muscle, losing fat, training for a competition or race. It can also be especially tough when the January excitement to train has all worn off, and it’s all starting to become routine for you!
It is important then to vary your workouts to keep your interest and also keep your body from adapting to your routine so you can “shock” it into growth. This will help you keep you motivated in working out to reach your fitness goals and also keep you excited to get to the gym. Below are some ways to keep your workouts varied and challenging.
Stay Motivated to do Cardio
The straight run, jog, elliptical, bike ride, etc. for so many minutes can become very monotonous and rather quickly loses its effect as your body adjust to the challenge of that workout.
Next time instead of hitting the treadmill or bike path for a 20-30 minute run or ride at a constant speed try interval training. After a warmup, alternate your speeds from all out sprints to slow jogs and walks for recovery. If you run on a treadmill you can also alternate the incline and challenge yourself at various speeds and heights on the treadmill as well.
If you are at a gym that has multiple cardio machines try going for 5-10 minutes on one machine and then immediately move onto the next machine for 5-10 minutes or however long you have planned for your workout. This keeps your body guessing what is coming next while also trying something new to keep you motivated in reaching your goals.
Stay Motivated to Weight Train
It can be easy to get trapped into doing the same lifting routine every time or the same amount of sets and reps so make sure to vary your sets and reps for your lifts to keep your muscles challenged and growing. You can do this even with a favorite routine of certain lifts you have by changing the sets and reps over a course of time.
For example, one week you may use a pyramid scheme of 10, 8, 6, 4 and the next week use all sets of 10, the next week 8, etc. Pyramids are a great way also to challenge the muscles from an endurance standpoint of high reps and low weight with the strength challenge of low reps and high weight.
You can also incorporate circuit training as well by doing a number of lifts back to back (be sure to alternate muscle groups to not fatigue muscles too quickly). For example, a set of bench press may be followed by a set of lat pulldowns, followed by squats, followed by an ab/core movement, etc. You can create many different types of circuits for weight training with weights or even body weight exercises.
Cardio and Weight Training
Only have a limited number of days or time to do both cardio and weight training? Combining both cardio and weight training can be an effective way to fit in both. The challenge and thrill of the 300 type workouts are a great way to build muscle and endurance. By completing a certain number of exercises in a row for a total number of reps in a certain amount of time can ensure that you are pushing yourself to the limit while also helping you reach your goals.
These types of workouts involve a series of exercises completed back to back for a certain number of reps with the goal to complete with the best form in the shortest amount of time possible – each time you do this workout you can time yourself and push yourself to improve every time. “Tabata” type workouts are very similar as well in completing an exercise for a certain amount of time before moving on the next exercise creates a maximum amount of time under tension for promoting muscle growth while at the same time building muscle endurance.
Another way to incorporate both is to do a set of lifts and a quick sprint, short run, or even jump rope. This creates a circuit of weight lifting movements with cardio to maximize that time spent working out.
Some people are very self-motivated and can get themselves to stay focused on their goals and commit to making their workout time effective and a priority. Some need a little push from someone else. If you are in the latter, find a friend who you can work out with who will push you and hold you accountable to sticking to your workouts and accomplishing your goals.
These are just a few of many ways you can make sticking to your workouts exciting and challenging without falling into a trap of going through the motions with working out. Whatever your goal may be it is important to differ your workouts to keep your interest and also keep your body from adapting to your routine so you can shock it into growth. It is still up to you to get out there and challenge yourself with these that will help you reach your goals.