Are you in a fitness rut? It's bound to happen no matter how long or in what capacity you've been working out. We are all human and we all get stuck in a routine because it feels comfortable and easy. For me, I was in a fitness rut...aka routine for years! I would do a weight training workout from my trainer two days/week, Orange Theory Fitness three days/week and another day running or walking...no deviation whatsoever! My body began to get overworked and bored...the same repetition over time wears your body down and creates a sense of boredom and staleness in your mind. That totally happened to me and I felt no inspiration whatsoever...which is rare for a former personal trainer.
So here are my tips on how to change up or get out of your fitness routine!
1) Try a new piece of exercise equipment
How about changing your cardio routine? If you are accustomed to a treadmill or elliptical routine, how about trying the star climber or even the treadmill but at an extreme incline or higher speed? Try something that is out of your "norm" and challenges your body. For me, I'm so used to running or walking on a treadmill but whenever I add an incline, my heart rate increases and I feel myself working harder...all beneficial and exactly what I want from my workout. It's all about challenging your body.
It's also important to incorporate resistance training into your routine. Cardio alone is not always the best. Your body needs resistance training to not only build muscle, but to burn fat, improve mobility and strengthen bones, joints, tendons and ligaments. You don't have to lift heavy to see results but simply use your own body as resistance, use fitness bands, dumbbells, machines, stability balls, etc.
2) Let your body recover
I tend to hit my cardio workouts too hard and too frequent. For years I've had the mindset that the more I sweat, the harder I'm working and the more days I workout, the better off my body is...Boy was I wrong! Since becoming 40 (I'm 43), I've realized how important rest days are. I've discovered I can hit my workout head on and break a serious sweat on certain days but on "off days" I'm better off with an "active recovery" which includes walking, yoga or simple stretching. These exercises give my body the opportunity to fully recover from extreme exercise or cardio and therefore, fully function at a higher capacity when I need to. It's like a total body reset!
3) Revamp your nutrition
As a personal trainer for 20 years, I've always said that the body is 80% nutrition and 20% physical state...I still believe that! YOU CANNOT OUT EXERCISE A BAD DIET!!! Put that in your head and believe it...It's so true! You can do all the cross fit, cardio, weight training, marathons, etc. you want but you cannot reverse a bad diet. That includes incorporating fruits, veggies, fresh meats, and healthy fats into your diet and finding a balance that works for you. I encourage you to step back and really evaluate your nutrition. You don't need to measure calories or fat grams, but truly look at how much protein, carbs and fat you are consuming. Do your best to make sure you are eating a ton of organic produce, grass-fed, pasture-raised meats and limiting refined sugars...keep it natural! You will truly notice a difference in your energy levels which will carry over into your level of intensity when working out.
4) Get some sleep
In all honesty, how many hours do you sleep a night? Seriously, don't sugar-coat it...do you sleep? Do you sleep well? I know I struggle with this on a daily basis...female hormones suck! The older I've gotten, the harder it is for me to sleep. Sure, if I'm extremely sleep deprived, have a few glasses of wine or my husband is home and I can snuggle, I can fall asleep with no problem. Unfortunately, I'm usually wired with my brain working overtime, my husband is traveling and I'm wide awake or my female hormones are in overdrive...so I rarely get a good night's sleep. How can we remedy that situation??? Here are my tips...Try going to bed 15 minutes early so you have added sleep times to help your body get accustomed to longer rest periods at night. Try to play a "white noise" or other background if you're sensitive to outside noise (we sleep with an air purifier in our room). Try essential oils such as lavender or a supplement such as magnesium to help you become less restless or you can try a bath with essential oils or detox minerals such as epsom salts before you go to bed...I hope one or more of these ideas can help you relax at night. Getting a full night's sleep can help with motivation for the next day and give you energy and rejuvenation for a great workout! We all deserve and need some sleep...give yourself permission to seek it out.
5) Find the workout that fits you
Quit worrying about the way others workout, find the form of exercise you not only enjoy but will continue for months, maybe years, to come. There are so many forms of fitness, cardio, weight training, yoga, pilates, running, cross fit, Orange Theory Fitness, Pure Barre, Soul Cycle...the list goes on. I encourage you to try different workouts and find the one that fits your interests, your physical capabilities and creates a positive mindset. Don't look at the caloric output, what is popular and what your friends are doing...find what works for you! You don't have to spend a lot of money or time, but simply do what you love and whatever inspires you to continue over the long term.
I hope these simple suggestions help you create a new exercise routine. All of these suggestions are both easy and inexpensive so I'm hoping you can incorporate them into your everyday routine and can reap the benefits. It's time for some self-care, much needed love and to get your body moving!