The question: Should I change up my gym routine if I'm bored by it? I don't mind it (I do cardio and strength circuits), but am I missing anything by not finding it very interesting any more?
The answer: Absolutely. To see results, you need to progressively challenge you muscles. If possible, change up you workout every four to six weeks.
Changing the exercises in your routine is a common way to modify your workouts, but there are other ways to mix things up.
Try changing your lift tempos, which is the amount of time it takes you to complete a strength exercise. A common tempo would be lifting and lowering for two counts each. If this is what you do, change it up. For example, when squatting, take three counts to lower and one count to stand.
Or try emphasizing different portions of the range of motion. For example, try "1 1/4 reps": This method helps you pulse in a controlled manner for one-quarter of a rep at the bottom of the range of motion. This method works well with most exercises, especially squats and push-ups.
How to do a 1 1/4 Lunge: Step your left leg backward, with both feet facing forward. Bend both knees and lower your left knee toward the ground. Come up one-quarter of the way. Return back down to the bottom of the lunge. Finish by returning to your starting position. Repeat 10 times and switch legs.
Also try combining different exercises together. If you usually do exercises like squats, biceps curls, lunges and lateral raises separately, try doing two exercises simultaneously. For example, do a biceps curl as you squat, or a lateral raise as you lunge.
These examples just skim the surface of ways you can make your workouts more fun. Next week I will continue to offer you more of my favourite ways to mix it up.
Trainer's Tip: Whenever I am having a hard time motivating myself to exercise, I know it is time to change up my routine. Modifying it will benefit you physically and mentally; doing the same old thing gets boring. Having a new and fun routine will help motivate you to get to the gym.
Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.
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