Keeping it fresh

Many people, myself included, struggle to stick to an exercise program that they find repetitive or boring. I stopped strength training about four months ago for that very reason.

I’m kind of mad at myself. I know how important strength training is, and how it helps my running. I go around telling everyone how important it is! My mistake was that I didn’t make the time to play with my routines, change them up and make them more interesting. It got boring and I’d think ‘hey, I could be out running in the park right now’ and so that’s what I would do instead.

Over the past 16 weeks or so I’ve just been running and here’s what has happened to my training and fitness:

  • My tricky lower back began acting up–a lot.
  • Calf and lower leg injuries flared up after months and months of no injuries.
  • Loss of muscle definition/tone (although I weigh less—more on that later).
  • Less running overall because all of the above.

I remember how fabulous and strong I felt when I had a balanced fitness schedule. My running was better and I think I looked better too- I like a little definition.

I’m now back on track and treating myself like a client- making strength training interesting, challenging and fresh and making it part of my overall fitness program again.

Whether it’s strength training or cardio, boredom and repetition can set in and make you not want to continue. That’s definitely not what we want! You need to have balance in your workouts and you need to have fun and be challenged. I’ve listed some tips below that you can use yourself to make things more interesting:

  • Turn a regular weight training session into a circuit session and incorporate some cardio. If you go to the gym you could do cycle or running intervals in between sets.
  • Try changing your routine by super-setting or doing pyramid sets, etc.
  • Use different equipment. This goes for cardio too. Try rowing, or cycling if you usually run and vice versa.
  • Do some of your exercises on a stability ball or bosu to add extra challenge.
  • Change your cardio workouts around so you do some intervals, low heart rate training, sprinting, etc.
  • Try a class.
  • Get a personal trainer to boss you around occasionally!

One thing I have done differently with my own program is that I’ve put a wide variety of routines in rotation. It will work well for me because there are so many variables that I can change it will take a while for any boredom to surface!

I change my running routines primarily by training different heart rate ‘zones’ for a set amount of time each week; plus I just love running outdoors. I don’t think there will ever be a time when I’m bored of it. It’s good for body and soul.