You've been faithful to your word. You head to the gym as soon as you get off work. You've got your routine down pat: cardio and strength training. This has been your routine since the beginning of the year. For the first couple of months, it was fun. You had fire in your belly. You had power. You had energy. You were making gains.
But now, it's all over. About one month ago, something changed. Nowadays it's become harder to make time for exercise. You can barely get through a 30 minute workout without daydreaming about something else. Exercise isn't fun anymore. What happened? It's simple, really. You're bored.
Change Your Routine To Keep Workouts Interesting
Activities that were once heaps of fun lose their appeal when boredom sets in. The way to alleviate boredom is to shake things up. When your workouts go from amusement to chore, it's time to make some changes. When you come to expect the same old thing to happen again and again, the lack of surprise dulls enthusiasm. Check out this routine:
Mon - Fri: morning jog, evening upper body resistance training using machine weights
Sat & Sun: off
This is a terrible routine. This is what I call a "cruise control" routine - you experience early gains with no plan for where you'll wind up. You might feel good early on but it would be short-lived, boredom would set in before long. There's too much emphasis on upper body training and not enough variation in cardio exercise. A better routine would be this:
Mon. : morning jog, evenings chest, triceps, biceps, shoulders using machines and free weights
Wed. : morning jog, evenings legs, glutes, upper back using free weights and machines
Fri. : morning jog, evenings abdominals, lower back using free weights and machines
Tues & Thurs.: off
Sat. & Sun. : morning jog only
The above is an example of a split routine - the workout is more varied, strength training is shifted from five days per week to a three day schedule with exercises that target specific muscle groups. Cardio workouts continue five days per week, but taking two days off during the middle of the week.
Vary Your Cardio Routine
I used jogging in the above two examples to illustrate how cardio could be successfully incorporated into a strength and conditioning program. Cardio exercise is good for the body, a mere 150 minutes per week doing some form of aerobic activity can prevent cancer. But you might lose interest if you're constantly doing the activity over and over again.
The body quickly adapts to repetitive action and learns to conserve energy reducing the physiological benefits of the exercise. You can prevent this from happening by choosing from different aerobic activities. Here's an example of one such cardio program:
Week 1 - Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat., Sun. activity: 30 minutes of walking
Week 2 - Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat., Sun. activity: 30 minutes of bicycling
Week 3 - Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat., Sun. activity: 30 minutes of stair climbing
Week 4 - Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat., Sun. activity: 30 minutes of elliptical training
Week 5: Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat., Sun. activity: 30 minutes of jogging
Week 6 - Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat., Sun. activity: repeat week 1
Each week you perform a different exercise repeating the cycle every six weeks. This accomplishes a couple of things: it keeps the body guessing, and gives you a mental change of pace. Bear in mind that these are merely examples of the many different aerobic activities that you can choose from.
Vary Your Strength Training Workouts To Maximize Gains and Relieve Boredom
You should make regular adjustments to your strength training program. Three day splits and four day splits are very important for developing strength and mass. This is because you're targeting certain muscle groups on pre-selected days. But every six weeks, you should consider rotating out some exercises while adding in new ones or de-loading the amount of weights lifted.
For example, every six weeks the flat bench press can be briefly rotated out for the decline bench press. This allows you to target the middle pecs for first six weeks, and the lower chest for the next six weeks. Another way to approach it is to alternate these every other week; this causes muscle confusion and promotes strength gains. There are other ways you can vary your exercise routine. Take a look at this tip from the Medical University of South Carolina regarding a periodization training routine:
- vary the number of sets you perform each week
- vary the amount of rest time between sets
- vary the order of exercises performed
I hope that you take home at least one message from this post: exercise doesn't have to be boring. Mix it up to keep things interesting. Remember to consult your physician before starting any nutrition of fitness program.
Do you have any tips that have helped you to keep your workouts interesting? Tell us about it in the comments.
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"What Should You Do If You're Bored With Your Gym Workout?" copyright 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy. All Rights Reserved.