You hit the gym every day. You genuinely love the exertion, and the sweet endorphin buzz really is the only to relax after a hard day on the job. You value physical fitness, you’re disciplined, dedicated, and being healthy and in shape is just part of who you are.
However, there is just one problem: Along with being fit and in shape, you are also bored to tears.
No longer is it, “I want to go to the gym,” so much as, “I have to go to the gym,” and your routine has become just that–a routine.
In fact, you could probably remove a few letters from the word “routine” and simply change it to “rut” (as in, you are in a…).
Sure, you have done all you can to alleviate this. You’ve added music, varied the time of day you go, and experimented with every single workout device and exercise class the gym has to offer.
The problem is, there are only so many workout devices and classes available, and you’ve used each and every one of them ad nauseam.
Boredom For Dinner Again?
Here’s the thing. Any workout routine, be it hitting the gym, running on the beach or you-name-it will get boring in time (okay, maybe not wild bull riding, but who has time or the bone structure for that?). You are, after all, doing basically the same thing day in and day out, week in and week out, which gets monotonous, no matter what.
But do you also eat the exact same thing every day?
Of course you don’t!
So, why would you not add choices to how you work out? Let’s put is this way: Life is simply too short for monotony.
Change it Up!
So, just as when you have had enough of the same-old-same-old for dinner every night, you can also change up what’s on the menu of your workout routine.
Think of it this way–you have that hour-or-so of time allotted into your day to go to the gym, why not use it for a different activity?
In fact, not only can adding different workouts and active sports to your week reignite exercise passions you may have forgotten about, but it may also help you improve your fitness .
The Benefits of Change
Beyond the obvious benefits of making your workouts interesting again, there are other reasons to change your exercise routine.
In fact it has been shown that changing the kind of exercise you do each day can:
- Reduce exercise “plateaus,” thereby helping you gain (rather than just maintain–or even lose) fitness.
- Build muscle.
- Help avoid repetitive use injuries.
- Help with weight loss and body fat reduction.
- Help mental clarity through the learning of new athletic skills.
As you can see, changing how you exercise is not only good for your motivation, but for you physiologically as well!
Wow, Sounds Great–But How Much More Will it Cost Me?
First of all, don’t think you have to give up your gym membership and invest in a whole new set of silly workout clothes just to get variety into your week.
In fact, to get the most from your efforts, try doing a few different types of workouts throughout the week, and then scheduling a day or two in the gym for strength training as well. This way, you will still maintain the benefits of weight training (muscle gain, fat burn, injury prevention and more), as well as help relieve you of boredom, and the combination of workouts will ultimately complement each other and help you become more fit.
Plus, a gym membership can be well worth the cost during the winter, when even the most hard-core workout junkies stay in out of the wet and cold.
The really good news? So far as cost and time commitment, there really doesn’t have to be any excessive amounts of either.
Take running for instance. In order to get started, all you need are some running shoes (which you may already have), shorts (likely that you do have) and a place to run (that would be right outside your door).
The best part? It takes less than an hour to get those endorphins humming, and a quick three mile run can both start and stop right at your doorstep, meaning no need to get to and from the gym–not to mention the luxury of using your own private shower.
Want to shake it up further? When was the last time you rode that cruiser-bike in the back of your garage? No, you don’t need to go all-in with dorky clothes and the lightest $5000 bike you can get just to go for a ride. For one thing, unless you are pinning on a race number each week and getting paid to do so, there is absolutely nothing which a top of the line race bike will give you over a good pump on that beautifully clunky machine of yours.
True, you may not go as fast on your balloon-tired cruiser, but you can get just as much of a workout on it. Crank it up to the top of a local hill and then bomb down the other side–you may just feel like a kid all over again! Find a trail and pedal like a banshee while you see where it goes–spontaneously breaking into a Peewee Herman laugh is fully allowed.
There is also open water swimming, should you be so lucky as to live near a body of water of acceptable size. However, swimming may be a little less convenient, and depending on where you live and what season it is, there may be limits to when you can swim, as well as the possibility of needing to invest in a wet suit.
That being said, many urban communities have indoor public pools which you can use at a low cost. Plus, since pools usually schedule lap swimming during a designated time of day, it can become kind of a “Breakfast Club” type atmosphere, which is pretty fun and a great way to make friends.
So give swimming a try as well–you just may end up hooked!
But I’m Still Wanting Something More…..
Just doing a new exercise on a different day still not good enough? Still finding that you need even more motivation?
Perhaps looking into competition may be just the ticket. There are many amateur sports leagues which offer a variety of team sports for nearly any level and age group.
Sure, there may be a larger investment and commitment, but then again, isn’t commitment a form of motivation? Plus, the fun factor can be well worth it.
Most cities have softball, soccer and even hockey leagues; and even if you don’t find what you want in the rec leagues, there are other amateur league organizations for anything from baseball, basketball, track and field, lacrosse and more. Try going to the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to see what leagues may be available in your area–who knows, you just may find a sport for each season!
There are also endurance sports, which, though rewarding and typically a fun community to be part of, are also usually a large time and equipment investment.
Still, just think of how it would feel to set a goal of running fifty miles of mountain trails in less than a day, training for it, completing the event–and then training to do it even faster next time. Setting goals of this nature can be the best motivation of all–plus endurance sports tend to be performed out in nature, making them even more enjoyable and addicting.
Why Leave the Sandlot?
Lastly–and perhaps most fun of all–why not get your friends together for a pickup game, or even compete on a platform such as Strava? Not only is this about as much fun as you can have while getting a workout, it also takes things down to the lowest cost of entry and lets you enjoy sports in their purest form.
Pickup games can be as simple as showing up at a local basketball court, or things can be organized on a specific day each week. Baseball games where the catcher calls balls and strikes, volleyball matches on your choice of surfaces, or a weekly soccer match at the local schoolyard are all a matter of either calling friends and organizing, or even just showing up at a field with a ball, etc, and seeing who wants to play.
And the best part? You will be getting a fantastic workout, all while you feel like a kid again. There is nothing so satisfying and social as playing hard until it is too dark to see–you just may find that you will spend your week anticipating your weekly match!
And if you do choose a more solitary sport such as distance running or cycling, going with something like Strava can be just the key for setting performance goals and seeing how you do against others. Yes, it can be a bit of an investment, but when you factor in the cost of race fees and all the travel involved to get to races, it can be worth it.
Being fit should not feel like a chore, and just going to the same gym workout or exercise class day in and day out will make it just that.
Instead, think of your daily exercise as something which should be fun, and can take nearly any form, so long as you are physically working your muscles and cardiovascular system. Due to this, you may find that there is an entire “other gym” right outside your door–no membership or spandex required!
Plus, just as you may sometimes find yourself having waffles for dinner, since it is not only a change of menu, but it reminds you of being a kid again, why not take the same approach to your fitness? Go grab your ball and glove out of the closet, call a couple of buddy’s, and go hit the ball field.
Or just go for a quick run–it won’t take long, and think of the sunset you can enjoy at the turnaround.
You won’t regret it–last one outside is a rotten egg!