10 Tips to Get Out of Your Workout Rut

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Add intervals

If you have gotten used to moving at a standard pace, try adding 30 to 60 second bursts of high intensity.  For instance, if you always jog on the treadmill at seven mph, try increasing the incline and sprinting for 60 seconds.  Then drop it back to your regular pace, repeating this pattern five to 15 times throughout your workout.  Doing so will boost stamina and burn more calories.

Group fitness classes

Many gyms offer a variety of classes ranging from high-intensity training, such as kickboxing, to lower-intensity workouts, such as strength training and yoga, all for a flat fee.  Being in a group atmosphere and committing money upfront can help you stick with it and break out of your comfort zone.

Evaluate your diet

Doing thousands of crunches will not earn you six-pack abs if you aren’t eating the right foods.  Swap simple carbs, such as bagels and sugary treats, for fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein and lots of water.  Avoid rewarding yourself for a tough workout with a high-calorie sweet treat, as this can sabotage all your work and increase unhealthy cravings.

Take it outside

If you are a gym or studio buff, try moving your routine outside.  The change of scenery and new terrain can provide different challenges while stimulating your senses.  Try using a park bench to work on triceps dips, or use the sounds of a nearby stream to help meditate during a yoga sequence.

Sign up for a race

Pull together a team of friends and commit to joining a 10k or other race of choice.  A race can be a wonderful opportunity to raise money for a charity and to get you involved with your community, all while getting in shape.  And research shows that women train harder while exercising with friends.

Add strength training

It’s easy to get trapped into long cardio sessions when you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk, but adding weights to your cardio session can help you maximize time and burn more calories.  Break up your typical hour by adding eight-minute strength sessions three times throughout the workout. For instance, do some lunges and squats after a 20-minute run.

Do the exact opposite

For one week try doing the exact opposite style of workout than you usually do.  If you usually do yoga or Pilates, try a high intensity class like boot camp or kickboxing.  And if you usually have a high-energy routine, try taking a yoga class or swimming.

Make a playlist

Try creating a new upbeat playlist to boost your motivation and keep you pushing yourself through a workout.  Studies have shown that songs with 120 to 140 beats per minute can increase the effectiveness of a workout.

Add recovery time

If you’re pushing yourself every day of the week with cardio and weight training, give yourself a day of rest.  This doesn’t mean you have to be totally inactive, but try an active recovery such as gentle yoga, meditation, assisted stretching, foam rolling, or massage.  The added recovery time can help you push your muscles further during your normal workouts.

Try something totally new

Force yourself out of your comfort zone and try something totally out of the ordinary such as belly dancing, tai chi, or maybe even trapeze.  Make it a fun new outing with your friends or co-workers. You may even find a new hobby or workout to keep tricking your muscles.