Switch your workout to stay on track
Has your exercise routine gotten—well—routine? Boring exercise routines are not just monotonous; they are a signal that your workout isn't working for you any more.
“By the time your mind is bored, your body is already bored,” says personal trainer Karli Taylor. “A bored body is a sure sign of a plateau and change is highly unlikely, until you make a change in your routine.”
When people are doing the same routine week in and week out, they quickly lose interest in it, and they are more likely to put it off, says Lisa Woods, a certified personal trainer.
To ban boredom from your workout, make some simple changes in your exercise routine.
“Changing just one variable will make a world of difference,” says Taylor. Changing the number of repetitions on a weight training routine or the intensity of your cardio routine can be enough to re-stimulate your muscles, she says.
You can also change the order of your exercises or increase the number of sets you do, says Woods.
Another possibility? “Start to look at your workout as a circuit,” Woods says. “For example, if you have a total of 10 exercises that you do, and ordinarily you break it up into three exercises each, doing three sets of, say, 15 repetitions, change it to a 10-exercise circuit. You would do all 10 exercises back to back, take a break and then do all 10 exercises all over again until you have completed two-three rotations.”
Adding new equipment is another way to add challenge to that part of your routine that's gotten tedious. To keep abdominal work interesting, you can add a coreboard, Bosu, medicine ball, stability ball or kettlebells, says Woods. “Equipment for ab work is primarily for that purpose—to beat boredom,” says Taylor. “Physiologically speaking, there is no need for any equipment at all, but stability balls, Bosus and medicine balls are relatively inexpensive for home use and can be used for more than just ab work.” For upper and lower body work that’s anything but boring, bring in resistance bands. “Bands are always a great change from dumb-bells or weight machines,” says Taylor.
To change your cardio, take advantage of different cardio machines, says Woods. You can work on different machines on different days, or even different machines within the course of one workout; for example, spread your 60 minutes out over the treadmill, bike and elliptical machine, doing 20 minutes on each. Or you can train at different levels on one machine. Called interval training, this is a popular way of getting the results you want in less time. On a treadmill, you could alternate between walking, jogging and hill climbing, Woods says.
Of course, gyms and fitness machines aren’t for everyone, and if you find yourself getting bored with the same old drill, you may need to find a new approach to exercise. You might consider taking a class or getting involved in a new activity that appeals to you.
©2010/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Keeping tabs on health
So you don’t want to cheat on your fitness diet? Well, your BlackBerry isn’t a smartphone for nothing. Download and install a few free health apps and you may be on your way to a smarter, healthier lifestyle. Unlike the usual smartphone widgets, which are tuned to mechanically display “quit smoking” or “go on a diet”, the BlackBerry apps actually take down personal data and help chalk out fitness regimens. The latest version (released this month) of Gym Technik NextGen, a free-to-download app, by www.crackberry.com is popular and acts as a one-on-one gym instructor. It allows you to build your own workouts using the Gym Technik exercise library and select a range of workouts organized according to your goals and needs. Another favourite is My Personal Health Record (www.myphr.ca/mobile), which maintains personal fitness charts and gives health tips.
You can buy similar apps for your iPhone from the iPhone online store. Choose from SELF Workouts or MyCoach.
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