Do you currently enjoy your workouts? Is it a challenge to be active during the day? It is estimated that nearly 80 percent of adult Americans do not get the recommended amounts of exercise each week. This statistic really isn’t surprising if you think about all the perceived barriers to engaging in exercise. If we already do weekly tasks that aren’t particularly enjoyable, then why would we add on another to our week? Let’s consider making a few changes so that our workout time naturally becomes more of a treat and less of a task.
Let’s define a workout as the amount of time you spend per week in the gym or at home with your strength and cardio exercises. Daily activity would be the time you spend moving your body throughout the day (walking, taking the stairs, playing with your kids). Both are important for overall health, but we are going to focus on purely improving your workouts so they become habit.
Three Ways to Get Out of an Exercise Rut
1. Choose Exercises That Give You Results
It is extremely frustrating to focus on improving your physique week after week without noticing physical benefits. You might even begin to doubt if the time you are dedicating to your workouts matter. There are exercises that are scientifically proven to help individuals lose body fat and preserve lean muscle tissue: safe resistance training, cardio intervals, restorative yoga.
- Resistance Training
Once you have proper form for body weight exercises, start safely adding and increasing resistance. Start off with lighter weight and once you reach 15-20 repetitions with solid form, bump up the weight to challenge your body.
- Cardio Intervals
Once you can sustain 30 minutes of steady state cardio, start adding your intervals. You can safely do this by increasing the intensity (resistance and/or speed) for 30 seconds to a minute then lower the intensity and recover for a few minutes.You can add intervals to almost any form of cardio exercise! These short bursts of anaerobic activity will stimulate your body to release human growth hormone, which helps to burn fat while maintaining lean muscle.
- Restorative Yoga
Any form of restorative mind and body exercises are going to be beneficial to weight improvement by relieving stress and promoting muscle relaxation.
2. Personalize Aspects of Your Workout
We all have different goals, schedules, personalities and interests. The type of exercises that one individual deems satisfying might not have the same effect for you. It is important that you get “outside your comfort zone” to reach a higher fitness level, but make sure it is through your own free will. For example, if you are more social then try taking a group exercise class where you can exercise with a group of friends. If you look forward to alone time then charge up the iPod and go for a walk or run. Instead of reinventing the wheel, ask yourself what exercise do you already enjoy doing that can become a weekly habit.
3. Change Up Your Routine Every Six Weeks
They say variety is the spice of life! Make sure that this holds true when it comes to your workouts. Without change you might find yourself dreading the boredom of your workouts, which might lead to loss of motivation. Additionally, your body can adapt to the same caloric burn and muscle exertion as it becomes more efficient at finishing the exercises. If you always run three miles, eventually your body will become very good at running three miles and the weight improvement will plateau. Mark on your calendar and make sure after six to eight weeks you increase the intensity, add a variation or change the exercise all together.
Keep in mind that the majority of your body composition is a result of your diet. The rest is determined by how you effectively manage your sleeping patterns and stress levels, how you exercise and other lifestyle factors. Improving your workout is one of the many ways to boost your weight improvement plan.
Written By: Mallory McCormick, Weigh and Win Health Coach