Exercise ruts are a real thing! If you don’t love your workout, you aren’t as likely to…
1. Do it.
2. Stick with it.
At Momentum, we want you to see you achieve your fitness goals. Not give up on them because you aren’t loving what you’re doing!
No one jumps out of bed in the morning, throws off the covers, and dashes off with excitement to do something they dread. If you want to be a regular exerciser, you need to find exercises that you love. You won’t have to drag yourself to do something you love. But there’s one other secret to committing to exercise and loving your workouts long-term. You have to make sure you that you establish a good routine and avoid getting into an exercise rut.
Motivation is what gets you started. Commitment is what keeps you going. Being flexible in your approach is what will get you there.
So what’s the difference between a rut and a routine?
A routine is all about established habits. A rut is about feeling stuck. And yes, you can have a routine without being stuck in a rut. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the differences between being stuck in a rut, or having a routine:
What Does an Exercise Rut Look Like?
If you do the same form of exercise all the time, you might get bored. And worse, you might not see any results. Remember the famous Albert Einstein quote? “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Love that. Your body gets used to the same old workout if you do it all the time (and especially if you do it the same way all the time). You don’t have to give up on your favourite exercise, just mix it up.
A rut means your workout has become easy for your body and no longer challenges your body. In order to see weight loss, improve muscle tone, or increase your cardiovascular endurance, you’ve got to change things up.
How To Get Out of an Exercise Rut
If you are only doing steady state cardio, add weight training. Alternatively, you can vary your intensity. You can mix up your intensity in multiple ways. If you typically run a 10-minute mile, try running a nine-minute mile. Push yourself a little bit. If you take group fitness classes, focus more on your technique, put more effort into the class, or use heavier hand weights. When you change, it will lead to change in your body.
Alternate bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity. You can add intervals to any activity. If you wanted to add intervals to a walk, you could mix up walking at a leisurely pace by two to three minutes of full-on power walking. You will burn more calories and surprise your body too.
Crush Your Comfort Zone
Venture out of your comfort zone and try a new form of exercise. Even if you love what you currently do, chances are there’s another form of exercise you will love too. If you love more than one form of exercise, it will be easier to keep your weekly routine mixed up.
Add some time to your workout. If you are used to working out for 30 minutes, try 45 minutes. Alternatively, you can add a group fitness class that focuses on muscle building, or use your own body weight to do some muscle-building moves. If you are in a sedentary rut, go on a quest to find one form of exercise that appeals to you. Devote one month to trying different forms until you find a workout you can’t live without. You can also grab a friend or family member to exercise with you for accountability and the social time.
What does an exercise routine look like?
If you’ve always wanted to be one of those regular exercisers who commit to working out, the key is establishing a healthy routine. View routine as an outline or plan for your healthy lifestyle, but what you choose to do each day to meet that plan can change. A routine doesn’t mean every week looks the same, it just means you have healthy habits that are automatic.
How to Establish an Exercise Routine
Each day the question isn’t whether you are going to exercise, the question is: What exercise am I going to do? It’s exercise on auto-pilot. Make exercise part of your day. Take a form of exercise you love and keep it fresh by varying up the intensity, the duration or adding some intervals. Vary the exercise you do from day to day. Maybe you jog, walk, take yoga, do some body weight exercises and a HIIT class all in one week. Prevent yourself from getting stuck on just one form of exercise.
Ultimately, you want to come up with a system or framework for the amount of exercise you get each week, but what you do may vary. This could include devoting time to cardio and strength training or being open to change and new ideas. (Hint: Ask fitness friends what they do for exercise. You might stumble upon a new idea you love.)
At the end of the day, set some rules for yourself. Whether that means you commit to coming in every other day, or never missing a workout – like it’s an important meeting with yourself – set those rules, and commit to them. Say goodbye to that dreadful rut and love your fitness routine with these strategies. No longer will you have to devote so much time to wishing you could feel healthier because you will feel healthier!