At the moment, I’m taking an extended break from my beloved running to avoid runner burnout before I begin marathon training in June. I just finished up a half marathon at the end of April, and was beginning to grow weary of having to run all the time…with that in mind, I decided it would thus be a good idea to reacquaint myself with the equipment at the gym. However, instead of just committing myself to 45 minutes of monotonous, moderate-paced cardio every day, I’ve decided to switch things up and really challenge myself during my workouts instead of doing the same-old, same-old. I’m hoping that if I build up some strength and cross-train, it will make me less prone to injuries during marathon training.
Yes, yes, I know. Working out at the gym can be boring and torturous. But it can also offer a variety of new opportunities and challenges that will make your monotonous routine exciting again!
When I went to the gym today, I spent 30 minutes on the elliptical and 15 on the treadmill. But did I just plod along for those 45 minutes? Heck no! I followed a specific workout for those 30 minute that forced me to do intervals and get my heartrate up. Before embarking on this month of “gym challenges,” I know that I would have plodded along for those 45 minutes at a steady state…it would have been easy, and I probably would have been able to read a magazine and catch up on my celeb gossip. But does doing what you find comfortable really going to improve my fitness? No. Does that challenge my body? No. Not to say that steady state sessions aren’t needed, but if that’s all your routine consists of, then it’s time to change things up!
My tips for avoid boredom at the gym:
- Have a plan! Write down a workout on a notecard to take along with you to the gym. You can a bunch of great ones off of The Fitnessista. You can also make your own. Just remember to challenge yourself with a variety of speeds, resistances, and inclines! Intervals are a great challenge that makes the time fly by as well…
- Don’t read while you workout. I’m guilty of this one, but I notice that I never get a really amazing workout if I choose to read a magazine while on the elliptical. I get distracted from trying to push myself, and my workout suffers as a result.
- Don’t spend more than 30 minutes at one machine. I’ve noticed that if I commit myself to 50 minutes on the elliptical, I will get bored after 25 minutes and just “phone in” the rest of my workout. To keep your concentration high, you might want to switch machines after 30 minutes, and have a particular challenge for each machine. For example, you can do 20 minutes of intervals on the elliptical followed by 10 minutes of steady state on the treadmill and then finish off with 15 minutes of hill work on the stairmaster. Sometimes, I just like to go from one elliptical to another if only to get a new vantage point for the rest of my workout. Subdividing your workout like this makes it go by faster!
- Incorporate strength and cardio into one session. Mix plyometric exercises (which I both love and hate with a fiery passion…) with strength training to create a workout that simultaneously tones and burns calories!
- Sign up for a new exercise class. This is an easy way to have someone else guide you along on a workout…just like having your own trainer! 🙂
- Try doing a circuit featuring bootcamp-style moves. These exercises are tried and true, and will challenge your muscular endurance. Check out nhershoes.com for some quality bootcamp workouts.
Bottom line for avoid gym boredom? Challenge yourself, have fun, and mix it up!
Lunch today was delicious. I had a sandwich with 2 oz. brie and 2T Crofter’s American jam on two slices of Ezekiel Spouted Grains Sesame bread.
I love this flavor combination. Brie has a very distinct flavor, and the tartness of the Crofter’s jam acts as the perfect compliment. You don’t need much else on a sandwich if you have two elements with such strong flavors.
To get in my veggies, I had a side salad consisting of spring greens, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots.
I made a dressing to accompany it consisting of 1t EVOO, 1t honey, and 1t red wine vinegar. It was simple enough to allow each of these flavors to shine through!
To round it off, Ienjoyed some strawberries. All together now:
A lunch fit for a queen…or an AmeriCorps worker! 🙂
Afternoon snacky was the rest of my Dr. Krackah stash plus some pistachios.
What are your best tips for beating boredom at the gym?