27 July 2011

Ways to Keep Workouts Fun

One of the worst parts of working out is burn out.  It happens to even the toughest/strongest/most determined athletes.  Personally, somedays I'm totally into weight lifting and feel like I could do it all the time, yet other days it is absolutely the last thing I want to do.  Usually my desire to workout correlates with how frequently I've done a certain form of exercise.  In order to prevent burnout and boredom, I try to switch it up!  I'm constantly trying to discover and search out new forms of exercise, but I definitely have my favorites that I return to time and time again.

Emilia's Favorite Type's of Exercise:
Weight Lifting
Walking (hey, it counts!)
Ice Skating

Even within these different ways to get my move on, I try to mix it up.  I don't always do the same weight lifting routine and challenge myself to continuously lift heavier weights.  When running, I don't always take the same route or run for the same amount of time.  I don't do the same yoga routine, or take the same bike path.  Diversity is the spice of your exercise life ;)

The main thing you need to remember when trying to keep workouts fun is the delicate balance between variation, exertion and rest.  At first, this may seem easy, but often ends up being difficult to put into practice.  No one wants to do the same routine over and over again, it gets boring, we zone out and stop pushing ourselves.  Why would you choose to do something if you didn't enjoy it?  I know I sure wouldn't!  Not only will you stop wanting to work out, but even when you DO choose to exercise, you won't be getting the same quality as if you tried a new harder routine.

Exertion helps us get the most out of our workouts.  I know that it doesn't matter how long or far or fast I run on a given day, as long as I try my hardest and exert myself appropriately on THAT day, I'm good!  The same goes for weight lifting, you want to increase the amount of weight you use in order to exert yourself physically AND mentally.  If you follow a program that says 'Use five pound weights!' you will, inevitably, reach a plateau where all you can lift are five pounders that no longer feel heavy enough.  When I exert myself after a workout, I certainly feel much prouder, and eager to start on the next one!

The last pillar of keeping your workouts fun is, for me, the hardest one: rest!  Everyone needs rest, but sometimes it can be extremely difficult to admit that you need a rest day.  If you have variation and exert yourself in activities that you genuinely enjoy, you most likely won't want to rest.  I used to have a scheduled rest day in my week, but now I just take one when I need it.  Some days I'm just too tired to actually work out.  That is perfectly okay!  Listening to what your body needs and wants will help you to continue having fun as you exercise.

Sometimes, even when you try all of the above tactics, you just get stuck in an exercise rut.  New activities may be fun, but they don't hold your attention.  Sometimes, you just get plain tired of exercising!  If something like this happens, it may be time to take a break longer than just a rest day.  There is nothing wrong, I repeat nothing wrong, with take a rest week or even a rest month.  Most likely after taking a sustained chunk of time "off" you will be excited to start up with your activities again.  There are certain times in our lives where we need space to breathe.  Besides, you never want exercise or workouts to get in the way with living life.

Finally, rewards can be a great way to keep up incentive, motivation and help you push yourself harder.  Maybe you really want to run a 5k, 10k or half-marathon, but you also really want a pair of new sneakers.  Get them!  They'll help you train if you are super excited to go out in your lovely new sneak's!  The same goes with other rewards.  New gym memberships, books, baking time, dinner out, find some kind of reward you really enjoy and use it to help push your workouts and keep them interesting!

What is your favorite workout?  What do you do when you find yourself in a workout rut?

1 comment:

  1. My favorite workout is jogging and biking exercise too. My favorite outfit? A nike runing short and the white turtleneck sweater. I exercise every morning because I love to see the sunrise.