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Bored with your workouts?

Boring workout. PHOTO: Gary Burchell/Getty Images

Let’s face it, workouts can get boring and motivation can start to wane. If you are bored of your workouts then your body is probably bored of them too! Don’t think you are alone if you just can’t seem to muster up the motivation to work out today, tomorrow or even anytime this week.

I used to have this problem. I saw going to the gym as a chore and, quite frankly, boring, till I decided to focus on activities I truly enjoy. Often, getting started can be the hardest step to take. If you find that you are getting bored with your exercise program then making a few changes can inject a fresh lease of life into your workouts and really get you going again. Here are some ways you can switch up your exercise routine to make them more fun:

Use a timer
Training with a timer can keep you honest and motivated. Rather than just burning through 10 squats or 10 push ups, try setting your timer for 60 seconds and then seeing how many squats or push ups you can perform in that time. Record your result and then try and beat it next time.

Be your own challenge
Workout challenges are a great way to motivate you. CrossFit became highly successful because they laid out many of their workouts in a challenge format. So, a simple challenge may be 1500 metres on a rowing machine, 20 barbell squat and presses, and 20 chin ups. Complete in the quickest time possible and then try and beat that time next workout. The only person you should be competing against should be yourself.

Do everything only once
Repetition is often what makes many people get bored quickly. To avoid the repetition, perform more exercises in one giant circuit. So rather than performing 4 exercises for 3 circuits, perform 12 different exercises instead. Giant circuits are great because you know that once you are done with an exercise then you don’t have to do it again.

Create movement variety
Did you know there is more than one way to perform a squat? You can side-step and squat, squat and press, squat and rotate, squat on one leg, jump squat etc. To add more fun to your workout why not perform three types of different squats rather than three sets of the same. Here’s a nice progression: 1st round Yoga Squats, 2nd round Dumbbell Squat and Press, 3rd round Jump Squats. For me, sports give me the variety of movement I need. On the basketball court, I’m pretty much moving my body in all the ways it can.

Train with a partner
Training with a friend can be motivational especially if they are more motivated than you. Partner training is best when you take full advantage of it. One good method is: You go, I go. So, for example, your partner performs 20 kettlebell swings, then you perform 20 Swings, then your partner etc. You can do the same for sprints, swimming laps etc. Plus, your partner can drag you out of your house on the days you just don’t feel like it, and vice versa.

Get outside
There is nothing more invigorating than training outside in nature. Have you ever tried a few hill sprints? What about a nice bodyweight workout under a tree? Go for a swim in the sea or outdoor pool. A change of environment can be all you need to freshen things up.

Switch equipment
I spent years training with a skipping rope, then I tried boxing and I was hooked. Later I picked up some kettlebells and couldn’t get enough of them. Soon, I got addicted to the rowing machine. There are so many options out there so start to mix them up. Workouts are so much more fun if you use a different piece of equipment each time.

Back to basics
You don’t need to do lots and lots of exercise in order to get the benefits. Some days, performing just one exercise well and to your full capacity is all you need. If you lift well, then 5 x 5 barbell deadlifts will leave you recovering for days. 10 minutes of kettlebell snatches will blow your mind. 100 bodyweight squats is a great start to the day! Sometimes you just need to keep it simple!

Play more
Who said workouts are all about running or lifting weights? Try one hour of kayaking for some great core engagement. Practice performing some handstands or forward rolls to reconnect with your natural movement skills. Improve your balance by working out with a bosu ball. Go climbing with a friend or just walk in the hills.

Exercise and workouts should not be a chore. Find something you love and then do more of it. Human movement is a natural part of our evolution, it’s deep within us you just need to let it out!


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