Whether you’re a cross-fit junkie, dedicated triathlete or three-day-a-week treadmill walker, there’s one thing everyone who works out regularly has in common: you eventually get bored. After weeks or months of doing the same exercise, in the same place, at the same time, not only is your body no longer challenged, but your mind starts craving something more. The solution is simple. To get the most out of fitness, you’ve got to switch things up!
Here are some of the hottest workouts women everywhere are trying to beat boredom and stay in shape:
Body weight exercises. Remember those “old school” exercises you learned in high school P.E. class? Stationary squats, lunges, pushups, pull ups, leg lifts, crunches and donkey kicks may ring a bell. These back-to-basics moves are making a comeback for several reasons. They can be done anywhere, at any time. Minimal, or no, supplies are needed (I keep a set of Valeo Push Up Bars at home for pushups and dips). And, you can tailor your workout to be as low key or intense as you’d like. Concentration is key with body weight exercises, which makes them a great boredom buster. For best results, focus on feeling your muscles work as you use your own weight to challenge your body.
High intensity interval training (HIIT). I’ve mentioned this type of training in previous posts for its cardio benefits, but HIIT also works for strength training. HIIT involves performing an exercise at a high intensity for a short period, resting for a short period, then repeating. It’s typically a total-body workout, and it can be done in about 30 minutes—perfect if your schedule doesn’t allow a lot of time for exercise. You’ll want to keep your heart rate elevated and pay special attention to form and control to prevent injury. To keep track of progress, I like to wear a step and distance pedometer and monitor the number of calories I’ve burned.
Group personal training. Want to make exercise more fun instantly? Do it with a group! Group training has skyrocketed in popularity at gyms, not just because it’s entertaining, but because it helps cut fitness costs. Splitting the expense of a trainer makes quality instruction affordable and realistic, plus you’ll have the benefit of others to hold you accountable and provide support. Classes are usually limited in size, so you get plenty of personal attention, and stations are set up in order to keep everyone moving rather than standing around waiting for a turn.
Function training. Excellent for older adults, function training focuses on resistance, stretching, balancing and endurance exercises to help keep bones strong and help with everyday activities, such as climbing stairs. A program called Silver Sneakers, involving workouts focused on strength and flexibility, is available at many gyms.
Yoga. If you haven’t tried yoga yet, what are you waiting for? More than just twisting yourself into poses and breathing, yoga can be a great workout, helping to develop strength, flexibility and balance. Classes are available everywhere, from private studios to community centers to local libraries. You can also practice yoga at home. Get yourself a yoga mat and an instructional DVD such as Gaiam Yoga Conditioning or A.M. Yoga for Your Week to begin.
IFBB figure professional Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.