I did two new things today: I took a hip-hop cardio class and I worked out in the afternoon instead of in the morning. Neither one of these things seem like a big deal to most people, but I am such a creature of habit; If I have to deviate much from my routine I get a little nervous. It's not that I think the sky will fall if I don't stick to the plan, but I know what works in my life and I have the management of it down to a science.
Except lately, I'm in a rut. I just don't have the sort of enthusiasm I am used to having. I go to the gym faithfully, but I haven't been as energized by it. The thing with a rut is that the longer you stay in it, the deeper it grows and the more entrenched you become. The best way to get out of a rut is to deliberately do something different. Ruts happen at the gym just like they happen in relationships, careers, or anywhere else. Going to the gym at a different time than usual means seeing new people. Taking a cardio class instead of doing a machine workout means creating a new experience for my body, too.
So, if you are in a rut, or if you just think that variety is the spice of life, try these 10 tips for shaking things up:
- Skip TV. Just for one night. You can do it, can't you? Instead of the usual couch fare, try listening to music, or reading a book - even surfing the Internet to read up on something that you've always been curious about. TV is a passive activity that can drain your energy, so take a break once in a while. You'll hear all about the greatest loser, the amazing race, the newest idol and the worst chef when you hit the streets in the morning.
- Change your workout time. Try it for one day. If you like it, you might decide to switch it up once or twice a week. After all, the best way to be rut-less is to not get into one in the first place.
- Tuna, tuna, tuna. I eat it every day for lunch. It's easy, cheap, and full of protein. But I could stand to take a few minutes on the weekend to prepare some new foods to take to work with me. Are you in a nutrition rut? Shake it up by eating at different times, or trying one of those "great meals in 30 minutes" recipes you see in every magazine. (Personally, it takes me 30 minutes just to heat up the oven, and I don't really like to cook, so these become "mediocre meals in 40 minutes" - but at least its something new.)
- Drive an alternate route. Whether you're headed to the gym, the office, school, or the mall - if your car can get there by itself, it's time to take a mini-adventure by staying off of the expressway and taking the side streets. New sights, sounds, and patterns will get your senses stimulated.
- Try a different exercise routine. This can be as radical as going for a run outside instead of on the treadmill or as simple as trying preacher curls instead of the same old dumbell curls. This kind of variety is good for your mind and your body.
- Get a guest pass to an alternate gym. You don't have to switch, but spending a week or two at a gym other than the one you go to every day can provide a much needed change of pace and scenery. I've been visiting a new gym this week, and I admit that I felt a bit uncomfortable and confused (especially trying to navigate the shower with a group of women who clearly have their group routine down pat) - but the new faces and new options energize me.
- Say "hi" and smile at someone who you see everyday but have never spoken to. It's amazing how many times we simply pass right by someone who is a part of our daily routine, even if it's that withdrawn web developer who lives in his office crouched behind his computer monitor. He's got to get up sooner or later, and when he does, ask him how he's doing today. That'll shake things up for both of you.
- Spend a day in your pajamas. This is a luxury we only usually indulge in when we're sick, but it can be oh, so sweet to know that you don't have to go anywhere or do anything for just one day. You might be surprised at how willing you are to get back to the old routine after a true day of rest and relaxation.
- Let someone do something nice for you. Most people (especially most women, I dare say) are more than willing to make the call, schedule the meeting, pick the kids up from practice, clean the bathroom, run the report, listen to the client vent, give up the best elliptical, make the cupcakes, or do inventory. Giving someone else the reins is much more difficult for most of us. But try it. There is a certain grace that comes with letting someone else be the giver for a change.
- Start a journal writing practice. Take 10 minutes a day and write in a journal. Write about your life, your routine, the people in it, and how you feel about and respond to them. You'll begin to see patterns that you didn't notice before and this new awareness will give you the power to live with greater integrity. If you're not into self-analysis, you can just use your journal to record your workouts and meals, or as a strategy to get you through tough food cravings. (See BodyWizards.com to download the free BodyWizards Craving Survival Kit.)
Julie Scipioni McKown is a certified personal trainer, and a physique transformation champion. Her e-book, Body Wizardry: Releasing the Champion Within is now available for the Kindle ebook reader. Don't have a Kindle? Get yours here.
Consult with your physician or health-care provider before commencing any new exercise, nutrition, or supplementation program, particularly if you use prescription or over-the-counter medications, or if you are being treated by a health-care provider for any chronic or medical condition. No representations are made about the results you may achieve from following the information here; as every individual is unique, there are no typical results that you can expect.
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.