Have you ever been starting your workout and just felt so unmotivated, so unfocused, and so completely bored? We all know that working out can be exhausting, but how can a workout that we were once so enthusiastic about suddenly seem so dull?
If your workout feels like a rut, you might stop feeling motivated to do it all together and that’s certainly not ideal. If you’re finding your workouts a bit lackluster, you should take steps today to overcome the mental hurdles that are holding you back. There are several factors that might be coming into play to keep you from overcoming a mental block.
You Have Had the Same Routine for Too Long
You Haven’t Taken Enough Time to Rest Between Workouts
You’re Going at It Alone
You Need a New Environment
You Aren’t Adding Elements to Make Your Workout Fun
A boring workout can quickly spell disaster, even for a seasoned athlete. It eventually happens to anyone who works out long enough, and so it’s important to realize if you’re feeling a bit unmotivated it is entirely normal. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to breathe life back into your workout and regain your enthusiasm.
Don’t despair if you feel like your workout has become a total snooze. Read on below to find out the top reasons your workout is feeling boring and the best advice for remedying the situation. Even with just some small tweaks, you can quickly regain your motivation and be eager to hop back into your workout session.
1. You Have Had the Same Routine for Too Long
For many of us, working out is built into our day as a necessary routine. We set our alarms and get up early for a run, or we pack our duffel bags and head straight to the gym after work to clock in a workout. Often, when we structure our days and segment aside time for a workout, we don’t have the additional time to come up with a new routine every day. It’s easier to just plan to do the same three sets of ten every day and repeat.
There can be a comfort to workout routines. Sometimes, knowing exactly what to expect can actually help motivate you to push through a difficult set or convince you it’s worth heading to the gym in the first place. But, after a while, that same comfortable routine can sabotage you.
A complete absence of innovation will eventually deaden your motivation. Most of us need at least a little spice and variety to keep things interesting and keep our minds engaged. In addition, repeating the same workout, week after week, will eventually result in you reaching a plateau. This means you won’t see any additional muscle formation or fat loss. You will simply maintain your current level and never get any farther.
In order to get your mind and body back on track, you’re going to need to introduce some variation into your workout. Read on to find out just how to do this.
How Do I Fix a Stale Workout Routine?
Just because your routine is getting a little too repetitive, it doesn’t mean you need to toss the entire thing out the window and start a new workout routine from scratch. Sometimes, the tiniest variations to your already established routine can be enough to revive your enthusiasm. One simple modification is to vary your approach to sets.
If you always complete the same amount of reps in a set, day-in, day-out, it can feel like a chore. Instead, try a varied scheme. This will help engage your muscles more and keep you more focused. Try starting with ascending reps. Perform sets with 5, 7, 9, then 12 reps per set. Alternatively, you can start with the highest rep count and gradually decline the number of repetitions per set.
If you’re a runner, try a different route or perform sprint variations of your current route. If you run at a consistent pace for the entire length, try significantly speeding up during segments and then jogging slowly to recover between segments. After a while, this can help you run at an overall faster pace when you return to a consistent run pace for your route.
If you routinely workout with machines, try performing your workout with free weights every other day. Not only do free weights provide a release from monotony, but they also subtly engage different muscles than while you’re working on machines. Holding a weight in free space has a different exertion demand than a machine, and often you need to be more attentive while using free weights in order to maintain good form and posture.
Maybe you’re well and truly stuck in a workout rut and the idea of changing your rep count or running style doesn’t seem to do the trick. In that case, look into signing up for a workout class. Exercise classes can vary significantly and so you are sure to find something completely new to you. If you aren’t a gym member or don’t want to pay for a class, there are lots of free workouts available to stream online.
2. You Haven’t Taken Enough Time to Rest Between Workouts
Sometimes, we can be so focused on the workout itself we forget the other aspects in our life that contribute to a successful workout session. Namely, the rest and recovery period between our sessions. This is the time our body uses to recuperate and it is essential to use this time to give our body the proper fuel it needs to continue to perform as well as adequate amounts of rest.
Know that your diet will affect your exercise. If you’re eating a doughnut for breakfast and chips from the vending machine for lunch, your evening workout is going to feel lackluster and you’ll be completely gassed before you’re even ten minutes into it. Do yourself a favor and avoid sugars and highly processed foods and reach for balanced, nutritious meals and snacks in order to give yourself a fighting chance.
In the same vein, if you are regularly not getting enough sleep, you are not going to have the energy to power through your exercise, both physically and mentally. Try to log at least eight hours of quality sleep each night. Your brain uses this time to reset and prepare for the next day, while your muscles use it to replenish and rebuild any areas of injury.
You need to give your body a chance to restore itself between workouts or else you will never be able to push to your full potential during workouts and you’ll be more likely to injure yourself. Remember not to push too hard, though. A lot of people fall into the flawed logic that working out more will undoubtedly result in more results, such as by doubling set numbers or the amount of days you hit the gym.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If you are pushing yourself too hard and trying to perform way more than what your body can handle, you’ll end up over-trained, exhausted, and unenthusiastic. Instead of spending endless hours working out, focus on reasonably timed segments of quality exercise and then give yourself a chance to recover in-between sessions.
3. You’re Going at It Alone
For some of us, working out is a solo venture. You log countless running miles by yourself or hit up the gym with your headphones in and perform your sets and then duck out. This is perfectly acceptable and, for some, it’s the only way to fit in quality workouts without getting distracted. For others, though, it may eventually lead to boredom in our routine.
Having a workout partner can be a source of motivation as well as entertainment. A friend can cheer us on or in some cases pose as competition and encourage us to try harder and achieve more.
Having another person working out with you will also inevitably add a level of spontaneity to every exercise session. You cannot always predict how another human being will perform or behave, so it can result in unexpected sources of motivation and focus.
The one downside to adding another person to your workout sessions is that it can also result in distraction if you aren’t careful. If you team up with someone who is more interested in catching up on the latest gossip or talking about last night’s episode of the new HBO drama rather than putting in some sets, you might find your workouts getting significantly less productive.
Read on below to find out some ways to work social aspects into your workout in order to rejuvenate your motivation without sabotaging your productivity.
How to Incorporate the Social Aspect into Working Out Without Getting Distracted
The key to successfully implementing social aspects into your workout without losing your focus is to find someone who has similar goals as you. If possible, it’s best to team up with someone who has a similar body type and level or experience as you, but this isn’t always necessary. Having the same goals will help you motivate each other and keep you both on track.
It can be helpful when establishing a workout routine with a potential partner to outline your goals and make sure you are both on the same page. A good workout buddy can help keep you accountable, as well as motivate you when you hit low points in your enthusiasm levels.
If you don’t have any friends that would make good workout partners, that’s okay! While working out, you might see other gym rats who are participating in similar routines. It never hurts to try to strike up a conversation with someone, especially if you see them nearly every day sweating alongside you. Even if it’s just a friendly hello, having a familiar face to look forward to greeting at the gym can be motivational.
Alternatively, you can sign up for a class or a club. A lot of cities offer running clubs, where you can join up with like-minded runners and make new friends to keep your running exciting. A lot of these clubs will offer varying styles of runs and different pace levels, so there is usually an option for any skill level.
Websites like meetup.com also offer opportunities to find workout groups in your area that share your interest. If having a one-on-one workout buddy is a bit intimidating, these groups can offer a great alternative to make a tedious routine feel a little more social and engaging. Usually, these groups are fairly up front about the balance between social and workout. Find the right vibe for your personal goals.
4. You Need A New Environment
Just as you can get stir crazy from sitting too long in your house or the office, you can get a bit distracted if you consistently work out in the same environment day after day. It can be all too easy to fall into a sleepwalker style approach to a workout when everything is far too familiar. If you’ve reached the point where even the thought of your gym or running route makes you want to yawn, it may be time to shake things up a bit.
A new environment gives you a new challenge and a change in perspective, even if you are performing the same routine. By introducing new stimuli to your senses, whether it be visual by seeing different people, or scent due to a different cleaning routine at a new gym, or even tactile by feeling the bounce of an unfamiliar mat or the grip of a weight, your brain can receive the novel input it needs to stay engaged.
A new environment can also pose new workout challenges. As mentioned before, sometimes a stale routine might be the reason your workout is feeling a bit bland. A shift in atmosphere can result in developing a new routine, even if it is only small tweaks. This combination of factors can help reinvigorate your enthusiasm for your workout.
How to Best Change Your Workout Setting for Maximum Results
Of course, simply showing up a new place without a plan doesn’t guarantee a better workout. A lot of times, gyms have membership fees and contract periods, so you don’t want to burn yourself by having to pay early termination fees or getting locked into a long term contract at a new place when you might very well need another scenery shift in another few months.
Some gyms offer trial periods or day passes, which can be a great way to get out of your comfort zone for a short period without a major investment. Sometimes all you need is a few days in a different setting in order to reset your motivation, and after a week or two you can return to your normal gym.
If you are a member of a particular gym or club, consider going to a different location of the same chain within your city. This can give a sense of the familiar while still being novel enough to feel far from stale. If you routinely run three miles on a university track, try finding a nearby park trail of the same distance. Simply by shifting the scenery, the same distance can feel like a whole different workout.
If changing your gym isn’t an option, consider signing up for a class offered within your gym. These classes will not only introduce you to a new workout routine, but also surround you with different people to help motivate and engage you.
If nothing else, simply consider taking your workout outside, if weather permits. Playground equipment can function as a pull-up bar, while simple weights like a kettlebell can be taken outdoors and used just as you would in a gym setting. A lot of times you can perform a modified version of all the exercises you would normally do but get a healthy dose or fresh air and sunshine while you do it.
Best Workout Split for MAXIMUM Muscle Gains
5. You Aren’t Adding Elements to Make Your Workout Fun
We all know workouts aren’t always going to be fun. A lot of times, in order to get the desired results, our workouts are hard and strenuous, involving a lot of dedication and commitment. But this doesn’t mean we can add some elements of fun to help spice up our workout and motivate us to put in that extra set or push ourselves just a little harder.
Simple shifts in our approach to working out can completely change our perspective and breathe new life into a stale routine. While still remaining challenging enough to get the results we desire, we can incorporate elements to help make our workouts a little more engaging and entertaining.
Interested in adding a little bit of fun to your workout routine? Read on to find out our suggestions for how to pep up your exercise and get more motivated.
How Do I Make My Workout Fun?
One of the easiest ways to make your workout seem more fun is to turn it into a game. With the rise of technology, now it is easier than ever to take advantage of apps and programs that can help morph your exercise routine into a fun and unique challenge.
Teemo is an app for iPhones that turns your exercise into a “fitness adventure.” You set your difficulty level and then the app provides you with entertaining games and challenges to accomplish. Engage in virtual runs across real geographic areas, participating in fun stories such as chasing a jewel thief over Switzerland, and Teemo will build exercises seamlessly into the adventure and include built in rest times between reps.
Another great option to check out if you are a runner is the app Zombies, Run! This creative app introduces a plot in which you are stranded on Earth after a zombie outbreak. You can run to your own music playlist, but the app will periodically interrupt your run to tell you that zombies are chasing you. Once zombies are on your tail, you’ll have to speed up your pace in order to escape.
Another option is to download an app like Fitocracy. This app will connect you to others who are also trying to work out and stay motivated. You can compete in challenges and get inspired by other users.
Similarly, Fitsby can pit you against friends and colleagues and put your money where your mouth is, literally. Bet real money that you will outperform your friends and then reap the rewards (or suffer the spoils of defeat) when you meet your goals. If you truly need an uptick in motivation, sometimes the easiest way to do it is to put money on the line.