Mixing it up at the Gym

by Jessica B. | February 14th, 2012 | Cardio

One of the biggest challenges I have in the winter, when I bring my cardio workout indoors, is keeping things interesting. All too often I end up staring at the TV, watching some bad talk show, tired and unmotivated. My runs don’t improve much time wise and even worse, I don’t feel invigorated when I am finished.

Here are a few things I try to do to keep things exciting at the gym. The best thing for me is to keep the variety and shake it up every few workouts. Sometimes this is tough, since I am tired at the end of the day, but often it is worth it because I get a ton of new found energy.

Circuit training – An old favorite, this is just the basic method of switching from exercise bike, to elliptical, to treadmill every five to fifteen minutes. Sometimes it is a little easier to push if you know you only have three more minutes left to go. Also it can be nice to have a change of scenery.

Work-out podcast – I downloaded a few Itrain podcasts years ago, and once in a while throwing on an Itrain elliptical training podcast – with a personal trainer telling what setting you should have on the elliptical or treadmill or bike – and cheering you on as you go, can be good motivation. I find these do get annoying if I do them too often. It’s nice to hear I am awesome sometimes, but after awhile I want to tell them to shut up.

Up and down, fast and slow – Easy even without a special podcast. Watch the clock and decide to set your pace as high as you can go for two minutes, then take it down, then push for two minutes, then lower again. Shake it up every 2 minutes. This keeps things interesting and keeps you alert.

Join a class – If you aren’t taking a regular spinning, treadmill, or aerobics class, it is a great way to get a little more motivation and push yourself. Even if you aren’t really into classes – like me – it can give you some new ideas to freshen up your old workout. You don’t have to go every week, just now and then.

Try a new machine – I was afraid of the rowing machines for a long time. Then I gave one a try. It was actually fun. It helps build upper arm strength, and it gives you a cool breeze while you work out. My gym recently added a skiing machine as well. You pull these two bands repetitively while you squat down. It is supposed to give you a cardio workout. I haven’t tried it yet, but I know it will definitely help me when I get bored next time.

Remember, if things are getting stale, your workout isn’t giving you as much as it could. Freshening things up can be good not just for your mental health, but for your physical health as well.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.