Exercise programs need to be changed in order to see and feel continual results, but we are creatures of habit so it can be difficult stick with a new exercise routine. The solution: Inject new life into your boring workout routine. These tips will help you break out of your rut and give you a new challenging regime.
1. Pay Attention to the Clock: Workouts are often derailed by chit-chat and water breaks. Short intense workouts offer the best results, use a stopwatch to tell you when it’s time to work and time to rest. Bring your own water bottle so you don't have to keep filling that tiny cup. Try allowing just 60-90 seconds of rest between each set of strength exercises to add a cardio boost to the workout. This will increase fat burning while you are strength training to put on lean muscle.
2. Do Both Strength and Cardio: People often think of these two forms of exercise as separate workouts, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Add cardio intervals such as jumping rope, quick sprints on the treadmill, mountain climbers, burpees etc.... these will rev the metabolism while still allowing for strength gains.
3. Isometric Holds: Contract a muscle and hold it in a flexed position (aka static holds), this provides both strength and endurance benefits that can’t be achieved through traditional exercises (i.e 2 counts up, 2 counts down). These exercises also will force you to contract MORE muscles as the big guys tire out. Try a stability ball or traditional wall squat that will engage the thighs and glutes. Start with 30-seconds and work towards holding this static position for longer periods of time as strength and muscular endurance improve.
4. Say 'NO' to Machines: Exercise machines make resistance training user-friendly, and if you are a true beginner they are WONDERFUL to start but they don't get the job done like free-weight exercises. Lifting with free weights uses stabilizing muscles as well as the ones you are targeting and therefore burn more calories than the machines that just set you up to hit a specific muscle. Similarly, body weight exercises are more effective for core strengthening and fat burning workouts than machines.
5. Instability: Exercises that require balance stimulate more muscle recruitment, specifically core and stabilizing muscles, than exercises done a stable surface. This is pretty obvious: Is a lunge standing on the floor as challenging as one with your foot on a wobble board? The key is to make sure proper form is never compromised.