After almost a year in quarantine — and experimenting with those living room workouts — chances are you’ve gotten into some sort of workout groove.
But even when you enjoy your workout routine, doing the same thing for months on end (alone in your house) is bound to get stale. Although getting into a routine with your workouts saves time and mitigates the mental effort required to motivate yourself, it’s normal to get bored by something you’re doing over and over again. That’s why I recommend that my clients change it up every once in a while.
If you enjoy what you’re doing and getting your desired results, you don’t want to mix things up too much. (Going from a yoga practice to running can be a shock to the system.) But you can try similar exercises that will introduce some novelty while still tapping into the things you enjoy about your current workout of choice — whether that is the mindfulness of yoga or the heart-pumping action of HIIT.
Here are some suggested ways to mix up your routine, based off the exercise you currently enjoy.
Into yoga? Try Pilates
Yoga and Pilates both offer stress relief, improved flexibility and increased strength. So if you’re enjoying any of these benefits while doing yoga, try switching it up with Pilates.
I find that my clients are often more energized after a few days of Pilates workouts. And the more energized you feel, the more likely you are to stick with a workout routine.
Similar to yoga, Pilates focuses on syncing breath work with movement. So both are forms of moving meditations. This is one of the many reasons why yogis (and anyone who looks to exercise to quiet their mind and ease stress) enjoy changing up their workouts with Pilates. Unlike yoga, Pilates focuses on single exercises at a time with high repetitions and is focused more on engaging the core; you’ll feel it in your abdominals and may even notice toning results that you haven’t seen with yoga.
Into cardio and strength training? Try Tabata
If your workout routine currently focuses on a combination of cardio and strength training (like running and lifting weights), try mixing up the structure of your workout with Tabata.
Tabata is a type of interval training where you perform 20 seconds of all-out work (think: pushups, mountain climbers or high knees), followed by 10 seconds of rest — and repeat for 8 rounds, for a 4-minute set.
A quick Google search will show plenty of different Tabata-style workouts that you can try at home. Whether you squeeze one in when you have an extra five minutes, or string together multiple sets for a longer workout, you’ll definitely feel the burn!
Enjoy walking outdoors? Start training for a 5K
Outdoor walks are great for your body and mind, and have been a sanity saver for many of us during the pandemic. Still, taking the same route everyday can get a little boring. If your walking routine is starting to feel like a chore, create a goal! Working towards a 5K, at whatever pace works for you, can be just the motivation you need to reinvigorate your walking plan.
Training for a 5K may seem intimidating, but there are plenty of plans that will gradually ease your body into it. For example, you could try running 1 minute and walking 1 minute for a week. Then up the intervals to 2 minutes running and 4 minutes walking the next.
Even if organized racing isn't in the cards right now, pick a date for your own 5K. Tell your family and friends so they know to check in on your progress and hold you accountable. Even better, get a friend to join you training (either socially distanced or virtually) and cheer each other on!
Sick of your cardio? Try dance cardio
Dance cardio has been a trendy workout for a few years, but it’s become even more popular during the pandemic since it is easy to access online and is an equipment-free form of cardiovascular exercise that you can do indoors. If you’ve been running or spinning indoors, but are tiring of the repetition, try getting your heart rate up by moving to your favorite music.
Pick a type of music that gets you pumped up and set a pace that works for you. There are plenty of intensities and modifications that are available in dance cardio, so it’s easy to find a workout that’s tailored to your body and skill level. Find free danc eworkouts on YouTube or Instagram, download a fitness app, or try it on a virtual reality headset like the Oculus.
Dance cardio is a full-body workout that tones your muscles and burns calories, and can even improve coordination. If you’re looking for a form of cardio that adds an element of fun back into your exercise routine, dance cardio is definitely worth a try.