I was not surprised when I learned that there are people who consider exercise boring, tedious, and monotonous. I was briefly taken aback but soon realized how this can become normal. Common excuses for avoiding exercise typically fall within the realm of “I don’t have time”, “I can’t find a babysitter”, or “I’m just too tired after work or school”.
There is a small minority of people who feel that following an exercise routine is boring. I am not sure why, with access to so many resources about how fitness can be done “your way”, these people continue to feel this way. There are several websites which explain how to make exercise less boring and more of a rewarding experience. I have published articles about getting motivated as well. However, here, I will offer a few tips to help you overcome the struggle of boring exercising.
My previous posts focused mostly on strength training. Although weight training may not be at the top of anyone’s list of exciting routines. Lifting weights — or basic resistance training — has many of benefits. Unfortunately, the very sight of a so-called meathead is enough to turn away a novice gym enthusiast; enter Planet Fitness. However, even the companies that offer a “safe”, no judgement environment can become mundane. What are you supposed to do if the ruggedness of Gold’s Gym is too much for you to handle or if pizza and bagels seem contradictory to your goals?
1. Don’t go in alone
Howdy partner! Strength in numbers should be more than the chosen idiom used to motivate warriors before a big battle. Partnering up with a friend would do more than reduce the pressure of just starting out but could add some excitement to the workout. Social support during activities adds a competitive element to it and having a companion can help drive you toward your goal.
A study by the University of Aberdeen researched the effects of exercising with a new workout buddy. The researchers reported that working out with a member of your social group — specifically someone you have not exercised with before — could increase your exercise frequency as well as generate better outcomes. Additionally, psychologists have found that individuals achieve greater gain in challenging physical activities when they are paired with another individual who has an equal or greater ability.
Personally, I enjoy working out alone. I feel that a solo bout in the gym significantly reduces distractions and helps me get through the workout much quicker. I am able to focus on the work that needs to be done as well as clear my head — the gym is an oasis of serenity amid a tumultuous world. However, I also crave the camaraderie that comes with working out with a partner (or a team).
At least twice each week, I ensure I work out with a few friends to give myself the opportunity to socialize and share the motivational aspects of exercising. In a team or group environment, you are able to harness hidden potential you may not have known you had. But before you run out and find the nearest exercise buddy available; you must ensure you know what you want in a partner.
Finding a match for fitness can become almost as stressful as dating. Okay, maybe not that stressful. However, choosing a partner that fails to motivate, inspire, or hold you accountable will be an impediment to growth. Ask yourself: Do you prefer your mate have a greater ability than you? Or would you like for each of you to be on equal footing so you can share similar success stories as you reach each milestone? Questions like these must be answered to ensure you do not have any pitfalls within your relationship. The relationship should be push-pull. You push each other to reach your individual goals and pull each other up when times get a little rough. The idea is to avoid boredom and turn you into the fitness freak you were always meant to be.
2. Shake things up
Add some diversity to your regime. A lack of variety and interest or tedious repetition is the simple definition of monotony. Based on this definition I can understand why people become bored with exercise. Lack of variety is a proven method to degrade interest and derail even the most dedicated gym rat. Try to mix up your routine. Most commercial gyms offer classes and programs that are aimed at giving their members plenty of diversification.
Variety prompts choice. More choices ensure you will not become stagnant by the same thing over and over. For example, Life Time Fitness offers a plethora of classes and events to keep their members engaged. From entry-level strength building to yoga, Zumba, and cycling; Life Time also offers nutritional counseling, personal training, and all kinds of health and wellness activities. This is certainly no attempt to steer you toward one gym over another. More, it is my way of showing you that many facilities take the guess-work out if mixing things up.
Here is a brief list of things I enjoy doing to help break the monotony:
- High intensity training or HIIT (e.g., P90x)
- Strongman movements
Okay, I do not do all these regularly. Variety is only needed to add some unusual flare to the normal routine. The best way to stick to that New Year resolution is to customize the workouts the moment interest begins to fade. First, practice the same routine for a defined number of days or weeks, then explore something different for specified duration going forward — then change it again.Change is constant. Keep the body “guessing”.
Biologically, our bodies are designed to adapt to our lifestyle. More specifically, Exercise is an adaptive process. The body will adapt to the stress of exercise with increased fitness if the stress is above a minimum threshold intensity. Thus, staying ahead of these adaptations with infrequent and timed adjustments to the routine will stimulate growth and will force the body to catch up with you; optimal fitness.
3. Track your progress
Few things are more motivating than when you can see the progress you have made since beginning a project. Exercising is no different. Our insatiable lust for social media presents a perfect platform to monitor your steps along the journey. In fact, you probably clicked a link to this article from a social share. If so, I thank you.
Fitness trackers and various devices used to track all elements of health and fitness are experiencing an upswing. Ranging in price from $60 up through an astonishing $310 these devices are a great tool to help you stay on top of your goals. Each device brings something different to the table and comes down to personal preference of the wearer.
I am not an expert on wearable tech but you can find a decent review of some top devices here. I prefer a smartwatch (specifically any Android Wear smartwatch). Smartwatches offer a comprehensive approach to tracking fitness in addition to pushing notifications such as texts and emails to my watch. With my watch I am able to customize the band based on my style and activity for the day. Many fitness trackers do not have this option. I also enjoy versatility and the option to customize my device’s face and applications accordingly. Therefore, I typically recommend a smartwatch to anyone in search for some wearable tech.
Check out PCMag’s side-by-side comparison of some of the industry’s top smartwatches.
What you use to keep track of your journey is up to you. There is plenty of cool technology available to us; however, an old-fashioned notebook is just as effective. Track your progress; whether the pen and ink method, a spreadsheet or mobile application. Adding the ability to see how far you’ve come could be crucial to making each exercise bout more exciting. You can also see your history to identify what routes you’ve already taken to avoid any repeat activities you may not have been too interested in.
I must be honest, doing something over and over with no excitement or enthusiasm can be very dull and counterproductive. Finding any motivation to get out of your normal routine and go exercise is challenging enough. Maintaining an appropriate level of interest could be equally as difficult. To get started, you should find a like-minded training buddy (or two) that can motivate you and hold you accountable in the event you start to back off – which is part of the process and happens to everyone.
Your friends would help you be creative when you need to make some changes. If you want to do some Zumba in lieu of P90x? Let’s do it! Do you want to take a spin class to replace the early evening jog? I’ll bring the water bottle! I think you get the point. Be creative, explore your options and change the routine. Once you have done the new thing for a while, switch back to the original regime or find something completely new. Just keep moving forward.
Track your progress along the way. It would serve you well to be able to capture where you started in addition to having a visible goal. Few people begin a road trip without the most useful tool; a map. Maps show you the way both forward and backward. Why would you start a new journey without one? Review these tips and get ready for new challenges. Find what interests you and use that as motivation toward a better lifestyle. Healthy living and longevity are only a few of the many benefits to being fit.
Get out there and change the world!