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James Patrick

Flat lining in the gym? Here are 7 ways to slay your workouts once again!

Do you suffer from workout boredom, have you hit a plateau or do you just flat out cringe when you think of hitting the gym?  News flash, you’re only human!  The silver lining is that we all suffer from peaks and valleys within our training program from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up or get down over it, it’s completely normal and to be expected! Getting stuck in our own way and not thinking outside the box (or box gym) can ultimately lead to boredom and monotony, two things you should never settle for within the confines of a training program.  Time to shake things up, get your mojo back and discover your passion once again!

The fix can be as simple as taking your training outdoors to enjoy the cooler weather that is just around the corner or by adding an entirely different style of training.  Experimenting with something like yoga, kickboxing, CrossFit, Olympic lifting, bodyweight training, TRX or any type of group fitness class, can spark the excitement once again.  It doesn’t need to be overwhelming, it just need to be enough of a change to challenge you and break the repetitious cycle.

I’ve noticed that when I don’t continually strive to evolve, I get bored and I don’t push myself as hard.  When we do the same exercises on repeat, we stop challenging ourselves.  Our muscles are actually quite intelligent and will adapt over time when not challenged with new exercises, angles, rep sequences or heavier weight.  This adaption prevents strength and muscle gains and ultimately leads to hitting a plateau.  A simple tweak in your programming or a fresh approach can help avoid bottoming out and breathe new life into your workouts.

Here are my tips to bust through a fitness plateau:

Set new goals

First and foremost, consider what your long and short term goals for your training consist of.  Write them down and establish a plan of attack.

Train for a road race, a Tough Mudder, a triathlon, a fitness competition or a group challenge.  Pick something that excites you and gives you a new focus and just go for it.  It can even be something you never thought you could do.  Pushing yourself to the limit can provide a newfound confidence and act as a great motivator to get you back in the zone.

Workout with a partner

If you’re like me and very disciplined at holding yourself accountable, you may prefer to train solo.  I love going somewhere in my own head where I have complete tunnel vision during my training and with no interruptions.  That said, I’ve noticed that from time to time, I don’t challenge myself enough when training alone, especially when I know I’d benefit from having a spotter.

Maybe it’s time to ask a friend join you to add a little accountability and added security on those bigger lifts.  You can help motivate each other to push harder, run faster and crank out those extra few reps.  We can all benefit from a little extra push, especially when we are feeling less than ecstatic about our workouts.

Hire a trainer

Enlisting the help of a coach or trainer will do the same as training with a buddy, but utilizing their knowledge to develop a program that will really throw your muscles into the ultimate state of confusion is a definite plus.  Do your research or seek a referral to hire a trainer to help overcome all the excuse you mind wants to indulge you in.  A great trainer will know your boundaries, but will safely assist you in pushing them and becoming a better you in the process.  The act of being held accountable on a certain day and time will further light a fire under your butt.

Train outdoors

Constantly training indoors can get dull and feel monotonous.  Getting a taste of the great outdoors while you better yourself and your health is a terrific way to push through a plateau. Cooler weather can bring a fresh, new excitement to training outdoors.  Go for a run, hike or bike ride outdoors for a change of scenery.

Try a new gym

Burnt out just looking around the same environment day in and day out?  Maybe a change of scenery is what you need to get excited again.  Sign up for a new gym in your area, if even just temporarily, to bring the passion back again. We all know the regulars at our gym if we show up consistently, and with that comes social hour and a reduced focus on what you showed up for…smashing a workout!

Make your resolution now!

Don’t wait until January 1st, make your resolution now!  With the holidays coming before we know it, it’s especially easy to lose sight of what is most important to you with the mentality that you can pick back up where you left off in January.  NO! There is no better time than right now to start living, doing and being exactly what you wish to be.  A healthier, better you!  Don’t settle and don’t make excuses or you’ll be kicking yourself in a few short months for putting it off.

Implement a free training program

You don’t even need to hire a trainer, there are lots of fitness challenges and programs online!  If you’re already confident in your form and ability, have gym access or a few items at home to work with, consider searching the bodybuilding.com database for a new 8-week fitness challenge or 12-week training program to freshen things up.  Take advantage of all the great programs available on here and start fresh or plug in some exercises you’ve never done before.  Some even provide meal plans and can offer you a fun, fresh take on fitness!