How to keep your training interesting
Here some points to keep your routines interesting and never get bored in the pursuit of awesomeness.
Be open minded
Keep in pursuit of new methods, techniques and anything you can find about training. Listen on YouTube to the people who managed to get where you want to be. Read, watch, write and discuss. If you are doing the same thing that you did ten years ago, it is very likely that you will not get a lot of joy out of it. Also, you did not improve. When your training gets tough it is, even more, time to be open minded and search for ways to overcome that little bump in the road. It will be worth it.
Do something interesting and set a challenging goal. "I want to exercise more" inspires no one, why should it inspire you to get your ass out of bed every morning ? "I want to run a marathon by the end of the year" is a better example. That is what I did in 2013 to lose 15kg and I never looked back since. Deliberately pick something which is hard. Make it something you will be proud of when you achieve it. Live is too short to have uninspiring goals.
Have time for accessory work
Leave 15 to 30 minutes at the end of your workout routine to do some accessory work. This is stuff which is fun and easy to do compared to your main session but still supports your overall goals. In Marathon running it is an extra 15 minutes of cool down rather than just hitting that Garmin watch at the end of the 10k and call it quits. Play around with these fifteen minutes. Do a little fartlek and then stretch when you are done.
For weightlifting use bodyweight exercises like pull-ups, dips, push-ups, burpees, and mountain climbers. Anything you can think of without a barbell or dumbbell to have a more rounded experience that keeps you entertained.
Try new movement patterns
Try running zig zags as a runner. Switch from a barbell to safety bar for a couple of sessions. Do bench presses with chains or bands attached. Progress to a handstand to then do a handstand push up. Find ways to challenge your nervous system by doing things in a slightly different way varying on intensity, duration, starting and finishing position and whatever else you might come up with. Just be careful to take it easy at the beginning when you try a new movement pattern as the risk of injury is higher. A deload is always good advice when you try something new.
Take a rest period
If you really get annoyed, take a break. After running three marathons and still not getting under the 3.30 mark I completely switched my personal focus from running to lifting to achieve a 200kg squat. I have not given up on the 3.30 goal. I will come back stronger and faster than ever to make it. But after those three marathons, it was a drag to go out and run and it did not inspire me anymore. When you come to that point take a rest from what you were doing. Exercise is supposed to be fun.
Switch up gyms
When you finish a certain inspiring goal and move on to the next gym it might also be time to move on to another gym. A CrossFit box is more equipped to achieve CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting goals. If you have weight loss goals, maybe a gym with good dietitians is a better choice, as cross fitter are usually doing so much work they eat almost anything. I went from a commercial to a power focused gym when I switched from Stronglifts 5x5 to Jim Wendler 531.
If you have problems with feeling stiff and got muscle pain from exercising, try yoga in the morning. Again, YouTube is your friend. There are many yoga routines for free there in the range of 10 minutes to multiple hours. Sart with beginner ones that address the area in which you feel most discomfort. Apart from being a great start to the day, you will also have the pleasure of seeing friendly, attractive people in the morning who filmed themselves exercising in exotic places.
Try a medicine ball
Throwing medicine balls at walls or on mats can be a great way to relief stress and build explosive strength. I personal like to take a medicine ball after some sessions and smash it into the walls turning side ways. After that, I do medicine ball slams. 10 reps each side + 10 slams for three to four rounds and you will be gasping for air and feel a lot less stressed.
Try a weighted vest
If your current bodyweight routine starts to get boring / is not challenging anymore, try a weighted vest and increase the load. Crossfitters already use them for exercises like Murphy so why not you too. A weighted vest can also be used for longer runs, however, I would reserve that technique only for the fittest amongst you.
Try a yoke
Did you ever do yoke carriers as a finisher ? If not you are missing out. Yoke carriers are great to build overall strength and improve your squat as it hits muscles while moving which the squat just can not hit. Again start conservatively with this new movement to not hurt yourself and increase load over time.
Try prowler pushes
Not feeling explosive enough ? Working the prowler will fix this. Push it, pull it, drag it, you name it. The great thing about prowler pushes is that you can either optimize for speed (low weight, run as fast as you can) or for power (heavy weight, get that 100-yard drag done!). Whatever you do, if you do not do prowler pushes yet, get them in at least once a week.
Swap your barbell for dumbbells and vice versa
If you work a lot with a barbell, do the same exercise with dumbbells and vice versa. Same goes for kettlebells. Enough said.
Train with others
I personally like the lone wolf approach. Get in, get out and move on to other things in life. That is not for everyone and I also had one of my best sessions of deadlifting with someone shouting two more reps out of me. As long as you do not turn your session into a coffee break and train with a guy who is as hungry as you, ideally even hungrier, that should help to keep things exciting.
Get a coach
For certain drills, especially when it comes to agility, it is good to have a coach who calls out commands and watches you like a hawk with experienced eyes while you are doing the exercises. This is one of the more costly options, but if you get a good one, worth every penny.
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