6 Things to Get You Out of a Rut

Women ExercisingThere are some things in life you just can’t avoid (beyond the old death and taxes joke). For instance, if you’re eating Double Dutch chocolate at midnight on a regular bases, it’s inevitable that you’re going to start waking up feeling guilty. And when it comes to exercise, sooner or later, it’s inevitable that you’re going to fall into a rut.

Whether you’re lacking the motivation to get to the gym, or you’ve grown bored with the routine you’re doing once you get there, falling into a rut is natural. The trick is how to get out of it quickly (and eventually, avoid them almost completely).

Try and shake things up with my Six Summer Slump-busters:

Switch things up. Start with some small and simple changes to whatever routine you’ve been following. For example, I’ve habitually always worked my abs at the very end of my workout routine, which can become monotonous after a while. So when I feel myself going into autopilot, or I just need to mix things up a bit, I’ll do some ab exercises at the very beginning, turning it into a warm-up instead.

Make friends with machines. If you find yourself doing the same routine over and over at your local gym, make it your goal to try one new piece of equipment every time you go. That barbell machine that looks like a big, scary cage? Those dangling ropes that looks a little too intimidating? Time to conquer them! (And for safety sake, be sure and ask a trainer to show you how to properly use the equipment before you start – they’re usually happy to offer a free demo.)

Make a menu collection. You know that unused kitchen drawer that always seems to turn into a collection of takeout menus? Try doing something similar with a bunch of fitness-based options. Grab a class schedule at your local yoga, dance or Pilates studio (or print a copy from their website), and keep them in a handy spot. I keep the brochures for a few of my favorite fitness studios on the fridge, so I can check out the schedules whenever I have a free moment, and I can make sure I keep trying something new.

Form a gang. You’ve heard me say it before, but it’s worth repeating: When it comes to exercise, you can’t underestimate the power of the buddy system. If you’ve been thinking about doing a morning jog, for example, but you lack the motivation to do it yourself, there’s nothing quite like the motivation of your best girlfriend knocking on the door. (After all, nobody wants to leave a friend hanging!)

Get dressed. Of course, that goes without saying – not many of us would consider exercising without wearing something. And sure, if you’re going to sweat, there’s no reason to get all dolled up. The flipside is that we too often relegate the old tattered t-shirts and clothes we hate to “workout gear.” But if you treat yourself to just a couple fun, well-fitting items that make you feel great when you put them on, you’ll be amazed at the motivational effect.

Start downloading. Yes, you read the title correctly: There are plenty of fun fitness-oriented tools online that can help you shake off your summer slump. If you’ve played out your DVD collection and want to try using your personal tablet as a fitness tool, try downloading one of my audio workouts!