Becoming bored with your fitness routine? You’re not alone.
It’s not surprising that this phenomenon is pretty common. Waking up extra early or staying up extra late just to make it to the gym on a daily basis can get monotonous. Not only that, but it gets discouraging to think that you’ve lost interest in something you used to love to do.
This past semester, I found myself in this predicament. I decided to take action: it was time to switch things up with my routine and step out of my comfort zone.
My favorite way to exercise is weight training, and I followed the same “back & bis, chest & tris” structure for a long time. The first step in switching up my routine was simple. I would train different muscle groups together and really focus on specific areas I wanted to change on my body. I’m still experimenting, but that’s just it: it’s a process now, so it’s not always the same routine. And even with these small changes in the way I workout, I’m definitely way more excited to hit the gym at 6:00 AM than I was a couple of months ago.
But I wasn’t going to stop there. The next step was to try something completely different outside the gym. I decided to do something I’d never done before and signed up for my first 5k with a friend on Halloween. We’d barely trained, stuck together the entire race, and finished in a great time (in my opinion) without stopping. As a disclaimer, I don’t enjoy running in the slightest. I was doubtful I would be able to run the entire time, but when I finished I felt like I could have kept going for another few miles! That was really encouraging to experience, and I wanted to push myself further.
Next on the list was a Spartan Race. I’ll admit, I signed up for it pretty last-minute. I’d been attending Fit NU: Obstacle Course Training for a few weeks, and spontaneously decided to join their team. The atmosphere of the race was amazing, and everyone I interacted with was a team player. My upper body was sore for the next three days, but it was 110% worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
The most recent activity I’ve participated in is the November Project, a free fitness movement that started in Boston. I sprinted (well, tried to sprint) up the treacherous steps of Harvard Stadium and winced all the way down. This one was one heck of a challenge, but I would love to train more, try again, and see how much I can improve.
So what’s next? I know I want to try Monday Destination Deck as soon as classes are over! (November Project’s Destination Deck is their Monday morning workout – location changes every week.)
A note on trying something new: you may feel nervous, and that’s okay! I was anxious about all the new activities I tried, and the best way I dealt with that was to bring a friend or join a group. I knew I could rely on these people to push me harder when I thought I hit my limit. Also, doing your research beforehand really helps you know what to expect. And when these don’t help, just go for it.
Stepping out of your comfort zone wouldn’t be called that if you felt 100% at ease. You’ll be extremely proud of yourself when you accomplish something new, and you’ll grow hungry to try more. Trust me, I know.
As I contemplate what to indulge in as my next fitness challenge, I figured I should share some of my ideas.
- Christmas/holiday races: Races can be found all over Boston at any time of the year, but I really enjoy themed ones because there is an added element of fun in them!
- Spartan Race/Warrior Dash/Tough Mudder/etc.: These are true tests of endurance, and are incredible experiences. There are different levels and various ones take place around New England all year long.
- Skiing or snowboarding: It’s that time of year when you can hit the mountains for a seriously fun workout! Spending the day on the slopes can be exhausting, but well worth it. There are always student passes or packages being advertised around campus, so take advantage!
- November Project: A little intimidating, but everyone is SO friendly! All the hugs were given, and they have great workouts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the whole year. It’s okay if your lungs feel collapsed after the first column of stadium stairs…we all have to start somewhere!
- Rock climbing and ice skating: These are perfect for the winter season, since you can do them indoors! Grab a few friends and make a lunch date of it. Ice skating is great to do outside as well.
- Hot or Bikram Yoga: Again, this is great for the winter! It’ll be way more sweaty than your usual yoga class, and you can let your stress melt away.
- Random fitness class: There are so many fitness clubs around Boston and any city, and a lot of them have single class drop-in rates.
- Fit University or Fit University chapter workouts: Fit U chapters host weekly workouts and other health & fitness events, led by students for students – for free. Don’t have a chapter at your school? Start one! Fit University also hosts larger scale events in Boston, so be on the lookout for those.
Another tip for trying some new things is to look at sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. They can have some great deals and save college students from paying steep full prices. Also, as a tip, always ask about student discounts. You never know.
No matter what you end up doing, spicing up your fitness routine will help keep you active and interested, which can be difficult after doing the same routine over and over again. Winter is a time when people often stay indoors a little more and do a little less, so if you’re looking for a little fun and motivation, try out some of my suggestions or try and think of your own new fitness venture!