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5 Ways to Break Out of a Workout Rut

By Tara Ballard

It happens to the best of us. That moment when our motivation lags, and we get into a bit of a “workout rut”. It has happened to me numerous times, and I used to beat myself up over it…telling myself I just needed to “suck it up” and muddle through…that I HAD to get my workout in! This mindset just served to motivate me even less and hence started a vicious cycle of negative self-talk. Ugh.

Sometime after my last figure competition last year, I decided to let that mindset go. I would workout when I wanted to workout, and do what I wanted to do. Do I still have a schedule each week? Yes. But if I feel myself starting to get into a rut, then I practice the tips below:

  1. Change It Up: If you typically do body part lifting splits, try doing full-body Metabolic Effect style workouts for a few weeks. If you typically do sprints for cardio, try the stepmill, jump rope or plyos. If you typically do your workouts indoors, take it outside. It’s amazing what just a change of scenery will do. And changing up your workouts can do wonders both physically and mentally.
  2. Evaluate nutrition, sleep and stress: if any or all of these are off, then it can wreak havoc on motivation. Sometimes we don’t realize we may have slipped back into some pre-FLL habits. Not getting enough sleep in and of itself is huge. Be your own fat loss detective and hone in on areas that may be causing you to feel less than fired up.
  3. Take a week off (GASP!): in the old days, I NEVER would have considered this, no matter what! Exercise addiction, anyone? Seriously, if you’re in a rut and feeling unmotivated, tired and sore all the time, then it may be time to take a break and recharge the batteries. Focus on stress-relieving, relaxing activities such as taking a leisurely walk in nature. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a body reboot, and it can do so, so much good!!
  4. Get a workout buddy: I used to be a total solo exerciser…I never thought I would enjoy working out with a buddy, and was very content doing my own thing. But once I started, I was hooked. I look forward to my workout dates with Jill and miss them when one of us is out of town…we motivate each other, and having that accountability is great. Don’t get me wrong, there are some days when we are tempted to bag our workout and grab coffee instead, but that hasn’t happened yet :)! That being said, we both listen to our bods…if we’re feeling overtired, we will take the day off.
  5. Try something completely new: this is a little different than #1 above. This is all about getting out of your comfort zone and trying something totally different that what you usually do. Some things that come to mind: swimming, dance classes, rock climbing, stand-up paddle boarding, all body-weight workouts, rowing, trail running, etc.

How do you break out of a workout rut? Let us know!! Xoxo, Tara

Related: Dispelling the “No Time” Myth: 5 Tips for Getting It Done

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