It’s easy to fall into a gym rut- treadmill, weights, abs, repeat- but, if your workout routine is starting to sound like the directions on the back of a shampoo bottle, you may want to think about switching it up.
Simone De La Rue, celebrity trainer who works with stars like Sandra Bullock, Naomi Watts, and Anne Hathaway, changes up her and her client’s routines every day.
“Your body along with your mind gets used to doing the same exercises and becomes lazy,” De La Rue said. “I try to vary my clients workouts everyday so they feel challenged and inspired.”
And if you really want to get results, it’s not just about doing something different, it’s about doing something you enjoy.
"Variety is the spice your fitness plan needs in order to be sustainable and palatable,” France Marien, group fitness instructor and owner of Remix Workouts in Seattle, said. “You will keep moving if the activities you choose are enjoyable and bring you a sense of accomplishment.”
Diana Antholis, a healthy lifestyle coach and personal trainer, agreed. “Exercise is supposed to be fun, so if you find that you are dreading doing physical activity, it's time to try something new,” Antholis said.
So, what should you try?
De La Rue’s favorite out-of – the – gym workout is dancing. De La Rue says that dance is the best way to get her cardio in and doesn’t even call her 45 minute, non- stop dance classes a workout because “it’s far too much fun!”
If you want to follow in De La Rue’s dancing footsteps, ditch the gym for a day and take a dance class at a local dance studio instead. Don’t know where to start? Try belly dancing!
“Belly dancing is a strong workout for your hips, abs, and arms,” Antholis said.
And while the physical benefits of belly dancing – exhibit A: Shakira – are enough to sell most women on the workout, belly dancing can have empowering psychological effects as well.
“Belly dancing awakens a women's sensual side, making her have more confidence and feel sexy,” Antholis said. “The hip movements and gracefulness bring tons of feminine energy.” Who couldn’t use a little confidence boost during their workout?
When you’re really tired of the gym, or the dance studio, try an activity you can do outdoors, like hiking.
“Hiking is a perfect way to combine cardio, resistance, and balance; and walking on an uneven surface shapes your legs delightfully,” Syd Hoffman, a health and wellness author and educator, said.
Like belly dancing, hiking can give you the immediate satisfaction and sense of accomplishment when you finally get to the top of the hill or finish the trail.
But if neither of these activities appeal to you, don’t force it. Experts agree that the important thing is to stay active and to do something you enjoy.
“I always say, it’s not so important what you do, but that you do it…go for a long walk on the beach, a hike in the mountains, or swim in the ocean,” De La Rue said. “Just do something!”