Reinventing your workout routine

Christina Toroyan

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Courtesy of MCT

Question:

Dear Life & Style,

I joined a gym about six months ago, and have been going on a regular basis. Lately, I dread going to the gym because I find my normal routine boring and monotonous. How can I reinvent my gym experience while still practicing a balanced work out routine?”

-Running ragged

Advice:

Having a balanced workout, especially as a student, can often be challenging. It’s hard to wake up an hour early to hit the gym before class or go at night after a long day at work. One of the reasons for this may be the lack of motivation or a boring workout.

If you need the motivation to hit the gym, try going with a friend. Your friend can often motivate you to go to the gym when you aren’t feeling in the mood, or vice versa. Also, with a friend there, you will probably end up talking to each other and get carried away that you won’t notice the time flying by.

With some friends, it’s fun to compete to see who can pull the greater weight on the dumbbells, who can last on the elliptical the longest or who can do the most pull-ups. When throwing in friendly workout competitions, the gym experience can prove to be more effective and more fun. Just be careful not to push it too hard!

In many instances, music really changes your mood and makes you push harder, especially when you workout. You can try changing up the music you listen to while working out.

If you create a playlist of songs that gets you in the mood to exercise, you will realize that the time just passed you by because you get preoccupied with the music.

If your financial situation permits, try taking classes at your gym. Many gyms offer a wide array of fun and interesting classes from yoga, pilates, cycling and on. Taking classes can reinvent your gym experience, but still give you the desired results. It takes you out of the boring treadmill-elliptical-bike-lifting weights routine.

Many times, the thought of going to the gym is what makes our workout regiment boring. Instead of walking on the treadmill in your gym, try taking a walk outdoors. A great spot to go for a brisk walk or a nice jog is around the lake at Balboa Park. The same goes for bicycling outdoors instead of in the gym. Being outdoors can put you out of the boring gym routine and help you enjoy your workout.

I have tried different work out scenarios until I found the one that fit me best. I tried going to gym, but soon found myself hating it. I canceled my membership, bought a workout DVD for $5 and started exercising at home.

I was more motivated because I was in the comfort of my own home. I lost more weight and was more in shape than when I had my gym membership. I was saving much more money. All these contributed to my encouragement to work out more at home. I started with basic cardio exercises, such as jumping jacks, crunches, deep lunges, plie crunches, etc.

As I felt my strength developing, I started working more on my abs, doing different variations of the plank, the bike and more effective crunches. My exercises were limited to 10 minutes every day. I’m sure no matter how busy a student’s schedule is, 10 minutes is worth giving up for a better figure. I was seeing results and not spending my time in a gym.

Personally, I’ve found dance classes to be an effective way of maintaining a balanced work out, while still enjoying my work out. Classes in salsa dancing or any other type of social dancing are a great way to lose weight and meet new people. I have found that belly dancing classes are great for working out the abs and controlling the body. Hip hop classes are a great way to lose weight through moving and jumping around.

Consider taking a dancing class at your local dance studio or gym to change it up a bit.

You can try something different every day. The most important thing is to keep moving and exercising.