3 cues that it’s time to spice up your workout

September 9, 2014

You may be the type of person that truly enjoys exercise or you may work out simply to reap the benefits that physical activity provides. Still, you’re sure to experience days when you would rather do anything than climb onto your stationary bike and sweat it out.

When your fitness routine starts to feel more and more like an obligation and spending time on your home gym equipment sounds like the last thing you want to do, it could be time to spice up that exercise plan. It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of doing the same workout week after week – and listening to the same playlist while running or biking the same program might only add to the monotony.

Here are some indicators that it’s time to switch things up:

You hit a plateau: If you have stopped seeing results – be it in weight loss, increased strength or improved pace – you have likely hit a fitness plateau. This happens because your body has adapted to the moves you’re performing so they are no longer challenging. If your body is not being worked sufficiently, no changes will be made. If you can carry on a full conversation during your cardio workout or it’s easy to catch up on the latest social media updates, you need to up the intensity and make some program changes to get over the slump.

You always feel sore: On the other hand, muscle aches for a few days after an intense workout are natural, but if you have pain or soreness that doesn’t go away, you may by dealing with an overuse injury. Performing the same exercise over and over can do this to your body. If this is the case, take a few days off to recover, then come back to exercise with a new plan of action. If the pain is severe or does not go away after you rest, you might want to visit a doctor to make sure nothing serious is wrong.

Exercise feels like a chore: It’s natural to not look forward to a workout once in a while, but when every session feels like a chore, you’ve got a problem. Even though it’s hard work, fitness should still be fun. If it’s not, try changing things up from the treadmill to the elliptical or do a hills workout by raising and lowering the treadmill incline or increasing and decreasing the bike resistance instead of simulating just one terrain. You can even make up games to keep yourself mentally engaged in each session.