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Ten Ways to Spice Up Your Body Building Routine
By Jean Lam

Consistency is key when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. If you can't stick to a regular workout schedule, you may not ever see the results you want from your exercise routine. One of the biggest reasons people have trouble staying consistent is that working out is boring. Whether you're body building, training for a marathon, or simply trying to stay fit one way or another, chances are you'll deal with workout boredom eventually.

Many people are skeptical when they hear that working out should be fun-but it should be. If you're bored with your exercise routine, here are a few ways to make things more interesting.

Change the scenery. Do you always run on the treadmill? Why not jog through your neighborhood instead? If you're always spinning on a stationary bike, take your old mountain bike for a spin. Fresh air and a change in scenery can make even the most boring exercise routine fun and exciting. If you're doing most of your cardio at the gym, try taking it outside. Your workout will be tougher and less predictable, and you'll feel refreshed and energized.

Try every machine. Do you always work with the same machines every time you go to the gym? If so, take one day to rotate and try new machines. Make a commitment to try every machine in the gym in one day, or spread your exploration over several days. If you aren't sure how something works, ask one of the trainers to show you the ropes. This is a great way to try out new exercises, increase your routine repertoire, and learn a few new moves. Who knows-you may just discover a few new machines you like better than the old ones.

Change your music. Sometimes you can eliminate boredom simply by changing what you listen to. If you always listen to the same songs in the same order when you exercise, it's no surprise when your routine gets boring after a while. Design a new soundtrack to your workout. Ask your friends for recommendations on their favorite workout songs. Search the pre-made mixes at online music stores for new ideas. A new mix of music is likely to keep things interesting for a while longer.

Take a class. Working out by yourself can be fun, but you can also benefit from the motivation of working out with others. Join a class at your gym and explore the possibilities. And don't be afraid to try something different. If you usually concentrate on body building, why not try Pilates or Yoga? If you're a gentle yoga person, try strength training. Or stick to what you know, and use the class as an opportunity to get to know others with similar fitness goals.

Change your focus. Are you a bodybuilder? If so, put down the weights for a day and do some cardio. When you focus on body building, it's easy to fall into the trap of concentrating only on building muscle. Do this too long and you could see a decrease in flexibility and a lack of long-term stamina. If you usually work on cardio, try free weights for a day. Do something you don't normally do. This is sure to help you shake off your boredom.

Monitor your progress. If you can see yourself improving week to week and month to month, you'll have a much easier time staying motivated. There are many ways to monitor your progress, from simply keeping track of your weights and reps from week to week to buying a heart monitor or pedometer and keeping a record of your numbers.

Break the rules. Do you always start with heavier weights and then work down? Do you usually perform your exercises with light weights first, then increase your weight? Whatever rules you're playing by, try breaking them for a day. Do your body building routine backwards, from lightest to heaviest or vice versa. Change the amount of reps. Slow your moves down to a crawl or try speeding them up. Break out of your rut by making alterations in your usual routine.

Try a new routine. If making changes to your usual routine isn't enough to make things interesting, go on a search for a brand-new one. Check out Internet sites with exercise routines that incorporate new moves and new machines. Print out the routines that look the most interesting for you, and take each one for a test drive. Stick with the routine you have the most fun with, but bear in mind that you'll probably get bored again if you keep at it too long. Don't be afraid to switch things up again when this happens. What matters is the fitness you achieve, not the routine you use to achieve it.

Train for an event. Whether you're training for a body building competition, planning to run your first marathon, or are simply looking forward to a walk-for-charity event, working toward a fixed goal is a great way to stay motivated. Choose an event that makes sense for you-a body building competition may not be the best idea if you're a beginner at the sport. But you don't have to be in perfect shape to join a fitness event. Charity walks and jogs are a great way to get involved, and mini-triathlons can be perfect for those who've never participated in a competitive fitness event before.

Reward yourself. Did you meet a fitness goal this week? Reward yourself by making a small purchase or doing something you love to do. If you have a regular reward system worked out so that you get something for yourself every time you meet a fitness goal, you may find it easier to keep your focus and motivation.

Working out doesn't have to be boring. The reason so many people fall into the boredom trap is usually failure to vary the routine. If you stick with the same body building routine, the same jogging route, the same music and the same rules every time you exercise, it's only natural that you'll get bored eventually. Add intensity by training for an event, make small or large changes to your routine, or get out of the gym altogether for some outdoor exercise. Change your habits, and you're sure to find a renewed enthusiasm for fitness.

About the author

Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body Building Resource which provides articles on weight training, nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.


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