November 13, 2016
Do you dread your exercise regime at the moment? Sick of the same old classes at your local gym? Or over your weekly runs that are on the same route? When exercise becomes mundane and boring not only does your body plateau but so does the mind. We’ve been told for so long that once you find exercise that you like you should stick to it – rinse and repeat. But I think there’s a reason there are so many new fitness trends that come up in the market place; we’re always looking for new and exciting ways to challenge the body and the mind!
In my thesis about behavioural change with physical activity, one of the significant barriers to people exercising is “I find it difficult to find the best type of exercise for me”. There are so many different options out there, that it can often become overwhelming to know which one is ‘right’ for you.
I seem to have an 18 month threshold on any one type of exercise. I’ve been through lots of different options from F45 to Fitness First, yoga studios, run clubs, gymnastics training, outdoor bootcamps… the list is endless. My latest adventure is a new gym which is a ‘softer’ form of crossfit and I’m very excited to get started! Everyone’s threshold is different. I have some clients who can only last 6 months at one activity before needing to move onto the next, whereas others last 5 or even 10 years at a type of exercise before they get bored.
Realise that our bodies craves change, and the minute it realises that “I’ve done this before” you start to lose progress. Our bodies want to constantly grow and evolve and in order to do that we need to mix up the exercise we throw at it.
I work with my clients on a cyclical four step process outlined below when looking to challenge the body:
1 Experiment with four different options for one month.
Fortunately these days most places will have a one or two week trial that is either for free or for a small fee. Take advantage of this and experiment with four different options that are outside of your comfort zone. You can try a new gym, or a new sporting club (think tennis), or calisthenic training, there are really so many options! Try something new that you’ve never thought you could do. Be open minded and excited by the adventure of finding your new challenge.
2 Choose the one you will commit to.
It’s easy to just pick the one you like, or the one your friend likes, but you really need to find the type of exercise that you will commit to. The one that you’ll want to go to on a Monday morning after a relaxing weekend, or even that you’d like to try on a Saturday morning perhaps. The exercise that is ‘right’ for you means what you enjoy doing. Exercise should be play time for adults. We shouldn’t view it like ‘work’. It should be time to destress, unwind, suck in the good stuff (oxygen!) and sweat out the bad things (toxins!).
3 Rinse and repeat until…
Now you can rinse and repeat. When you’ve found the ‘chosen one’ throw yourself at it. Become a master of that type of exercise. Treat it like you’re studying for those final exams and you need to put in as much of yourself as you can. As long as you’re enjoying it, it won’t feel like work (it might be hard but it shouldn’t feel like work!). Only when you start to get bored or dread rocking up should you move onto step four.
4 Repeat steps 1 to 3.
If you’re waking up and dreading exercise its time to move back to step 1 again. Thank that chapter of your exercise adventure for everything great that it’s given to you and allow yourself to explore where the next exercise wave will be.
There are so many options out there now to try and your body will LOVE you for it. Keeping the body active while challenging the mind with new exercises will keep your training dynamic and growing.
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