I don’t feel like training again today! My workout is boring!

By: Quinton de Bruin

Have you ever found yourself holding an air pump with the objective of blowing up an inflatable pool toy, or worse a mattress? If you have then you will know what a process that can be. I remember going to help set up for a school camp – fortunately in my boy's classroom – armed with a pump to save the day. Much to my frustration on what had to be the hottest day in November, I was pumping away at this mattress, I even made a game of it, the boys all wanted a turn. No matter how I talked it up though, the interest in this soon wore off, the mattress didn't look like it wanted to inflate and the next best thing soon came along to distract my army of helpers. It was a matter of time before I too wanted to leave this very painstaking process and head for the hills! But finally, after what seemed like hours of mind-numbing inflation motion, the mattress was ready. The pure elation one gets from that is difficult to describe but no doubt it was more the relief than a sense of achievement.

That is a bit of a stretch to the topic. I realise that, yet the metaphor sticks. So many people go to a gym or embark on a training programme with every genuine intention of coming out the other end with a lean / bulked up / faster / stronger (you fill in the goal) body and mind by the end of it. Over time though distraction pulls us away from that, work comes up, friends keep us out late at night which makes training a challenge in the morning. Then you get those guys and girls that seem to be so focused that NOTHING stops them from getting their training in. The gym could be washed away in a flood and they would make a plan to swim while the tide was in – those sorts of people!

What I shouldn't assume is that everyone has read the article I wrote on the principal of process. If you haven't, it is worth taking a quick look before reading on. Our bodies don't transform overnight. The process of losing fat (as opposed to weight) takes time. The process of gaining lean muscle mass takes even longer – and I have experienced the frustration of both of these processes so this is not a theoretical comment. It is a bit of a long way round, but this is where it's a lot like blowing up a mattress. The way to shred fat requires large amounts of repetition, enormous amounts of the same old actions and activities, which by looking in the mirror daily appears to be doing nothing for you. When you keep doing that long enough and you learn a few tips and tricks to keep on keeping on, working through the repetitive motions and growing to enjoy it, that is when the fruits of your labour show.

Flip that on its head and it is a great thing that it is a long process. What? I hear you ask. When you have time on your side, you can afford to fail the odd time. When you end up having that mud cake after dinner out, the whole bathtub doesn't need to go out with the baby, just plug that sucker back in the next morning and going. In the bigger picture, that slice is but a blip on the journey.

Right, so we have taken care of the moments when you unexpectedly find a fist full of lollies or cake in your mouth. Back to the part where the idea of one more of those same training sessions gives you a to do list of 10 things you would rather do! Let me share some tips and tricks I have found, not all will work for you or your programme but no doubt down the track they will come in handy:

Swap cycling for Spin – there is something different about working out with a group of sweaty cyclists, you push harder and with an instructor keeping you honest, you will not only have fun but get a solid workout in too.

Swap free weights for kettlebells - people who did a kettlebell exercise routine were burning around 20 calories a minute, the caloric equivalent of running a six-minute mile. Spend just 20 minutes working out with kettlebells, and you'll strengthen your muscles, improve your cardiovascular fitness, and increase your balance and flexibility.

Swap cardio equipment for boot camp – the body has a great way of telling itself that it's tired – put a heart rate monitor on for the truth! Boot camps provide a fun group environment where your workout is high intensity, your peers keep you motivated and it's fun!

Swap running for an Elliptical trainer – running is a great cardiovascular exercise, but too much of anything is not great. Our joints can take a pounding so taking a spin on the elliptical trainer allows your muscles and joints to recover.

Here's a quick list:

  • Try a different machine or exercise for the same body part / muscle group
  • Change your playlist
  • Time yourself
  • Compete with a training buddy or even better with yourself
  • Reverse the order of your exercise programme
  • Do a cardio circuit
  • Enter an event

It comes down to being a bit creative. If you are feeling like you are in a rut or getting bored. It is time to have a discussion with one of the personal trainers. Get some help and ask them to shake it up a bit – have some fun, whatever that looks like to you in a gym.

Talking about shaking it up – I had a bit of a tossed salad for breakfast… I think I am going to start a range of breakfast salads… lunch was a great tuna salad with all sorts of veggies in it. Dinner became a chicken fried "rice" (cauliflower rice). Initially it was going to be a chicken curry with cauliflower rice but time was ahead of itself again.

It was a back and biceps day in the weights section and I am enjoying challenging myself by varying the types of exercises I do as well as seeing which ones I can go up in weight. Cardio was a killer. I used the Matrix trainer and did an interval session on level 10 (max) for 18 of the 20-minute session – so challenging yet so rewarding!

The bottom line on boredom is, that when it hits you better be prepared. It has a habit of upending some of the grandest plans and that is not just in training. Simply put, if you are not having fun, then you're not doing it right – make your workout fun or if you are not sure on how to do that, get someone to help you make it that way.

The small print: now is probably a good time to encourage you to have a discussion about your personal situation with your doctor, a nutritionist and the Body and Motion trainers to work out how best to achieve any challenges you have in mind. The thoughts in these blogs are my own personal opinion and shouldn't be taken as direct advice. Some of the choices around what I consume or what activity I partake in may not be endorsed by Body and Motion. However, the team will always be keen enablers of your fitness goals! Talk to us today.


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