I always tell my clients that “boredom is the kiss of workout death”! Why? Because the body and brain will adapt to anything done consistently. If you want to continue to see physical results and stay mentally stimulated – which I know you do – you can’t do the same workout day after day.

Variables that can be tweaked include training frequency, training intensity, training type and training time. In other words, train more or less frequently, throw in some intervals, try new things and /or workout for different durations. This is known as the FITT principle.

I know, that acronym sounds dull, the opposite of enticing or exciting – like it came from a textbook. Well, it did, but don’t worry. Below I have translated this humdrum “trainer’s talk” into fun and challenging workout ideas!

Go ahead and mix things up. Get more fit. Stay stimulated. Create motivation!

Option # 1 – Word Cues

Word Cues

First, pick a song. Second, pick a word that repeats in the song. For example, in Britney’s Hit Me Baby One More Time I might pick “baby”. Third, pick a motion – think high knees, bum kicks or a different swim stroke. Start walking, running, swimming etc. When you hear your word, do your motion.

If you don’t train with music try using landmarks. For example, change your swim stroke every time you pass a certain line in the pool, or do your high knees when you see a stop sign or a certain breed of dog. (I am partial to Corgis and Australian Sheppards).

Trainers tip: throwing in these different motions is particularly critical for anyone who does one type of repetitive cardio activity – such as running, cycling or walking – multiple times per week. These types of cardio options are excellent for the heart but, over the long-term, can be damaging for muscles and joints. As one of my favorite physiotherapists DorJenFit likes to say, the “best posture is your next posture”.

Meaning, your body will thrive when you feed it with different motions. Take your cardio workouts as an opportunity to “mix up your postures”. Use your body in different ways. If you are thinking “how can I mix my posture up on a machine like a bike rower or an elliptical”? Use the word cue as an opportunity to focus on one part of your form – when cycling maybe the hamstring pull at the back of the stroke. Then when off the bike make sure to do strength and mobility exercises that get you moving in different directions.

Option # 2 – Try Pyramids

Try Pyramids

Pick two exercises – think stairs and jumping jacks, or specific running distance and squat jumps. Then alternate the two exercises in fun ways. You can pick one as a base exercise and the second as a pyramid exercise or pyramid both.

Examples – base exercise + pyramid

  • Run your household stairs 5 times. Do 10 jumping jacks. Repeat the same number of stairs. Then do 20 jumping jacks. Each round the jumping jacks increase by 10 until you get to 50.
  • Run ½ mile. Stop and do 10 squat jumps. Repeat the run. Increase the squats by 10. Each round the squats increase by 10 until you get to 50.

Examples – Both Pyramid

  • Run your household stairs 2 times. Do 10 jumping jacks. Increase your stairs by 2 rounds. Then do 20 jumping jacks. Each time, increase the number of stairs by 2 the jumping jacks by 10 until you get to 10 stair runs and 50 jumping jacks.
  • Run ½ mile. Stop and do 10 squat jumps. Increase the run by 1/10th of a mile. Increase the squats by 10. Each round the squats increase by 10 until you get to 50 and the run until you get to a mile.

Option # 3 – Chorus pick-ups

This is fairly self-explanatory. Pick a song. When you hear the chorus increase your intensity. If you are walking move into a speed walk or a jog. If you are running, sprint.

Chorus pick-ups

Option # 4 – Make it a Hybrid

Instead of just going for a run or a bike, go crazy and try a few activities back to back with no rest. Run and then bike. Run and then stop in a park and do jumping jacks or use a picnic bench to do step-ups. Then run again. If it is safe, go to a gym and use the rower and then the treadmill.

Other options

  • Try a new online workout. My current favourite being dance workouts by EMK. Clients also love The Fitness Marshall and Yoga by Adrianne.
  • Try a different running, cycling or walking route.
  • Enlist a workout buddy.
  • Create a family or work fitness challenge.
  • Train for something – a certain number of push-ups, a charity challenge etc
  • Buy a mini-trampoline for your living room or office. Between meetings or as you watch Tv jump all of your troubles away. I get my steps in by doing 300 trampoline jumps between training sessions.

The main take-away is, you gotta mix things up! Variety is the spice of life! Find your fitness fun!