Everybody struggles with fitness from time to time, but it’s no reason to get discouraged. There are plenty of workouts to choose from and so many places to start, you just have to know where to look. When things are going good, we tend to need little advice. However, if you’re struggling with your fitness routine, the following tips should help you switch it up for the better:

  • Take some time off
  • It’s easy not to listen to your body. Especially when it’s crying out for rest. In fact, rest is one of the most overlooked aspects of staying fit. But there’s a fine line between actively resting and taking too much time off, which could lead to loss of interest in your workout routine.

    Fitness should be compared to running a marathon as opposed to the 100 meter dash. The goal is to stay in shape over the long haul, not just the short-term. If you’re working hard, you should find some comfort in taking a few days off (or more), especially if your routine is intense. But you don’t want a few days to lead to a few weeks, and a few weeks leading to a month, and a month leading to several months (so on and so forth).

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  • Make a plan
  • If you don’t have a fitness plan, it’s probably time to step back and figure out what your really want. You should start by asking relevant questions, such as: What am I trying to get out of this? Is there a better workout I could do? Do I look forward to working out, or is it becoming a burden? Is a particular workout appropriate for a person my age? Does my schedule allow me to get to the gym on a consistent basis? These are all good questions which can be answered by listening to your body, trusting yourself and doing a bit more research.

  • Try something new
  • Two red-flags in fitness are loss of interest and outright boredom. Both are signs that it may be time to switch things up. Loss of interest can be developed for many reasons. Maybe your routine has become too easy? Maybe it’s too intense? Maybe you’re not doing the right workout? Maybe there’s a toxic environment at your gym? Likely, a small change is all you need to re-ignite the fire.

    On the other hand, it’s time for a change if you’re experiencing outright boredom. If you’re workout isn’t somewhat enjoyable, there’s no point in torturing yourself. In fact, enjoyment should play a large role in the fitness process. If you lack enthusiasm, you’ll probably lose motivation. If you lose motivation, you probably won’t stick around long enough to see results.

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  • Change your workout schedule
  • Consistency is the key to fitness, but flexibility is important as well. One key to staying flexible is not locking in on a given schedule. Perhaps your goal is to get to the gym three days this week (e.g. Monday, Wednesday, Friday), but your feeling sluggish. If your flexible, you could scale to Tuesday and Thursday for an extra day of rest. Maybe you could skip the weekdays altogether and shoot for Saturday and Sunday? Maybe you can add a weekend day to your Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine? If you listen to your body and stay flexible, you’ll achieve consistency and consistency leads to results.

  • Increase the intensity
  • If you’ve gotten used to your workout, you could change your routine altogether. For example, if you’re getting tired of cycling classes, you can change to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). If HIIT’s too easy, you can start Crossfit. If Crossfit’s too easy, you’re not doing enough Crossfit.

    If you’re hitting a plateau in your workout routine, but you still enjoy it, try increasing the intensity. This simply means adding more weight, more distance, more effort, an extra day at the gym, etc.

  • Decrease the intensity
  • If you’re having trouble keeping up, it might be a good idea to decrease the intensity. If your body isn’t agreeing with you, lessening the challenge is the way to go. For instance, if Crossfit is no longer an age-appropriate workout, you should scale back to HIIT. If HIIT is too intense, you can scale to running, cycling or even a pickup game of your favorite sport. Getting injured defeats the purpose of working out. Furthermore, if aches and pains are becoming a hassle, it’s time for a break.

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  • Set a goal
  • If you don’t have a specific goal for your fitness routine, it’s time to pick one. It could be running a 5 or 10K. It could be increasing your one-rep max or a more challenging yoga routine. Having an goal can focus your attention in the right place. Never be afraid to set goals when it comes to fitness.

    Too many times our goals are left ambiguous because we don’t really want to commit or we’re afraid of failure. But just having a goal in mind gives you something to shoot for. And you don’t have to think of one right now. Take some time to find the recipe that will keep you interested in your health, and it doesn’t have to be elaborate. If your intentions are good, you’ll know what you need to do. And if your goal is to sweat, then don’t sweat the small stuff.