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Let’s face it; following a monotonous one-dimensional training routine can be mind-numbingly boring. Even worse, this rut may not only be affecting you mentally but also physically. By performing the same old routine day in and day out, or even week in and week out, chances are that you will hit a training plateau rather quickly and reach a point of progressively diminishing returns. So not only will you be fighting a mental battle of boredom but you will also be fighting to see any sort of results from from your training.
Because of this, we need to come up with a strategic plan which not only addresses the mental aspect of training but which also continually forces progressive overload.
If you currently hit the gym solo, why not find a friend to train with? Training with a partner not only makes the workout feel more like a visit with your mate, but it also brings out your natural competitive nature. I mean, who wants to be bested by their bestie?
My suggestion would be to find a friend who is either very disciplined and dedicated to training or who is more advanced than yourself so that they can push you to keep up.
People tend to be creatures of habit and generally train the way they have been taught. Yes, the way you have been taught may be the right way, but when it comes to fitness, there is often more than one right way to get results.
If, for example, you are trying to gain muscle, you don’t just have to stick to the same old exercises, rep ranges and sets. Instead, change things up. Try new exercises, mix exercise order, add in training techniques like drop sets, super sets and forced reps; all of which will challenge both your muscles and your mental toughness. Believe me, there will be no time to get bored when you are constantly moving and really pushing yourself to cope with the new regimen.
Yip, you read that right! Effective gym sessions don’t have to be long gym sessions. All that you are required to do is reshuffle your workouts to get more work done in less time.
When it comes to weight training, performing circuit-style workouts or workouts which include giant sets, tri-sets or compound sets will allow you to smash muscle groups within a few minutes. This is because you perform exercises back-to-back with little to no rest in between. While you may not be able to lift as heavy as you normally do, this style of training will still offer a tremendous amount of muscle fibre stimulation, if not more than traditional training. Super-sets will also speed up time in the gym and allow you to work opposing muscle groups. This technique allows you to train one muscle group while the opposing group rests, meaning you will still be able to keep those strength levels up.
When it comes to cardio, instead of opting for long bouts of steady-state training, rather opt for HIIT workouts. Depending upon how you train, HIIT cardio duration can be from as little as 4 minutes to a maximum of 20 minutes. They are going to be intense, but you’ll be in and out of the gym before you know it.
Unfortunately, if your goal is to really build muscle, you are going to have to keep it in the gym for your resistance training, however, when it comes to cardio why spend all that time on the treadmill when you can get outdoors, soak up some sun and get fresh air? Not only will training outdoors make you feel more invigorated, but it may also make you train harder. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Essex in England, training in green surroundings helps to reduce perceived fatigue during exercise, meaning that you will be able to push harder for longer thereby burning more calories.
If you are just looking to achieve a more athletic natural toned physique, then training outdoors also lends itself to performing bodyweight exercises. You can do push-ups on the ground, dips on a park bench and pull ups on the neighbourhood jungle gym. The options are endless and the entire body can be trained.
My suggestion would be to find a local park or surroundings which you find beautiful and relaxing. These surroundings will make your workout feel more pleasurable than when training in a dark gym. But remember, outdoor workouts aren’t supposed to be a Sunday stroll, you will still need to push yourself to get maximum results.