Put down that cupcake, ma'am--
We're taking you downtown.
We're taking you downtown.
It's not just that I indulge in frequent bathroom humor, pick fights with senior citizens, or put Splenda in my coffee.
What's worse than all that?
It's that even when I do offer sensible health and fitness advice to readers, I sometimes totally blow it off myself.
Like, for example, with strength training. I said, just a few days ago: it's really important to pay attention to form. But do I pay attention to form? No, I do not! And every now and then I injure myself. (Go figure.)
But the worst example is the way I always recommend variety when it comes to exercise. Sure, it's the best way to remotivate when you're in a bit of a slump. It really is smart to try something different!
Yet, I don't.
I do the same things over and over, even when I'm totally bored with them. Because change involves effort. And doing something new might require some research, or force me to confront my own ignorance, or it could make me look like an ass! Much easier to keep things the same.
Are you one of those stubborn sorts who needs to get out of your exercise rut? Need a little kick in the pants to try something new? Well, here are some of the very few tips I can offer for making yourself do something different.
Note: These are Special Slacker Tips, so no proactive energy is required, and there's no need to summon up any (ughh) motivation. They happen... or they don't. Whatever!
1. Hurt Yourself.
This is the best "mix it up" motivator ever. It's the number one reason I have not done the exact same cardio routine my entire life. If I did not have knee issues, I would go running every day. Probably on the same route, at the same speed, for the same distance, wearing the same outfit, listening to the same music, until the end of time.
But damn it, I can't. Well, I still cling to the same tattered workout clothes year after year, because I hate shopping, but as to running? I can only go a couple times a week, on soft surfaces. And only if I ice my knees afterwards and ignore the creaky crunchy noises I make going up or down stairs.
So instead I mix up my cardio by using the elliptical, walking up hills or on the treadmill at 15 percent incline, or, if I'm really desperate, I do the dorkwalking thing. (And some day I may actually take some sort of cardio class again, like I did in the eighties--as soon as my gym decides to hold a class just for me, with a friendly but not-too-perky instructor, using only the music I like, and scheduled for the precise second I walk in the gym. Not too much to ask, is it?)
But here's the bright side to my not getting to run enough: If I could do it as often as I wanted, I would probably grow to loathe running too! However, since I really probably shouldn't be running at all, when I do it feels more like a treat. (OK, "treat" is definitely overstating it. A big bowl of chocolate ice cream, that's a treat).
2. Go to a Crowded or Poorly Maintained Gym.
Have a favorite strength training or cardio exercise that requires a particular piece of equipment? While you may vastly prefer "your" machine to the alternatives, one way to forcibly shove yourself out of your usual routine is see the dreaded "Out Of Service" sign hanging there, sneering at you. Or worse, just witness a parade of other, less deserving gym-goers hogging your machine and not letting you on it!
Here's a tip: almost anything you can do with one piece of equipment, you can do with another. Just do a bit of research, get some professional advice, whine a lot, and voila: variety!
3. Move Somewhere with Crappier or Nicer Weather than You're Accustomed to.
If you're used to trotting or strolling or biking outdoors in a mild climate, and you find yourself living somewhere with 110 degree heatwaves, torrential downpours, subzero temperatures, or 10 foot snowdrifts, you may be surprised to discover that there are Indoor Exercise Spaces known as gyms! There is also stuff you can buy for your own basement, or even shopping malls where it is possible to at least walk around when the weather is unbearable. While these exercise solutions may not be ideal, they give you a whole different set of accessories to buy, things to do, and people and/or walls to stare at.
Conversely, if you live where the weather is crappy, and you've grown used to hopping on indoor machines so you can run, bike, climb, or row, you may be equally shocked to discover that these activities can be accomplished outdoors when the weather doesn't suck! You don't have to wait for a running trail, or wipe it down afterwards like you do a treadmill. Check it out!
4. Humiliate Yourself.
Have a favorite aerobics class at 6pm every night? Always go walking down the same street at the same hour and wave to the same folks? Whatever your routine, just see how flexible you get about changing it if you suffer an unexpected clothing malfunction, a spectacular fall, or an unfortunate release of bodily fluids. New settings and times of day will start to look much more appealing if you want to avoid re-traumatizing yourself every time you work out.
5. Read blogs by people more adventurous than yourself.
If you have a truly inflexible personality like the Crab, then reading others' accounts of their exercise adventures won't be enough to coax you out of your rut. However, when the unexpected happens and you are forced to do something different, it's nice to know ahead of time what fitness options are available.
One awesome resource is Charlotte at The Great Fitness Experiment. She tries a new experiment every month and writes very entertaining posts about her exploits. Or, if you're thinking of trying Fitness DVD's, the Fit Bottomed Girls have excellent reviews and recommendations of all kinds of different types of DVD's.
I can't help noticing that many of you in blogland are way more adventurous than I am. After all, Dr. J recently took up boxing, and learned to punch the speed bag just like a girl. And Geosomin is doing bellydancing! Even the Bag Lady, following MizFit's lead, has become a champion weightlifter.
Perhaps I'll have to take up some more adventurous form of exercise, like, say, extreme base jumping in a wingsuit!
Anyone else struggle with getting stuck in the same routine?