Is your routine getting too routine?

There you are again, grudgingly pedaling away on the stationary bike – today’s winner in the cardio-machine crapshoot – and counting down the remaining minutes on your hill program. You’re not energized or even breathing hard. In fact, you’re downright bored. “But what else can I do?” you ask yourself. “I have to work out.”

Sound familiar? At one time or another, boredom hits most exercisers. Nevertheless, it’s a problem you need to recognize and tackle immediately – before boredom turns into burnout and you ditch your fitness program entirely. “Once you’re burned out, it’s hard to even think about sports,” says Tom Raedeke, Ph.D., an instructor in the kinesiology department at the University of Colorado-Boulder. But once you realize you’re in a rut, all it takes is a little creativity and some self-evaluation to get out of it. Here are nine ways to rekindle that workout flame.

Set goals. Perhaps you’ve never really thought about your fitness goals – maybe you like to run a few times a week and you’ve been doing it for years. “People get to the point where they keep doing what they have been and don’t notice arty improvement,” says Arthur Weltman, Ph.D., director of the exercise physiology program at the University of Virginia. Setting a goal, even a small one like running up that one killer hill a minute faster than you do now, gives you something to look forward to as wee as a way to gauge your progress. Just make sure the goals you pick are realistic for your fitness level and your lifestyle. Otherwise you may end up burned out because you’re always trying to achieve something beyond your capability. If you’ve always wanted to be a champion cyclist, for example, but you live in the city and have limited time to train, you might want to rethink your plans. Read more