8 Tips to Help You Overcome a Workout Rut

Photo by Aral Tasher on Unsplash

We’ve all been there right? You’re smashing your workouts, eating well and then all of a sudden it all goes belly up! You end up in that dreaded workout rut, thinking of the days gone by when you were feeling like a boss. But fear not, here are 8 tried and tested tips to help you out of that workout rut.

1. Try something new

Do you have the same workout routine on repeat? If so, you’ll probably end up experiencing workout fatigue. When I first started strength training, I had a great routine in place, but I over-killed it and ended up in a workout rut. If you do the same workout routine again and again, your body will get used to it and you won’t reap the same benefits. This is why it’s so important to mix up your routine and keep your body guessing.

I recently switched up my workout routine by swapping a weights session for swimming. If you’re hitting the weights hard, why not head to your local Parkrun on Saturday morning instead. Or if you’re a cardio addict, why not try a full body dumbbell routine. There are a multitude of things out there which aren’t restricted to the gym, you could try yoga, football, climbing, skating – or if your unsure, why not write down a list of workouts or activities, throw them in a hat and pick one at random to give a go!

2. Review your goals and track your progress

Are you working out to lose weight, get toned, build muscle, improve your fitness…? What were you original goals when you started? It’s important to review your goals and progress on an ongoing basis. Set goals that are ambitious but achievable.

If you set unrealistic goals, you run the risk of becoming demotivated or burning out. But if you set goals which you’re achieving very easily – well either you’re a beast or you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. Breaking down your goals into bite sized chunks is also a good way to make sure you stay on track. Plus you’ll get to celebrate hitting milestones on the way to achieving that end goal!

Tracking your progress will keep you motivated and pushing yourself that little bit further each workout. I find this especially true when it comes to lifting weights. I downloaded an app called Gym Hero, which basically allows you to keep track of your lifts and compares them to your previous attempt. I’d definitely recommend this app if you’re stuck in a strength training rut. 

3. Refresh your playlist

When I had my workout on repeat, I also had my playlist on repeat – not good. I was listening to the same tracks again and again, and when I finally got round to making a new playlist I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner! Refreshing your playlist can make a world of difference, so spend an hour or two looking for some new tunes.

4. Buy new workout gear or gadgets

OK, so this is one of my favorite solutions. I’m a workout clothes addict. I prefer buying workout clothes to regular clothes, and if I could, I’d live in gym leggings 24/7. But when in a rut, I find a bit of shopping always helps – I suppose it’s called retail therapy for a reason! If gym clothes aren’t your poison, why not buy a new pair of workout trainers or a pair of Bluetooth headphones instead. It doesn’t have to be an expensive purchase, just something to get you back into your workout mind frame!

5. Review your nutrition and sleep patterns

When you’re working out, it’s so important that your nutrition and sleep are on point. After all, what you’re eating is fueling your workout. And when you’re asleep, well that’s when you’re recovering. If you’re not eating enough, eating too much, or just eating the wrong stuff, you might find yourself in a rut. Similarly if you’re running on two hours sleep, you’re unlikely to want to hit the gym first thing in the morning or straight after a long day at work. Dependent on your goals, make sure you’re getting the right nutrition. Remember, eating well and sleeping at least 6 hours a day will help keep the workout rut at bay!

6. Plan ahead with a visual reminder

So I recently invested in a small whiteboard for my bedroom and this has been a complete game changer! Every Sunday, I’ll plan my workouts for the week and write them on my whiteboard. Having a clearly displayed visual reminder of my workout plan gives me the motivation I need to hit the gym when I get home from work. Because in all honesty, sometimes when I come home from work I just want to put on an episode of Say Yes to the Dress and have a cup of tea and cake. I write up my workouts every Sunday and I add a random quote of the week to my board as well, just for the extra motivational boost.  

7. Find new sources of inspiration

If you’re in a workout rut, finding new sources of inspiration might give you the boost you need to get going. Whether you want to scour Instagram or the web in general, coming across new content might be just what you need. I recently started reading POPSUGAR Fitness on a regular basis. I reckon I’m late to the bandwagon with this site, but some articles have really got me in the mood to workout. I’ve even downloaded POPSUGAR ACTIVE app and tried some of the home workouts which have been great. The main thing here is to look for content which inspires you to get going. 

8. Vent or find a community

And last but not least, sometimes when we’re in a rut, the best solution might be venting. Call up a friend and share your workout woes or woes in general. Or better yet, get involved with a fitness community. If you struggle to get motivated by yourself, workout with a friend or head to a CrossFit class. Immerse yourself in a community where people are trying to achieve the same goals or enjoy the same activities as you. Remember, there is always someone out there who can relate to your workout woes!

What are your tips for overcoming a workout rut?

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