Amy Culver - The Queen of Lean
May 27, 2009    

Avoiding exercise boredom

Surgery

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Amy Culver
QueenOfLean.com

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Avoiding exercise boredom

Are you getting bored with your exercise and fitness routine?  A friend recently emailed me on this topic.  She said that she used to really look forward to going to the gym but now she's finding it hard to stay motivated.  She asked me for some thoughts on this and I decided that it would make a good newsletter topic.

I find that group fitness is a good way to stay interested and even entertained during my workout.  I know that many folks might feel a bit intimidated by the thought of working out with a group, but you really shouldn't be.  First of all, there are many options available, not just step aerobics, which is a good thing for me.  Whenever I've tried a step aerobics class, I spend so much time trying to figure out what my feet are supposed to do that I never get any kind of a workout.

I really enjoy cycle classes.  You can go at your own pace.  There are some simple "routines" the instructor will take you through, but, all you are doing is pedaling a bicycle – around and around.  And it's stationary!  No coordination required.  You pedal at your own speed and you are in charge of the resistance level that you have the bike set at.

Most gyms offer light-weight lifting classes.  You can choose how much weight you want to work with and the movements are simple and repetitive.  The instructor may count out 20 bicep curls, but if you only do 10, it doesn't matter.  It's an easy way to receive instruction on basic weight training and you can start with very small weights or even just body weight and work your way up.  There are often classes that use resistance tubes and balls as well.  These can offer even more variability to your workout.

Don't discount aqua aerobics as being just for "little old ladies."  Water provides 360 degree resistance.  Every direction you move has resistance.  Don't believe me?  Have you ever tried "running" across a pool?  All of that resistance is wonderful for toning your muscles.  It's also an excellent endurance workout.  Because there is very little joint pressure, you can move your entire body continuously for the whole class.

Group fitness also offers a way to make new friends.  I have made many friends in the classes that I have taken.  Over time, you see the same faces and it becomes easy to wind up chatting with other folks.  Eventually you'll notice that you are missed when you don't attend class for a length of time.  This adds a bit of accountability.

Now, if after all of that, you just don't want to do group fitness, here are some other things that you can do to help stay motivated.

Try moving from machine to machine.  Instead of 30 – 60 minutes on just the treadmill or elliptical, do 15 minutes each on 4 different machines.  Have you tried a stair mill?  You've probably seen these, they look like miniature escalators to nowhere.  My sister-in-law calls them medieval torture devices.  But you can start slow and just do it for 5 – 10 minutes.  It'll give your workout a bit of a kick start. 

Another tool that you might want to try, if your gym has one, is a versa-climber.  These look like inclined poles with foot holds and handles.  They're sort of like in-place mountain climbing.  And don't forget the rowing machines.  Most cardio machines work your lower body.  Rowers will give your legs a break and get all those upper body muscles moving.  They are great for your arms and back.

Here's one last trick that you can try, get a book on tape or CD.  You can borrow them free at your local library.  Here's the trick.  You have to make a pact with yourself that you will not listen to it unless you are working out.  You might even want to purposely leave yourself hanging on an exciting moment to help get you back to the gym tomorrow!

Surgery

Now... here's another tidbit of motivation for getting and staying fit and healthy.

About a month ago, I got the surprising news that I had to have my gallbladder removed.  I had been having some typical symptoms (pain and nausea), but they weren't severe.  I think that's because I don't eat a high-fat diet.  But my mother had gallstones that gave her problems and apparently it is a genetic thing.

So, off I went to surgery.

Now, it wasn't fun by any standard, but I will tell you that six days later I was at the gym with my dad (he drove!) doing a nice, slow walk on the treadmill.  Fifteen days later I was back to working with my clients.

I'm healing well and was able to get back to my usual routine in about two weeks.

I have no doubt that my fitness level played a major role in my quick recovery.  For one thing, I am diabetic.  Diabetes can cause some very serious problems with healing.  But my diabetes is completely under control and has been for years, so I had no complications.

It's just something to keep in mind.  Many of us end up with little surprises in life, it might be a particularly nasty virus or maybe a fall or accident of some sort.  The types of things that even healthy living can't help you to avoid.  So, even though you may not be able to avoid them, you can be better prepared to weather them.

Copyright 2009 Culver Fitness, LLC    
Queen of Lean is a registered trademark of Culver Fitness, LLC