When it comes to working out or anything involving fitness, we sometimes tend to get stuck in our ways and do what we feel is comfortable. Examples:
- You come into the gym and head straight to your favorite cardio machines to start a long run or ride.
- You head to your favorite resistance machines and stay at the same weight because you want to “tone” and “not get too big”.
- You stay away from certain exercises because they’re “too hard” or you feel like it hurts to do them. (“I can’t squat because I have bad knees.”)
- You come into the gym without a planned workout, so you just gravitate to the same machines and exercises that you know well (and that make you look like you know what you’re doing!).
Here’s the thing: We as individuals don’t like to be uncomfortable, especially when it comes to working out. It’s human nature! Even as a fitness professional, there are things that I don’t like doing but know I should do them because you only can get better at something by working on it consistently and correctly.
It can be tough to break old habits, but you can start to build new ones that can slowly replace old ones over time. Here are a few ways to step out of your comfort zone and bring your fitness routines closer to success:
- Track your workouts
It’s easy to keep account of your progress when you have records of it. Write down every detail from your first warm-up exercise to your final cooldown stretch. By keeping track of your workouts, you’ll know where to start with certain weights, speeds, and resistances and be able to progress with the next steps. This is also a great way to set up a great routine to follow when you come into the gym so you feel prepared and ready to work hard!
- Take the time to warm-up and cool-down
We all know that feeling sore can be a little rough at times, but having a great dynamic warm-up and a minute to cool down and stretch can help with ongoing muscle soreness. Dynamic warm-ups prepare your muscles and connective tissue (like fascia, tendons, and ligaments) for the workout to come instead of shocking the body, making it tense up which can lead to soreness and injury. Stretching after your workout is also a great way to reduce muscles soreness and will set you up for success for the next workout.
- Try different equipment when you’re able and when necessary
If you’re working with resistance machines and feel confident in your strength, look into incorporating free weights to provide more of a challenge. If you’re always heading to the treadmill for your run, look into other types of cardio equipment like ellipticals, row machines, and bicycles, all of which have less impact on your joints and change up which muscles are activated during your cardio session. Changing up equipment also provides a change in scenery, which refreshes your perspective on your workouts and reenergizes you, all of which will keep you going.
We understand that taking the first step outside of your comfort zone can be hard – that’s why we’re here to help! If you’re unsure about where to start in this newest fitness journey, feel free to speak to one of our Personal Trainers about your complimentary Program Design Assessment included with your membership. We can help you get a fresh perspective on your fitness routine that can bring you success.
Ryan Foray is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer at American Family Fitness Short Pump and AFF blog contributor. As a personal trainer, Ryan believes that if you give an honest 100% effort, you will get an honest return from that effort. Specialties include: Powerlifting, Strength Building, Muscle Building, Functional Movement
Ryan is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Science – Mass Communications