How to Get Out of a Workout Rut


I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in a bit of a workout rut lately.

My actual workouts are still going great. I’m making steady improvements, and never miss a day (unless it’s my rest day, but that’s intentional of course).

I still end up sweaty, breathless and starving at the end of each workout, and typically lay on the floor in an exhausted heap after the last timer beeps. And I almost always beat my previous times and reps.

But still… I feel like I need a challenge. Something new, something that I don’t immediately do really well, something that’s… hard for me. Something to shake things up.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Being in a rut (or at least, feeling like it), whether it’s with your workouts or something else in your life, sucks. If you’re anything like me, it makes you feel less empowered, less awesome, and definitely less badass.

But unsurprisingly, this isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this rut feeling… and luckily, I’ve figured out ways to get out of it in the past.

Here’s what I’ve learned about getting out of a workout rut:

Commit to a specific goal.

I usually find that I start getting lazier with my workouts when I don’t have a specific goal in mind. I’m pretty good at working out six days a week because I established it as a habit a few years ago—but pushing myself so that I always make progress during those workouts is another story. If I’m not careful, they get monotonous, a little boring, and way too routine seeming.

The best way to do this is to commit to a specific goal, even for just a short amount of time (30 days is a good place to start).

For example, you could commit to working on a specific exercise for 30 days. I recently decided to focus on perfecting my handstands, using the awesome free guide from the guys at Gold Medal Bodies. You could work on pull ups, pistols, even box jumps. Whatever excites you.

Or, if consistency is your problem, make a goal to start being really consistent with your workouts. If you need some extra accountability, Fitter Faster Stronger HIIT training may be an easy, affordable answer.

Whatever your goal, make sure it’s specific and measureable so you’re easily able to keep track of your progress.

Find someone to compete with

If you work out alone, it’s sometimes hard to find the motivation to constantly push yourself out of a plateau.

That’s because for most of us, it’s way more difficult to push as hard as we can, to get in one… last… rep… when there’s no coach, or trainer, or team to keep us going. We may start out feeling motivated, but soon get a little lazy… and that, unsurprisingly, often leads to a rut.

The simple answer?

Find someone to compete with.

This can be your neighbor, your spouse, a friend that lives halfway across the world, even an online community (like the one coming soon to 12 Minute Athlete!).

It doesn’t matter who it is… all that matters is that you constantly push each other to work as hard as possible and stay out of a rut.

Get out in nature.

If you work out in a tiny apartment, a hotel room, or even a stuffy gym, it can be pretty normal to start feeling uninspired and bored with your workouts. After all, what’s so motivating about staring at a blank wall or going to the same spot in the same gym five days a week?

If you want to really mix up your workouts and soar past your recent plateau, start getting outside as much as possible.

Taking your workouts outside may make you feel a little silly and self-conscious, but it’ll also make you push harder (especially if there are any other people nearby since you’ll obviously want to wow them with your strength), give you more energy and leave you feeling playful and happy.

And if you can’t take your actual workout outside, at least be active outdoors as much as possible—going for a bike ride, taking a hike with friends or playing tennis outside will all translate to greater gains and motivation during your workouts.

Get inspired.

When all else fails, look to others to help you get out of a rut.

Read inspiring stories. Watch Ted Talks. Listen to the kid president. Watch sports superstars and Olympic athletes—and let their greatness motivate you to embrace your own athletic abilities.

Ultimately, it’s your own decision whether you’re going to stay in a rut—or find a way to get past it for good.

So make the choice. Get motivated, work your ass off… and push past that plateau.

If I can do it, so can you.

So go get yourself out of that rut. I believe in you.

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