Chugging along on the same sweaty treadmill five times a week can get pretty depressing (by, like, the third day). If you’re committed to getting into shape and/or staying there, you need to figure out a way to kill the boredom that overcomes you at the gym.
Not everybody lives in Hollywood and has drumhead-tight coeds to keep the scenery looking good. We do. But, if you’re part of 99% of the rest of the country, you probably need to figure out something to do while you’re doing the gym thing. Here’s a list of techniques, exercises, and practices that will get you on your way.
This is more difficult to do in a crowded gym after work, but if you go early in the morning (or are lucky enough to have a home gym), this is one of your best bets. Circuit training consists of cycling your exercises, one after the other, so that you’re doing basically 3 or 4 exercises at once. Here is a sample circuit training set, but you can make your own up depending on which muscle groups you want to focus one. Tip: keep the pace up so your heartrate doesn’t drop in order to reap maximum cardio benefits from your circuit.
Squats 10-12 30 seconds 2
Bench Press 10 30 seconds 2
Pulldown 10 30 seconds 2
Military Press 10 30 seconds 2
Upright Row 10 30 seconds 2
Get outside and get lost
One of the best ways to keep things fresh is to workout in a completely new environ. If you’re able to get out of the city or town you live in, find a hiking trail you’re unfamiliar with. Try running in a new park. Particular good areas for this are parks with old-school workout stations built into them like the boardwalk on Venice beach. Stop every few miles and do pullups. Try new trails and hit dead ends. Nine times out of ten you’ll run longer because you’re boyish instincts love exploring just as much now as they did back then. Tip: bring extra water and an energy bar just in case you get lost for real.
Make it a threesome
Threesomes are pretty awesome. Even if one person doesn’t show up, two of you can still get sweaty together and push each other to new peaks of physical, um, fitness. But, a three-person dynamic is ideal because one person slacking in a two-person group easily brings the entire group down a notch. It’s like having a safety net built into your motivation.
There was a great cross country coach that once said “long slow runs make long slow runners.” You might lose weight running the same pace for a long time, but it will take forever and you’ll be bored out of your skull. In order to get your ticker really ticking, burn more calories, and jar your head out of the foot-thumping fog most runners get into in the gym, do intervals. Do 4 minutes at your normal pace and then 1 minute 25 percent faster for your entire workout. It’ll keep your mind on the clock in a positive way, and up the intensity of your workout significantly.
Shop for real estate (and steak)
If you’re in the market for a new home, or you’re looking to move into a new apartment, go for runs in areas that you think you’d like to live in. Craigslist doesn’t cover every apartment listing there is (but it’s close). There are still plenty of renters/sellers who keep their advertising in print or simply with a sign in the lawn. Similarly, you can explore parts of your town you don’t normally go through – maybe look for a new steakhouse to replenish your protein stores after your killer pace run.
Get a mantra
A mantra is a word of phrase said, chanted, or thought in repetition in order to induce a sort of meditative calm. It’s a sort of way to get into the runner’s high extra fast. Here’s a list of some good ones:
Screw it; run through it
Relax and flow
You’re a runner. This is what you do
Nothing lasts forever
I am a machine
Beware the chair!
Thank you Apollo.
If you’re a member of Crunch, or a similarly luxurious gym, you might have internet access on your machine. If not, set up your exerbike (or whatever) in front of your TV and stream the hell out of “Lost,” or a similarly enthralling show. Make yourself a rule that you’re only allowed to watch it if you’re also on your cardio machine, and you’ll automatically do either 40, 80, or 120 minute workouts. If you’re doing more than that, you’re probably going to hurt yourself. Or is it the island that’s hurting you…