In an at-home workout rut? Here are 8 ways to get back on track

You’re only a few weeks into your at-home fitness plan and a once-refreshing morning run is feeling repetitive, your favorite strength routine just isn’t challenging anymore, and Netflix has asked you and your family if you’re still watching at least a dozen times.

If you’ve found yourself in a fitness routine rut, don’t worry. You can use these tips to refresh, realign, and get the most out of your movement.

1. Align (or realign) with your goals.

Sometimes it’s not the workout that’s impacting your consistency, but the fact that you’ve lost sight of your goals. “What motivates people to stay consistent is different for everybody,” says Victor Hall, vice president of facilities at EXOS. “It's up to us as individuals to keep ourselves interested.” Try visualizing yourself accomplishing a big goal. What does it look, feel, or sound like? Keep that in your mind to use as a motivational tool.

2. Get creative.

If you’re running out of ideas for mixing up your routine, try turning a chore like organizing and cleaning the garage into a warmup. “Anything that gets your heart rate and body temperature up and incorporates different types of movement will work,” says Hall. But don’t forget to focus on form while you’re bending, squatting, and twisting your way through your chores.

3. Take it up (or down) a notch.

If you’re dreading your home workout, skipping it altogether, or even feeling less challenged than usual, consider making a change. “Your body will tell you when you need progression,” says Jennifer Noiles, EXOS performance director at Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine in Minnesota. “If you’re not feeling that residual stiffness after a workout, try taking it up a notch with higher weight or more reps in your next session. Or if you’re extremely sore, scale it back.”

4. Try a quality home workout plan.

Home workouts and tips are flooding your social channels, but it takes more than likes and shares to help you reach your goals. If you’re looking for digital options, keep quality in mind. Look for options from your trusted resources that focus on your overall health and well-being, not just six-pack abs or weight loss. With livestreaming and on-demand workouts, plus daily tips and educational content on staying strong and healthy, is a great place to start. Or upgrade your Instagram feed by following EXOS or Onnit, one of our trusted partners.

5. Focus on safe, high-quality movement.

In the gym, one of a coach’s main jobs is to ensure the safety of their clients with the right balance of intensity and recovery. “It’s easy to help maintain movement quality in person,” Noiles says. “But digital options require coaches to program to a baseline skill level, with options to skill up or down.” That means finding digital resources that rely on certified coaches to lead livestreams and build workouts. 

6. Put it on your calendar.

Your workday is filled with competing priorities, especially when you’re working at home. That’s why Hall suggests setting aside three 30-minute blocks per week with the idea that they might be moved around if necessary. “I know if I don’t block that time, it just won’t happen,” says Hall. “For me it’s a placeholder that gives me flexibility but still holds me accountable.” If you’re looking for help getting started, try a light morning movement session, midday total-body reset routine, or quick bodyweight workout.

7. Keep it quick and simple.

Adjusting to your new normal means that you might not have time for your favorite hour-long run or bike ride. That makes committing to workouts that are quick, simple, and easy to fit in between home-schooling, conference calls, and cooking meals a must. Hall recommends completing 1-2 circuits that last 10 minutes each, finding a 15-minute session online, or combining family time with movement time. And if you’re still short on time, try one of these 5-minute movement breaks.

8. Achieve balance.

A balanced workout schedule should include strength training, mobility activities, cardio endurance, and active recovery. And that doesn’t change just because the gym is closed. “Creating a plan that alternates various activities can help you avoid burnout and overuse injuries,” says Hall. “I’ve also found people are more likely to stick with their routine.”

Still stuck? Try motivating yourself with a gift – equipment for new moves in your at-home gym. Check out our recommendations for outfitting any size space.

About the Author

Kara Hawking

Kara Hawking is a Phoenix-based freelance writer.

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