5 Items to Snap You Out of Your Daily Work Out Routine

by Brett & Kate McKay on February 22, 2011 · 397 comments

in Blog

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Every man should strive to be fit. It’s not a matter of aesthetics or getting six pack abs. It’s about functional strength and the way a healthy body can affect every aspect of your life. Keeping yourself in shape boosts your happiness, brain power, confidence, and success, allows you to play with your kids now and live long enough to see them grow up, and prepares you to save your own life or the lives of others.

Of course keeping yourself in top physical condition is easier said than done. Boredom and a lack of motivation can kill our desire to go for a run or get to the gym. Doing the same work out routine day-in-and-day-out gets old fast. And repeating the same work out may actually cause a plateau in your progress. So to stick with it and get results, a man needs to periodically break out of his tired old workout routine and mix things up from time to time.

Adding in a few different tools can make your fitness routine feel fresh again. To snap out of your usual, tired and boring workout routine, we suggest giving these five items a try.

Iron Gym Pull-Up Bar

There’s a reason why most branches of the military uses the pull-up as one of their fitness benchmarks. In this simple exercise, your body calls upon multiple muscle groups, including your lats, shoulders, back, forearms, biceps, and core. But many men skip the pull-up and instead do multiple exercises to work these same muscles.  Snap out of your typical workout routine with the Iron Gym Pull-up Bar. The Iron Gym is a pull-up bar that attaches to your doorway with pressure alone–no screws or bolts. Here’s a typical workout routine I personally do with the Iron Gym. I based it off Pavel’s “Grease the Groove” exercise philosophy. Just put it between a door frame that you frequently pass through and leave it there. Whenever you walk in or out of the room, crank out two or three pull-ups. Never go to failure. After a few weeks of consistently doing this, you’ll be surprised by the results. You’ll be significantly stronger and have honed that manly V-shaped torso that women find so attractive.

Vibram Five Fingers

Human beings are designed to run. Back in our tribal days, we used to run for hours on end in pursuit of our dinner. But we weren’t designed to run in big clunky shoes filled with foam, air pockets, and “shocks.” And therein lies the problem with the old running shoe routine: there aren’t any studies that show that shoes with a bunch of whiz-bang features help you run better or ward off injuries. In fact, some researchers theorize that conventional running shoes may actually cause injuries by preventing you from running the way your body was designed to.

Of course our feet, having been pampered and protected since we were newborn babes, are too tender to suddenly be ground into the gravel. What they need is a covering that offers protection from glass and rocks while not inhibiting the natural barefoot running form. This is where Vibram Five Fingers come in. Vibrams are like gloves for your feet.  There’s no padding, and there’s a slot for each one of your toes. When you wear Vibrams, you feel like you’re barefoot. People who have made the switch to Vibrams have reported improved posture, elimination of lower back pain, and decreased running injuries. They also report funny looks from people at the gym, but they get used to that.

Heart Rate Monitor with GPS

Any kind of exercise is great; just getting outside and moving your body around for awhile has it’s benefits. But using a tool to track just how hard you’re working can take your fitness up to the next level. That’s why heart rate monitors are an effective tool in a man’s exercise arsenal. They let you know if you’re slacking off and if you’re really training at a high enough intensity. Men like competition and perhaps the best competition is with yourself, seeing just how hard you can push your body, willing it to beat last week’s marks. And knowing how many calories you’ve burned can be really motivating, not just because you can put a tangible number with your workout, but also because you realize how hard it is to burn even 600 calories and how easily you can put them back by stuffing a donut in your piehole when you get home.

Having a heart rate monitor with a built-in GPS is even more handy. It can track your speed and distance during biking or running workouts, so you don’t have to guesstimate how far you’ve gone. You can also create laps for yourself and compare your last 16 workouts. All of this data can be easily uploaded to your computer for creating reports on your progress, so you can see if you’re improving week to week.

Kettlebells

Barbells and dumbbells are a fantastic way to increase strength and muscle mass. But chances are you’ve been using them for years, doing the same old exercises over and over again. You need something to snap you out of your tired routine. Enter the kettlebell, one of the best training tools out there. What’s a kettlebell you ask? Imagine a cannonball with a handle. Awesome and awesomely manly.

Created by Russian weightlifters, kettlebells have been used for many decades by athletes and strongmen to perform high intensity workouts that provide strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility training. A short 30 minute workout with one of these babies builds muscle, burns  fat, and gets you in the best physical condition of your life. Become strong like bull. Start using kettlebells.

Medicine Ball

Weights. Treadmill. Crunches.

Does that sound like your workout routine? How would you like to do a workout used by Ancient Greeks and famous pugilists like John L. Sullivan?

Then it’s time to get your manly paws on the old medicine ball. Medicine balls are one of history’s oldest pieces of exercise equipment. Ancient Persians would fill animal bladders with sand to create their medicine balls. Fast forward to the 19th century, and you’ll find physical culture enthusiasts and boxers throwing around medicine balls to invigorate and strengthen their muscles. Today the medicine ball is experiencing a revival with fitness enthusiasts across the world. They’re one of the best pieces of exercise equipment to help build functional strength, and they can be used to do exercises that are both fun and effective.

Win a Polar RS300X G1 Heart Rate Monitor Watch with G1 GPS Sensor

Hyundai will be giving away a Polar RS300x G1 Heart Rate Monitor Watch to one lucky AoM reader, so he can start snapping himself out of his workout routine. Here’s how to enter the sweepstakes:

Leave a comment sharing a fitness tip that you use to snap out of your workout routine and mix things up.

Deadline to enter is March 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm CST.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES (D.C.) 18 YEARS AND OLDER.  ENDS 3/27/11.  TO ENTER AND FOR OFFICIAL RULES, INCLUDING ODDS AND PRIZE DESCRIPTIONS, VISIT HERE.  VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

{ 397 comments… read them below or add one }

301 Carter February 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Pull-ups – awesome!
Kettlebells – awesome!

I have started running a 1/4mile between each exercise I do at the gym and stopped doing the “3 sets of 10″ routine of boredom.

302 Dahlé February 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm

It’s simple: Time. At least once a week, I allow myself only 20 minutes at the gym. Let’s be honest; the hardest part about working out is actually getting the motivation to get out there and do it. On the days I am lacking energy or drive, I give myself 20 minutes and say: “Alright bruv, you’ve only got 20 minutes. Work extra hard at this”. It’s easier to psych yourself up for 20 minutes of physical activity than it is an hour or it.
Some of my best work outs have come on these days!

303 Adam Core February 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I actually made my own pull up bar after reading the article about it here and bought some Vibrams after seeing a guy wear em at the grocery store. I gotta say both are a good change of pace. I also found a guy on youtube (trainer david) that gives quick work outs to burn off fat while building lean muscle which is great since I’ve never been able to get a bulky look.

304 Creedence February 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm

To snap out of the regular workout routine, I do the olympic lifts (snatch, clean and jerk) for sets of singles. Quick and painless, but tiring. Also, kettlebell work is a must.

305 James February 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm

What has snapped me out of my routine is that instead of doing lifting three days and cardio three to five days a week, I’ve changed to three days of lifting with three days of rock climbing and two days of cardio. I’ve already noticed my flexibility and upper body strength improving in just two weeks!

306 Walking Man February 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Wear a watch. Always. Even if you’re just lifting. Keeps you focused.

307 Drew February 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I enjoy cycling to help with my fitness. I cycle to work, to the shops and just for pleasure. But as with all exercise you can fall into a pattern, a simple way to change this is to just change your route. Just by changing your route can give your fitness the jump start it needs.

308 Matt February 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I head over to the local playground early before the kids take over. There is a set of rings for pull ups and dips, monkey bars, a climbing rope, and plenty of space for pull ups. Doing pushups on a pair of swings really helps build those stabilizing muscles

309 David February 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm

To break out of my routine and get back and shape, I joined CrossFit and started doing yoga. CrossFit is unlike any training I’ve done before, and having the entire class do the same workout helps push me harder. Plus, there is a different workout every day, with no two being the same. It’s definitely the kick in the butt that I needed. Yoga has helped loosen up my hips (tore a hip flexor in high school and it has been extremely stiff ever since), so I no longer get stiff during or after workouts. These two things have snapped me out of my old routine.

310 Danny February 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I live about a mile and a half away from the gym I go to, and sometimes instead of driving to the gym, I’ll ride my bicycle or jog to the gym, complete my workout, then ride or jog back home.

311 Chad February 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Tired of going to the gym? Midnight run!

I always enjoy getting my body moving again, which peps up my attitude about going back to the gym, and running at midnight has enough novelty to allow me to enjoy seeing the world when it’s quiet!

312 cmarnold February 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Don’t exercise – instead play. Skip, run backwards or sideways every few minutes on your routine jog. Climb a tree with your kids, even if you really intend to do pull-ups from the lower branches. Fake out your dog on a walk and sprint between telephone poles.

313 Mark February 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Push ups. I know you hate them – so do I BUT they deliver. Do them every morning and every night. Start with 5 or less, whatever you can manage and add a few every week. You’ll be doing 50 twice a day before you know it. It takes less than a minute to do your push ups and brings real tangible results for no cash.

314 Mark February 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Do Push ups. I know you hate them – so do I BUT they deliver. Do them every morning and every night. Start with 5 or less, whatever you can manage and add a few every week. You’ll be doing 50 twice a day before you know it. It takes less than a minute to do your push ups and brings real tangible results for no cash.

315 Torrey B. February 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm

When I have too much to read during the week and don’t feel like I can take the time to go to the gym across campus, I flatten my books out on the ground and do planks while I read. It’s a great way to strengthen your core (and arms) and you don’t even need any equipment.

316 Roger T. February 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm

My best training tip: Review your training history to create your training plan. Keep some form of a log–notations on days of a calendar, spiral bound notebook, etc.–to keep track of what you have done, how many, the time taken, how you felt, etc. (A good added step is to note the time spent in the zone, maximum heart rate, etc. from using that new heart rate monitor!) Then expand forward to schedule workouts that mix in exercises or use ones that you haven’t touched for a few weeks or months.

By scheduling workout plans you can put some thought into what you are trying to achieve (or see how much you may have backslid). This can prevent your “routine” from becoming too routine or even plateaued. Memory can fail; written plans–and how you executed them–keep us honest with ourselves. I do this when training for a race or event. My written record keeps me grounded and on track.

317 Allen February 23, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I try to mix up my timing on weight days. If I’ve done heavier weights for a couple of weeks, I’ll do a “speed” week where minimal rest between sets is the goal. I also try not to do the same routine for more than a month on any particular body part.

I’ve also been trying to get away from isolation workouts and more total body workouts this year. Got tired of doing bench presses and feeling like I wasn’t adding significant increases.

318 Kevin Wright February 23, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I’ve been working out in hotels for the last 6 months, now that I’m home working again I’m going to a fitness center and I’ll be working with a fitness instructor to develop a personal workout for me.

319 Javier February 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Rather than doing all of my exercises in one big chunk, I like to split it up into several small groups and attack less workouts with the intensity of a circuit.

This:
Flat Bench
Power Cleans
^switching quickly between both for 5 sets, then going to next group:
Hammer Curls
Pull Ups
Bent Over Rows
(and so on)

Instead of:
Flat Bench
Power Cleans
Hammer Curls
Pull Ups
Bent Over Rows
^all at once, 5 sets

320 Jonathan A February 23, 2011 at 11:18 pm

I was quite surprised by the mention of the vibram 5 fingers, as I’m a proud owner of these shoes for the better part of 2 years now. I didn’t buy these shoes right away, I wanted to do a bit of research on them since it wasn’t the cheapest choice for a new pair of running shoes.
After reading some reviews and information on bare-foot running,(like the 1960 Olympics barefoot winner) I decided to give these a try, I haven’t looked back, and I don’t think I’ll ever switch to the traditional running shoe again. I just really need to stress the importance in doing a bit more research on these shoes, for one, your muscle are weak, really weak, and you will realize this when you put these on and try to run your regular routine. You’ll probably get through it just fine, but you’re legs the next day will be sore like never before.
Your using so many more muscles running barefoot then that of your running shoe counterpart, so you need to take it easy. This is just one of several things you need to consider to better prepare your body for when you purchase these shoes. But it’s a great feeling once you warm up to these bad boys, and the versatility of these are unmatched by anything else on the market right now.

321 CarlnNJ February 24, 2011 at 9:49 am

I train hard three days per week, so I don’t feel the need to exercise every day.
Days not in the gym I am fortunate to have a job where I am out in the field a lot, clambering around job sites, so I get to stay active while on the job.
The kettle bell suggestion is nice, but from what I’ve learned it should not be started alone, you need someone to guide you.

322 John February 24, 2011 at 10:26 am

Push-ups in the elevator! In my building, the beeps at each floor set a great pace to hold each rep and focus on my form. They also get more difficult as the elevator slows down and comes to a stop.

And yes, I jump to my feet and try to act casual if it stops to let someone on.

323 Reid February 24, 2011 at 10:27 am

I try to find new machines to use that work the muscles from different angles. Sometimes I switch up from using the heaviest weights I can handle to failure to lightening up and doing more reps. I also use dumbells versus the machines.

324 Sean Fox February 24, 2011 at 10:39 am

Here are two ideas.

1. Go to the sandlot at a local middle or elementart school that has monkey bars, high bars and a set up parrallel bars….
5 rounds for time
25 Pushups
25 Situps
15 Pullups
15 DIps
Record your time and try to beat it the next time out

2. Get a Navy Sea Bag and go to home depot and buy some play sand and green trash bags. Fill about 5 trashbags with sand duct tape them but good. You now have an adjustable sand bag you can use for loaded carrys, clean and presses etc. I have used a 65 pound bag for a 1 mile carry. Fun, fun fun.

325 Alex February 24, 2011 at 11:08 am

Before I open the fridge I do 30 pushups. Makes forgetting the Ketchup an exercise!

326 Adam February 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

One thing that I always find that puts me in a rut is my surroundings. Running around the same circle daily gets boring and tedious. So you should change your surroundings constantly. A three mile run seems so much faster and easier if your mind isn’t on the running and just observings things going on and losing yourself in thought.

327 Stephen February 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Only currently running and basic push ups, pull ups etc. However ever, I do the work out late at night, I am a night out, so it keeps me up and going.

328 Jonathan February 24, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I try to involve my wife in my workout sometimes. We trade ideas for some workouts and you would be surprised how hard some female workout regimens can be sometimes!

329 Carson February 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Do your usual lifting routine, but do each lift using a single arm or leg. Bench? Use two dumbells. Leg Press? Single leg. Etc. etc. Pull-ups? OK, if you can do one-arm pull-ups, you are officially The Man.

The single workout will crush you and really show where you have unequal strength. Do it for two weeks and be amazed at your gains when you go back to the two-hand.

330 Martin S February 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I usually stop and do as many push-ups as I can whenever I am feeling lethargic. Or, If I need a quick pick me up I do the stretch and plank into downward dog yoga move a few times.

331 KA February 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I think one arm dumbbell snatch is a great way to use multiple muscles and get your heart rate up. It definitely breaks the monotony of a tired workout routine. Use a weight that feels heavy to you but you’re still able to do 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.

332 AKW February 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Read books and blog posts on exercise: learn all you can to be an informed and intelligent athlete.

333 MykeBuckingham February 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I do my daily regiment of 99 pushups – three sets of 33. When i’m feeling extra pumped i like to challenge myself to switch push up styles, by sets of 11. I’ll switch to fist- push ups, finger tip push-ups, or diamond pushups, (where my index and thumbs on both hands form a diamond shape) depending what im feeling. So i might do 22 pushups and switch my final 11 to fist pushups, or do 11 fist, 11 fingertips, and 11 diamonds. This keeps it more interesting and speaks to my jack of all trades inside me.

334 Mick February 24, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Whenever I get into a slump I try to use a household object. For example, I recently started using a regular table chair in my workout to spice things up. The exercises you can do? Squats, holding the chair over your head. Rows and straight-legged deadlifts. Dips. Situps, if you can wedge the chair under a door (and make sure you don’t go beyond parallel). The possibilities are endless. All you need is your imagination.

335 AKW February 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Improve your range of motion. I like to increase stretching time or try more dynamic routines like pilates. Focus on your form and you might be surprised at the difficulty, esp if you don’t have the flexibility.

336 Graham February 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Try adding wrist weights (or some other type of wearable weights) while you exercise. This will help tone your arms and upper-body while you exercise.

337 Scott February 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm

“Whenever you walk in or out of the room, crank out two or three pull-ups.”

As a personal trainer I have to recommend against this. If you’re cranking out pull-ups every day, your muscles will find it very difficult to properly recover.

I think there is a very common misconception that working out more often will help you instead of hurting you. This is not true. You will end up overworking your muscles. One solid workout per muscle group per week will do the trick if you rest properly and provide adequate nutrition.

338 Jared February 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm

buy a soccer ball, you-tube some drills, and find a field for a killer workout with no teammates required (and I haven’t played since little league)

339 Ryan H February 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm

In first year of university, I used habit to get myself to run. I had a lot of self-confidence issues – being a larger fellow, the thought of running (read: jog and walk) passed my fellow university students was unsettling. So I decided to run at night after all the classes had ended; that way, I minimized the number of students I would run passed.

Next, I had to get myself to actually commit to the run, so I selected 11pm. This worked in two ways: first, it was a regular time that I would dedicate to running that I had no other commitments to conflict with; and second, it was just after a television program that I watched. So, I would watch the show, stretch, and be on the pavement by 11pm each night I ran. I thought of the tv show as a pre-run reward; I got to watch the show, therefore I had to pay through the run.

In time, things became easier, especially when I had a set music playlist that I would use to take cues on whether I was running faster or slower than my usual pace. The movements and changes in songs judged against landmarks on campus allowed me to keep pace without looking at my watch. Also, the music helped to keep my focused and pumped (for me, it was heavy metal songs with mid-to-fast paced tempo and driving guitars).

340 George Bailey February 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I have a stationary bicycle that I like to ride while every other inning of any baseball game I’m watching. It adds up fast, and it makes feel less worthless after watching a 2 hour game.

341 Charles Hammond February 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I agree with Andrew, I like to mix it up when I run. Running is boring, so stop randomly and pick up something heavy to do some squats with. Find a random rock or stump to do dips on. Oorah Andrew!

342 Leland February 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I’m a runner and generally use super cushioned shoes, despite the fact that they’re a bit heavy and, yes, aren’t very “natural.” I’ve been dying to try out those Vibram shoes (and will when I’ve got a spare 80 bones lying around), BUT I have strong reservations. I live in a city, and run on concrete 98% of the time. We were built to run, but on turf, not endless stone.

Anyway, my ongoing routine change has been biking. I never enjoyed it much, but biking the 20 miles round trip to/from my office is awesome. It’s like free extra exercise using time I just spend on public transport anyway.

343 Nolan February 25, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I am actually trying to snap my “lack of exercise” routine. 15 hour workdays and a 4 month old make for little time to exercise. For me I have found in the past that writing down a plan is key. I have gone to the gym without a plan and always end up doing a few random exercise at 50% and hitting the elipitical for 20 minutes before giving up. Yet when ever I write down a plan I go to the gym and hit the exercises hard and fast and get out. I work harder and feel better……and we all know that feeling after a good workout and that is what keeps us going back. Any tip on how to “find time” to exercise? Right now my time is 4:30 am and witht eh baby it is difficult to be consistent.

344 Steve February 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I’m not sure if anyone mentioned it yet, but if you’ve never heard of shovelglove you should google it immediately. I’ll do a ten minute cardio warm-up to get my heart rate up and then do 15 minutes of shovelgloving (a sledgehammer workout mimicking shoveling or axe chop movements among others) followed by about 5 minutes of “hammer time”. I have two 3lb engineer hammers which I use to do an improvised Indian club stretch/routine after the sledgehammer work. 3lbs doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me your forearms will be screaming after five minutes. This is my morning workout, and I’ve been doing Insanity after work.

345 jeeves February 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Get the feeling of running barefoot…
…on the running mat of a gym ?

Anyways, nice post as allways !

346 Stanley February 25, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Every few weeks, slap some random guy on the back and say, “Great work, Sammy.” Then start squealing and giggling, and run away quickly.

347 Joshua February 26, 2011 at 2:37 am

To try and shake it up I like to sub in a sport. Play basketball one day or soccer. It let’s you see your progress and apply your fitness.

348 Craig February 26, 2011 at 7:18 am

The benefit of this “break” is that it will mix up your routine and give you time to draft your next 4-6 week workout. When I finish a routine I take the following week and do this 3 times in 7 days:

-Push ups until it burns immediately followed by:
-Chin ups until it burns immediately followed by:
-Sit-ups until it burns immediately followed by:
-Squat jumps (squat and jump as high as possible) until fatigued:
-Rest 1-2 minutes and repeat

Keep track of your reps and cycle through the workout as many times as necessary to reach about 100-150 (or whatever your goal is) reps for each exercise.

The best part of this is that it works for everyone, from someone who has never had a routine, to someone that has years of experience in fitness.

Thank You

349 kevin February 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm

great thing i try to do at least once a week during or in between workouts is to completely stop for a day, then come out harder than before it gives you a great boost and makes you feel incredible after the workout . Also running outside on a trail through the woods. Trail running is a great self reflection tool and a great way to relieve stress as well

350 Kevin February 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Have an active hobby that you can do with friends once a week that is also a great workout. I go skateboarding Friday evenings and jump down stairs.

351 AKW February 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Kevin is right; trail running is a great way to snap out of your routine. Besides the reflection he mentioned, I enjoy varying my steps and jumping over logs, small trees, and other obstacles.

352 Ross February 26, 2011 at 5:55 pm

My bike is my main form of getting around, and conveniently doubles as my main form of exercise. I would suggest anyone to use the bike to do things you would normally use a car or bus to do, if possible in your area. Especially if your line of work requires you to spend hours on end in front of a computer, like mine does. It’s dramatically improved my health and lung capacity, keeps me fit, and I don’t even think of it as exercise anymore.

I’ve heard good things about the iron gym bar and I’m thinking of giving that a go here pretty soon.

353 ryan February 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

For me there’s nothing better than the jumprope to quickly change things up and get you back into game shape.

354 Tommy February 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I like to register for a 5k race in a local town that I’m not real familiar with. It motivates me to train for the race, since I’ve already forked out the cash to register and provides a nice change of scenery.

355 Craig Clarkson February 27, 2011 at 12:42 am

When having that morning of all mornings I like to grab my jump rope and see how far I can go before I stumble. It certainly gets me going after 25-50 jumps.

356 Chris February 27, 2011 at 1:29 am

Pushups every morning when I wake up and then during commercial breaks if I’m watching TV.

Chris

357 Aaron February 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Follow-up on Ross (2/26). Commuting to work by foot is also great. My gym is nearby so after my run, I shower and head over to the office. Easy on the budget too.

358 Jeff Miller February 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I consider myself an aspiring gym junkie, learning what I can from wherever I can. Something that I have recently gotten into is doing barbell complexes for a full body workout. These consist of doing six different exercises (six reps each) with a bar with weight on it, never letting the bar drop in between exercises. Rest while a partner does the complex, then do another set, up to three sets. A properly constructed complex will workout the whole body and leave you gasping!

A word of caution though about the Vibrams. For the casual/occasional runner, these may be nice, but if you are actually training and putting on a lot of miles, these can be very dangerous! Stress fractures are very common injuries if your feet aren’t strong enough. A good pair of running shoes cushions your feet properly, and injuries arise more from overtraining, ill-fitted shoes, or poor running form. If you are training, go to a running store and get fitted for your shoes, and leave the Vibrams for walking around, just to strengthen your feet!

359 Ian D February 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Best advice I ever got to break up my workout rut was to switch entirely to a body-weight circuit routine. I hated gym work, and now I can do everything in my own home. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been.

360 Cesar February 28, 2011 at 10:40 am

Take bi-weekly pictures. Nothing motivates like seeing tangible results and progress.

361 Shoeb Bhojani February 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

Daily half an hour run, followed by three sets of pull-ups to failure and three sets of dips to failure on the parallel bar. Enough to keep me fit in any condition.

362 Aaron February 28, 2011 at 11:21 am

Rock climbing is great cross training. Indoor facilities may have bouldering areas too – no harness required so its less expensive (and no belay training needed).

363 Dan February 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Write down EVERYTHING, incudling what you eat, what exercise you do, how much time to spend sitting, standing, walking around, etc.

364 Grayson February 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I prefer to go rock climbing, for about an hour. Not only is it fun, but it is a great workout for your forearms and grip.

365 Toby February 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Try a new class at your gym… something that gets you out of your comfort zone! Try boxing, yoga, or even an aerobics class. Don’t just lift weights. Being flexible in mind and body is manly.

366 GEOFF March 1, 2011 at 4:48 am

Each time you go the gym try a new exercise you havn’t done before. This keeps things interesting for both your mind and your muscles.
Further building on this idea, you don’t need to remember exactly what you did last gym session, only which body parts you trained. Ensuring adequate rest is essential for good gains.

Geoff NZ

367 Matthew Waugh March 1, 2011 at 8:40 am

I like to take advantage of the. One week free trial offers at a new gym or training facility. Even if I don’t sign up I at least get a change of scenery for a week free.

368 David March 1, 2011 at 8:44 am

I like to do tricep dips in my office by going around to the other side of my desk, putting two chairs together and my heels on the end of my desk. You can get a great mini work out in while at work and it gets the mental endorphine going to get you through the rest of the day.

369 Chris March 1, 2011 at 11:49 am

I’ve always found Crossfit workouts to be the absolute ultimate in manliness and originality. Not only will the workouts regularly push you above and beyond your previous limits, but there’s no way you could ever get bored with the variety provided by being a Crossfit disciple. While the workouts aren’t for the out of shape or faint of heart, once you build up to them, they’re a daily test of endurance, toughness and strength that every man should strive to pass. http://www.crossfit.com

370 Alex March 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I like to chase my white boxer around the yard barefoot to strengthen my feet and just burn off some calories

371 Josiah March 1, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Love wearing fivefingers while I run or train in Kung Fu, and the kettlebells are awesome too. But when I want to shake things up I use Tabatas, or short intense intervals, to really burn off the fat and calories.

372 Tor Nilsen March 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm

An ex-army duffel bag filled with sand.

373 Jay March 1, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I find that sometimes the smallest changes make the largest difference. For example if you consistently do pull-ups add in some ab work at the same time. One pull-up and hold while doing a leg raise. Push-ups? Try them elevated between to chairs allowing yourself to stretch all the way down. Sit-ups? Add in a medicine ball and when you reach the top of the situp position bounce the ball off the wall. Catching the ball while returning to the down position. Sometimes its great to make massive changes. However, most of the time its the details that truly make the difference.

374 Drew March 1, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Adding a stability challenge to your workout is a great way to mix up the old routine. Try standing on one foot or using a stability ball in place of a bench for common dumbbell or bar lifts. Doing the lifts in this manner forces you to balance which engages many core muscles that are not normally used when lifting from a stable position. Use a lighter wight than normal and some caution when trying this out.

375 Craig Clarkson March 1, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Running up a mountain side or down a trail is best for me.

376 Enrique Sandoval March 1, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I really like plyo-boxes. I have always liked jumping around and leaping has always felt like a brief episode of flying. You don’t actually need a box as you can go tot he park and use a bench or a concrete step but its really fun and an excellent power developer.

377 Jonathan March 2, 2011 at 12:07 am

What I like to do, when lifting weights and you hit a plateau, lift lower weight and do as many repetitions as you can. This builds endurance that heavy lifting doesn’t do. Doing that for about a week and then going back to your normal weight will surely break your plateau. The same applies for running except I just start basically back over to a fast jog almost and work myself to wear I was before. All of this is basically giving your body and muscles an active break from the daily grind. Hope this helps.

378 Sam March 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I recently just started using the T-bar (google 4 hour body and t-bar). I have been using it for kettlebell swings, and honestly its a quick workout in the morning that can be followed with abs exercise to start burning calories early.

379 Aaron March 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I enjoyed the AoM article, “Do more than one stinking pullup”. Pull-ups are fun and its nice to have some new ideas to help you break thru mental barriers.

380 ED March 2, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Duplicates many other comments, but good additions to the list are jump rope (a rope is fine, fancy handles aren’t essential, and you can use the rope to assist with stretching), small duffle bag filled with sand (can be adapted for many kettlebell, dumbell, and medicine ball exercises), and a sledge hammer for grip training. Also a training log or calendar for tracking progress.

Vibrams have their place, but aren’t really a core item.

381 Dan March 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Sounds silly, but dancing. Like, really just feeling some heavy beats and moving along to it. Doesn’t matter if it looks pretty, but it just gets you in that zone

382 Alex March 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I throw a non-standard activity in once a week or so. When I was swimming a lot, I’d go biking once or twice a week. Now when I’m biking to work and back every day, once or twice a week I’ll go for a run or a swim. Using the entirely different muscle groups breaks up the rut.

383 Perry March 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Mountain biking is a great way to change things up. I also like to throw in some basketball to spice things up but my favorite is a climbing rope. Not many gyms have these so you’ll need to have access to a sturdy tree limb. If I had to choose one exercise to do it would be the rope climb hands down.

384 Bobby March 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Throwing in a few sets of sprints after lifting has really upped my conditioning level.

385 William Bligh March 3, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I prefer a solid run through a wooded or jungle canvased region carrying a flask, hand knife and a bolero, that is inhabited by various animals that carry a top level of food chain. The ensuing struggle with wildlife varies my work outs and muscle sets used ensuring an even tone and a good mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

Dancing? Climbing a rope? You silly nits!

386 Aaron March 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I was going to follow-up on William Bligh’s comment, but I am speechless. How can anyone top that… except maybe fighting Chuck Norris. Even a staring contest…

387 drew March 4, 2011 at 1:03 am

Learn to walk on your hands. It is possible, but takes patience and baby steps. A year ago, I could not do it. But in the process of learning, you develop the physique and accomplishment of reaching that final goal

388 Glenn March 4, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Pursue activities that are a workout in themsleves, take up surfing, row a kayak, mountain biking, etc all are great exercise and you’ll be having fun so you won’t notice the workout.

389 Kent March 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Add a weight vest or rucksack to bodyweight excercise and run. I do a 5k run with pullups, pushups, and dips mixed in. Once you can do 3sets 20 reps of each excercise and complete the run in 30 minutes-add 4 pounds to vest or rucksack. Keep adding weight as your reps and speed increase. After a few weeks do the workout without the rucksack.

390 Rob March 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Running in Vibrams will not put you at any greater risk for stress fractures. Stress fractures are caused by running too far, too fast and/or with incorrect form. Running in Vibrams (or, better yet, completely bare) will build muscle and balance in your feet and force you to run correctly…work your way into it and once you do, leave those clunky, injury-causing Nikes, Adidas, New balanaces…et al behind for good.

Don’t believe the fear mongers.

391 Trevvor March 8, 2011 at 11:38 pm

I’m pleased to see that I’ve already implemented two out of five recommendations–I got an Iron Gym pull up bar for this last Christmas and have already seen significant improvement in my upper body strength, and the year before, I received Five Fingers for Christmas, which I wear as often as I can.
My advice is to check out a rowing machine or ergometer. While some may scoff at yet another piece of cardio exercise equipment, a rowing machine can give you a full-body workout and make your lungs burn in a surprisingly short amount of time. Get some pointers on using one and hope on for a quick five minute interval, and you’ll wonder why you hadn’t discovered the thing before.

392 Justin March 9, 2011 at 3:20 am

One of the easiest ways I break out of my workout routine when it gets stagnant is to move my workout outside. If i had planned on a workout in the gym, I simply just pick up the weights, or whatever I need and go outdoors. Two days ago, I felt sluggish and needed a boost. I picked up a barbell with bumper plates, two kettlebells, and a jump rope. I did a killer 30 minute workout and gave me a ton of energy, and helped get me through the rest of the day.

393 Joe March 10, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I have a number of things I try to do daily/weekly/etc. as my fitness routine, but making things routine is just not that appealing for me. What totally changed my take on workouts was, actually, breaking my leg and being homebound for an entire winter. Eventually, the cabin fever got to me, and that’s when I started getting workout equipment around the house. Now, whenever I feel myself getting restless, bored, or unfocused, I grab my freeweights/pullup bar/etc. and do a 15-30 minute workout – something different every time. I’ll often take that time to research a new exercise online, so it gets me thinking as well as sweating. The stimulus feels great, and because it’s unstructured, it doesn’t feel like a chore – more like recess back in elementary school.

394 Mike March 13, 2011 at 6:49 am

Keep your goals simple. Don’t ever make things black/white (i.e. don’t say “I am never eating [x]“), instead give yourself an allowance of bad things to do, and work on keeping that low.

395 Dan Longoria March 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I use the BodyBlade for my daily workout routine. It not only works as intended but due to it’s diverse applications. I keep coming up with new routines. I’ve gone from the basic 10 minute routine to 30 and I enjoy using this device,

396 Victor March 22, 2011 at 10:38 am

The best way to break out of the routines or to do a workout without knowing, well you feel it, is to help someone move. That is hands down the best all-body workout.

I also like to go to the beach and workout there. Toss debris from the beach that has been washed away is awesome and makes you feel like a cave dweller.

397 Scott May 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Crossfit. It’s never the same.

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