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.


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.


{ 397 comments… read them below or add one }

201 Mark February 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Hike!! I live in Alaska and love to get out in the mountains and hike. For good exercise I don’t hike flat trails, I go straight up a nearby peak. I change up the peaks a lot and there are always different routes to take. Hiking up an average of 3500′ and then back down is always a great workout. It sustains a high heart rate so you get the cardio benefit but based on the burn I always feel in my legs after, I know I got a good strength work out as well. The uneven surface confuse your muscles and make it much more difficult than a stairmaster.

Plus you are out in fresh air enjoying nature as it was meant to be.

202 Brian McGraw February 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Register for a race, along with other friends. It’s a commitment of money, which usually goes to a good cause, and a commitment of yourself to do something with your buddies.

And if you’ve got friends like I do, they’ll rag you about it viciously if you try to back out.

203 Paul February 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Instead of weights and the normal treadmill routine, I’ve been doing a mix of Insanity and P90X. I find it a lot less mind numbing.

204 Linoge February 22, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Started using martial arts as a way of breaking up the monotony… and getting back into doing anything :).

205 Brandon February 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

I break up the cardio grind with full-court basketball. The movements are much more varied than treadmill / elliptical / stationary bike and it involves true interval training with sprints and moments of walking.

I also build up a log of exercises for each muscle group. . . maybe 15-20 exercised to isolate each area. Each week, I select a different set of 5-7 exercises out of the master list so that I’m always introducing new movements, adding muscle confusion, and avoiding falling into an ineffective routine. It also keeps you mentally sharp to keep things changing, or you’ll be tempted to go through the motions and mentally “checkout” during your gym time.

206 Chad Smith February 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

I have been using kettlebells for a couple years now. The amount of exercises available is unbelievable. They help with everything from strength to flexability.
The other thing I use non stop is my foam roller. I call it a quality of life piece of equipment. Try one, you’ll love it!

207 Jason Whitten February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm

One great tool i just purchased is a GymBoss interval timer. It is an easy way to start tabata or high intensity interval training. Best part is it cost only $20. Can’t beat that.

208 Michael February 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm

When I get really bored I like to throw on some safety glasses and either hit an old pallet with a hammer or hatchet, really feel it in the arms. We also have some decent space we are out in the country, digging a hole and then filling it up again is quite the energy drain in summer, we do have have hard packed rocky/clay soil though.

209 Charles February 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm

About once a month, trying out a different sport, ideally one I’ve never tried before, just to add diversity while still getting the blood pumping.

210 Ben R February 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I joined a triathlon training group when I was tired of just doing spin classes and occasional laps in the pool. Having a group helps me stay motivated and our two hour training sessions always vary in what we end up doing.

211 Jak February 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I’m a runner and to keep from falling into the same courses I love running without a distance or time, just exploring my surroundings. It’s also a fantastic way to tour cities when traveling. Highly recommend it.

I also have been thinking about a heart rate monitor lately to help me with training for the Boston marathon so I also would love to win.

212 London February 22, 2011 at 6:42 pm

When I feel like I’m hitting a plateau on my workout routine I do a new sport for a while. Switching from just biking or running to swimming, or even playing some ultimate frisbee or soccer for a while with friends really hits muscles that I don’t get in the same way by working out.

213 John Wheeler February 22, 2011 at 6:51 pm

With less than a month away from my 50th Birthday, I have gone from the couch to being able to run 5 miles, do 50 push ups and 10 pull ups by doing different and basic exercises in my basement with walking & running daily- very little money required.

214 Scott February 22, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Crossfit (www.crossfit.com). The only one of those five I don’t use is the heart monitor, but that could change if I win this one.

215 Maru February 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Good advice, especially on the pull-up bar and the kettlebells. However, speaking strictly for myself, I will never wear Vibram five-fingers. They look absolutely ridiculous to me, and I would feel embarrassed wearing them and spending money on them. Instead, I’ll go old school and go barefoot. My feet will get used to it in a month or two.

If it worked for Shaka Zulu and his army, then sure as eggs are eggs it can work for me. On the other hand, if you don’t feel embarrassed wearing them and they wouldn’t be an unnecessary expense, then by all means, buy them.

216 harry February 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I like to add variety to my workout. I joined my school’s rugby team which is an awesome workout in itself. And I switch things up in the gym by doing olympic lifts, you get lots of weird looks heaving a heavy weight over your head in under a second!

217 Seth bourassa February 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Hunt!! You not only hike all day but you also add resistance exercises when you stalk hunt. Make sure you’re moving all the time

218 Kevin February 22, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Don’t underestimate the impact of a daily mobility routine and maybe even throw in a few yoga poses. Moving through a full range of motion working from top to bottom or bottom to top and progressing to full body movements does wonders for recovering from workouts and just feeling better overall on a day to day basis. I find that doing such a simple routine each morning helps me ease into the day and because it’s become something of a ritual, it helps set me up for the rest of the day. As Dan John says, “If it’s important, do it everyday.”

219 Matt Guenette February 22, 2011 at 7:37 pm

After getting bored with an ordinary running routine, I realized that to prepare for backpacking and obstacle courses, I needed to be able to carry weight over distance. So I added weight to my run. I’ve been taking a laundry detergent bottle filled with water and spare change (adding up to 15 lbs) It turns running into a full body workout, while keeping things interesting.

220 Casey February 22, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Whenever I get bored with my with my workout (running and free weights) I go out to the side of my house and run sets of hill sprints and in between sets I play a lip slur exercise and do visual fundamentals on my tuba (a beast of contrabass bugle, like what they use in DCI! ). Though it may give your legs a rest it sets your heart a racing and lungs a burning making the next set all the harder. I usually go until I finish my lip slur routine (about 20 sets and slur exercises).

221 Shaun H February 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Primal Blueprint Fitness. It’s always different and you are encouraged to use what is available, especially your own weight.

222 Andrew February 22, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Deck of cards:
Blacks are push-ups, Hearts are sit-ups with legs held straight off of the floor, Diamonds are oblique crunches. Do the number on the card with facecards being their numeric value and aces as fifteen. In the end you’ll do over 225 of each. Vary with weighted push-ups or different sit-ups if you want.

223 Colton February 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Feeling that brain drain? Step away from the computer, close your office door, and do some push ups!

224 Ben February 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Vibram 5 fingers…

I know one person who loves them. However, shortly after they started with them, they got a stress fracture. If you just switch them out with your normal shoes and run regularly, you *WILL* get a stress fracture. And basically seriously mess yourself up. If you must try them, only wear them for short amounts of time.(Like a warm up or cool down, not the actual workout)
I agree that man was Born to Run.(title of book that started the barefoot craze) However, the tribal people described in that book don’t go barefoot running, they wear some minor protection. Also, they have been running/walking barefoot since birth.

While plateaus do occur if you don’t mix up your workout, change in equipment is not the way to go. If you run, you should be doing different types of runs. Long runs, tempo runs, anerobic workouts, etc. etc. If you mix them up properly, you will not plateau except at your VO2 max, or the height of your determination, whichever comes first. The mixing them up properly bit… I rely on my coach. I’m sure there is information online somewhere from which you can construct a good schedule.

225 Nate @ Practical Manliness February 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm

During the winter, bicycling to work in ice and snow provides plenty of snap (sometimes a little too much, but that’s why you where a helmet).

226 Aarash Fakhori February 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm

To break out of a rut or routine I swim. It’s a full body workout that makes you sore all over and feel good when you’re done and the next day. Makes you feel like a million bucks when you start your routine again.

227 Kevin S. February 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Standard deck of playing cards. Assign a workout to each suit and shuffle well. Face cards are ten, aces twenty. Go one by one, doing whatever the cards tell you to, until either you reach the end of the deck or some predetermined time limit.

Ah, the Deck of Pain!

228 Nick A February 22, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Whenever I’m in a workout funk, the first thing I’ll do is revamp my motivation. Movies provide the perfect tool to reinvigorate my want and need to exercise like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. The Rocky IV workout montage never ceases to stir up my emotions and get me feeling ashamed for taking it easy. And hey, while your watching Sly tear it up, why not work in a few push-ups or sit-ups, or even work on your flexibility? Just because we’re men doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to touch our toes.

229 Matthew Montgomery February 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I have found that the best workout I have ever gotten was climbing up and down the large rocks in the rivers in El Yunque, a national rainforest in Puerto Rico. Of course, it’s a bit dangerous to do and I always had a friend or two with me, but my muscles have never felt so tired! I recommend any kind of rock climbing, hiking, and just plain exploring nature. Best exercise for body, mind, and soul.

230 Shgeib February 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I’ve really seen great results using a combination of The Volume Training Concept in coordination with Krav Maga workouts/training sessions. Try it for one month and I know you will be pleased with the results! -S

231 John February 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Find a reasonable goal, a little carrot to encourage yourself. Recently I began running each city park, my goal is to run each of the 30 city park in the metro area in under 30 minutes each. 30 parks in 30 minutes.

232 Kyle Niemeyer February 22, 2011 at 10:02 pm

The pull-up bar is great- put it somewhere you walk by a lot and you’ll do pullups as you walk by.

233 Piper Jon February 22, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Believe it or not, resistance bands and eating less meat. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loooove a good steak, but if I only eat it occasionally, I not only feel better more consistently, but when I do have that big hunk of cow, it’s a celebration right there in the plate. And good old resistance bands. Portable, easy to use, and and challenging.

234 Jason February 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I started with kettlebells a year ago and now work with double kettlebells. In fact I just got a pair of 28kg ones in the mail today. When the snow melts I will resume pounding my tractor tire with a sledgehammer a few times a week as well.

235 Razzor February 22, 2011 at 10:12 pm

If you live where there is snow try x-country skiing. Its great exercise. It gets your legs and upper body and cardio all at the same time.

236 TJ February 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I’m currently training for an Ironman so my workouts tend to be long, arduous, and BORING. Despite the need to spend a lot of time on the basics, swimming, biking, and running, I like to get outside the box with rock climbing (huge cardio benefit) and soccer, which is also heavy on cardiovascular.

Merely running on a treadmill, or even outside, can be arbitrary and predictable. You need something that tests your limits objectively. Competing against others is a sound method of judging progress. Sports engage the mind and provide extra mental motivation to work harder.

The heart rate monitor would be a great benefit to me in my training and race.

237 CraneDave February 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I have started swinging a 10 pound sledgehammer on a tractor tire to begin my cardio, for two to three minute intervals with one minute of rest in between. Brutal on the hands, wrists, forearms, and really gets my wind up prior to doing calistenics, and jogging. Tougher than wind sprints!!!

238 Matt February 22, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Go with a friend. This sort of commitment makes it more worthwhile and lasting.

239 Colin February 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm

I like to do push ups with my toes on an exercise ball and hands on flat-ended dumbbells. It lets you do deeper pushups and it works on your core. The combination helps you get more reps of regular push ups, and it is a tough, manly exercise!

240 Matt February 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm

A few weeks ago some friends and I went to go play soccer for a few hours. Most of us don’t have much skill for the game, but I think just about everyone remembered at least the basics from the days in grade school when everybody played.

With the on-and-off sprinting around the field (at least for me, I wanted to win!) I got in a pretty good workout, and I had fun too because there was some competitiveness.

241 Matt adams February 22, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Getting up early and finding a good workout buddy will do wonders for breaking out of your slump. Keep each other accountable.

242 Phil February 22, 2011 at 11:39 pm

I also find Crossfit to be a very helpful workout style. It changes every day and offers benchmarks for you to judge your progress with. This, along with keeping a log of results helps to motivate you to keep with it and commit to a healthy lifestyle. Also, there is an added benefit of a tight-knit community to help keep each other accountable.

243 David February 22, 2011 at 11:40 pm

As much as possible, skip the gym, skip weightlifting, skip the treadmill – unless it’s something that you love. Find a sport that you enjoy to play – then do it! If you work out doing something you love, you’ll never have to work again!

244 Jonathan February 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Running around a local lake breaks up the monotony of running in my neighborhood and on cold mornings really changes things because of the cold breeze coming off of the water.

245 Evan Mansoor February 22, 2011 at 11:43 pm

On the weekends i love to go to my cousins house. he’s learning to box, and subsequently teaching me, so we work the heavy bag for a bit then we love to spare against each other(as long as he pulls his punches). great way to get exercise plus it’s tons of fun, especially on the rare occasional that i land a punch.

246 Carlo d. February 22, 2011 at 11:44 pm

5 mins on the jump rope, 2 rounds of shadow boxing, 3 rounds on the bag, 50 pushups, 100 situps!

247 Steve February 22, 2011 at 11:45 pm

I wake up and do old style pushups every morning. Simple bodyweight. Works abs, core, shoulders and arms.

No equipment, can do anywhere. I can feel it in my whole body for the rest of the day.

248 Emad February 22, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Mix up your workouts. Go rock climbing. Excellent way to train your back and grip strength by working muscles you never thought you had.

249 Charles Parrish February 22, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Longboarding or biking in the cool, morning air gives me an invigorating dose of oxygen and a clear mind.

250 Charlie February 23, 2011 at 12:06 am

Haven’t been working out so I am jump starting my work outs with P90X and am down 15 pounds after 3 weeks.

251 Alex February 23, 2011 at 12:12 am

While watching, I do 10 push-ups inbetween each half inning of a baseball game. It adds up really quick and keeps your heart rate up for a really long period of time.

252 Jacob Choi February 23, 2011 at 12:31 am

Situps while doing my homework. Instead of getting distracted on my computer, I just jump on the ground and crank out some crunches, bicycle kicks, or flutter kicks. keeps my blood flowing and my brain churning.

253 Will Cobb February 23, 2011 at 1:28 am

To snap out of a boring workout I like to go read a few medal of honor citations, they always get me excited to go out and be better.

254 Joe February 23, 2011 at 1:33 am

Hung a heavy bag in the garage. Now when I am feeling bored I can go put in 15-20 mins any time. Punching things always breaks up the routine.

255 Marc February 23, 2011 at 2:01 am

As a guy, I enjoy the typical weight lifting. But once a week, I do yoga. It’s definitely a total opposite to go from heavy lifting to balance and flexibility.

256 Chris February 23, 2011 at 2:35 am

The best item to get back into working out are resistance bands, they provide a cross between body weight exercises and free weights. They are also extremely versatile which allows you to get creative with your workout and keep it interesting.

257 Maru February 23, 2011 at 2:42 am

Now for something that actually helps snap me out of my routines… at the risk of repeating someone (there have been a lot of exercises using decks, heheh), one thing is the Karl Gotch bible. Take a pack of cards with the jokers, shuffle, and deal. Reds are Hindu squats, blacks are Hindu push-ups, pip cards call for the number on the card, faces and aces are twelve to fifteen, depending on how hard you are, and jokers are twenty. I have yet to finish a pack. I’m on the verge of collapse before I’m a quarter way through the deck.

While these were originally a change of pace for me, I intend to make them a regular feature of my training. East Indian wrestlers have been using these (and back bridges) for centuries, and getting phenomenal results with them. One such wrestler, the Great Gama, was undefeated by anyone, Indian, European, or otherwise, throughout a career that spanned nearly sixty years, and it was only poverty and old age that did what no living man could do: lay him low. Karl Gotch learned these methods, and was renowned as one of the finest wrestlers of his day; he passed this knowledge on to Mike Furey, who was good enough to write it up in a book called “Combat Conditioning.”

258 David February 23, 2011 at 3:01 am

Like most guys I know, I like to lift weights, run and hit the punchbag.

I have my spare room set up as a mini gym which i find meets my needs quite well.

However, when I feel the need to change things up a little, my options are quite limited since I live in the centre of a large city. My favourite workout for breaking up my routine sees me running a half mile to the local public park where there is a large set of stairs that remind me of the steps from the ‘Rocky’ movies! Sprinting up the stairs and jogging back down for 15-20 mins is a great interval workout, leaving my lungs burning and heart pounding but it really does kick things up a gear!

259 Splashman February 23, 2011 at 3:42 am

Here’s a thought. Instead of using up hours and hours of precious life with relatively unproductive activity (i.e., “exercise”), how about:
Ride bicycles with your kids
Start and maintain a garden with your wife/kids
Build something (shed, house addition, tree house, zip line, etc.) with a friend or kids
Use a walk-behind mower instead of a rider
Use a rake instead of a leaf blower
Take a walk with someone and further a relationship instead of exercising alone

A man can have a very healthy lifestyle without resorting to “exercise”. All it takes is getting off your duff (and away from screens and gadgets) and doing something productive.

260 Morghan February 23, 2011 at 3:43 am

I don’t work out.

I walk everywhere, carry heavy bags and jugs of water home from the store about 1 3/4 miles away, climb all over the playground chasing the kid, and generally try to do things that are necessary without the assistance of machines.

I am considering getting a pull-up bar though as that would cover areas of my body that I don’t use often.

261 Matthew Hayes February 23, 2011 at 3:43 am

I go on a cycle: Every 2-3 weeks I throw in a completely different exercise program for that week, which really kicks my butt and helps my regular schedule keep working.

262 Jonathan February 23, 2011 at 5:16 am

I do something similar to Alex’s post up top. When watching TV, knock out 10 good-form push-ups for every commercial. Not every commercial break, mind you, every commercial. In the space of a typical hour-long program, you’ll have knocked-out at least 80 push-ups.

Of course if you’re one of those people that only watches PBS, you’ll have to find something else.

263 Kory February 23, 2011 at 5:47 am

I’ve had the Iron Gym for years and like it. Although nowhere in the write up did you mention the other fantastic uses for it, deep push ups and holding the feet for crunches and sit ups.

One thing I do for cardio is to increase the exertion level one minute at a time in four minute cycles. 3 level 6-9 cycles and one 6-10 after warming up and then a cool down. It is like wind sprints in that it really gets the heart going. It can be done on a bike, treadmill, elliptical and even that archaic thing called running outside if that is ones thing.

264 David February 23, 2011 at 7:04 am

I have a 12 lb. medicine ball in my office. Get up, pick it up, walk around, swing in around, do a few lunges, repeat several times a day and get a “no time” workout!

265 Brian O'Keefe February 23, 2011 at 7:28 am

I snapped myself out of my normal running routine by going outside my comfort zone and registering for a triathlon. I did this to force myself to learn to swim! I knew I could do the run and bike legs, but was afraid that I’d fail right off the bat during the swim. When I (finally) got out of the bay after swimming those 600 yards, I had a whole new level of confidence!

266 M February 23, 2011 at 7:32 am

I use the seasons as inspiration, Shoveling in the winter, digging in the spring, biking in the summer, raking in the fall.

267 Sean February 23, 2011 at 8:01 am

Push up, that’s the key, easy to do when sitting around watching tv. Just do push up during the commercial breaks.

268 Doug February 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

I heard where Ray Lewis, linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens would do push ups and sit ups, by a deck of cards. He would flip the card over, and what ever the number was, he would do that many pushups, then the next card was sit ups.

He said he would make it through. I see how much I am NOT Ray Lewis and I need to work out more.

269 Mike February 23, 2011 at 8:14 am

Instead of running mindless miles on a treadmill this winter, I decided to coach street hockey. While playing along with the kids I ran intervals outside, boosted my agility, but most importantly I had fun. Its purely childhood fitness.

270 Andrew February 23, 2011 at 8:43 am

Who’s the manliest man of all? The Marine of course. And what do you think of when you think of Marine’s? Boot Camp. And what do you think of when you think of Boot Camp? The obstacle course…of course! I like to make an obstacle course in my head of the stuff around where I would normally just run. Trees, swing sets, monkey bars, fences, creeks, etc. Hump it around the obstacle course for a total body workout you won’t even have to think about. Bonus points for doing it in the rain, racing a buddy, and being your own drill Sargent in your head.

271 Leon Ally February 23, 2011 at 8:53 am

I’ve listed 10-12 exercises for each body part, and would pick any 3 for that day’s routine. If i get bored with ojne particular exercise, I’d substitute another from the “maste” list. I’d also have a list of core exercises (weight free) that i would tap into if I wanted somethign totally different that day!

272 Dave Cameron February 23, 2011 at 9:25 am

If you want to hange things up check out Crossfit. They post a new workout daily and they focus on functional strength and endurance. Awesome forum too.

273 Anthony Emmel February 23, 2011 at 9:41 am


Ok, not the neatest thing in the world, but I like to switch up my pushups….military, wide angle, diamond, knuckle, elevated hand, elevated feet.

274 Connor T February 23, 2011 at 9:47 am

I switch from free weights/machines to body weight exercises from week to week. I try and get creative with my body weight exercises and it always surprises me how difficult they end up.

275 David February 23, 2011 at 9:48 am

Get a workout buddy and design each other’s workouts. Tell your buddy your goals, but let them pick the exercises, and don’t reveal what you’re doing till the day of the workout. Once you find someone you trust, who pushes you just hard enough, it is invaluable. Your muscles never know what they’ll be doing until you’re doing it, but you still get the benefit of a planned workout routine. Return the favor by doing the same for your friend. Try to outdo each other by providing more effective workouts. You’ll both end up ripped.

276 Scott February 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

I have the Body Fate app for the iPhone. Never the same work.

277 Stephen Crane February 23, 2011 at 10:05 am

To snap me out of my routine, I decided to try something that goes against common sense. I’ve been lifting doing only one set of each exercise until I fail. I need to do a minimum of seven complete reps with a 5/5 cadence.

Yesterday was my A day: Suspinated pull downs @ 60lbs: 7/8 reps. (I completed seven out of an attempted 8). Those were followed by a shoulder press: 76lbs 12/13 reps.

That’s it. No stretching or anything.

Friday will be my B day: Declined bench press followed by leg presses and ending it all with a 3 minute ride on a stationary bicycle.

278 Marshall February 23, 2011 at 10:16 am

I started riding a recumbant bike for 45-60 seconds in-between each set when I lift weights. In the past I’ve had a hard time maintaining intensity when I lift weights, but riding the bike has made a huge difference–I’m dripping sweat by the end of a 25-minute workout.

279 Anthony February 23, 2011 at 10:22 am

I make sure every exercise is different and only come back to that workout again after one week. This idea is used in the P90x system (they call it “muscle confusion”) but it can be done by yourself as well. I personally use P90X but then mix in running, playing with my kids, and the occasional as-needed snow shoveling. I love the variety!

280 Kyle Kolich February 23, 2011 at 10:42 am

So I started doing the P90x routines with my girlfriend, and I’ve got to say they really blow you away. I’ve been doing variations of weight lifting routines since the beginning of high school (figure about 9 years now), and this is the best workout I’ve gotten since wrestling practice! For the two months leading up to starting this new workout, I literally just couldn’t force myself to go to the gym anymore. It’s been snowing like hell up here in the north east, so the cold weather and longer working hours as of late have drained me of any gym-rat motivation. With the P90x, I’m getting a much higher intensity workout, and it’s cool because me and my girlfriend keep each other motivated (of course, the post-workout glow doesn’t hurt either). It’s just really awesome to be doing something different. Will it motivate me forever? I don’t know yet, but at least it’s broken up my usual routine.

281 David February 23, 2011 at 10:45 am

varying between different kinds of pull ups helps me

282 Kevin February 23, 2011 at 10:56 am

Sign up for a recreational sports team. It doesn’t have to be competetive, just try to burn more calories than you drink in beer afterward. I’m on an indoor soccer league now. It’s only $15 for the season, but the mentality is that if I’m paying for it, I’m more likely to show up.

283 Christian February 23, 2011 at 10:56 am

I tend to snap myself out of my regular workout habit by pushing myself to my limits. As Vic Magary once said, most of us haven’t even “flirted with the red line,” so I try to see just how high that line is. My weapon of choice? Tabata intervals for 4 minutes. That makes 8 sets of 20 sec all out effort followed by 10 sec active rest (not sitting out, at least walking or jogging). Choose an exercise that hits plenty of muscles, and you’ve found a winner.

284 Timothy Long February 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

I’ve found rock climbing to be a great way to vary my workout routine. I have fairly stringent weight lifting and running routines and find myself burning out from time to time. However, since I started climbing I’ve found myself re-energized for my regular routines, not to mention stronger (as climbing is an incredibly well-rounded workout!)

Find an local indoor climbing gym and try give bouldering a try!

285 spm February 23, 2011 at 11:12 am

I will switch up my workout routine every month or so. Usually, I will do a month of weightlifting, dedicated purely to building strength. During this time I focus a specific body part (chest, arms, legs, back, shoulders) per day. I also do a small circuit ab workout each day, lasting about 20 mins. After a month, I will switch gears and dedicate more time to cardio workouts, while still do the ab circuit. I still lift weights, but only to maintain rather than increasing weight each set and then increasing more each week. This breaks the monotony of my workouts. As the seasons turn, I do various part of my workouts outdoors. For spring, summer, and fall, I trail run – doing pushups, pull-ups, and finding heavy rocks or tree limbs to throw around. I also cycle about 50 miles a week. In winter, I try and get out in the heavy snow, doing sprints in the deepest parts of the snow. Many experts state that muscle confusion is the best way to continue to build muscle and get a good workout. Changing things ups, never doing the same thing everyday has worked pretty well for me so far. Personally, I think the best thing is to just get outside and find something to climb, jump over, or run through. Then, later, do some weights or a body weight circuit. If nothing else, try to break a sweat everyday.

286 Matt Dalrymple February 23, 2011 at 11:18 am

Leg Band work out. Using different colored leg bands with different tensions, one can use resistance to gain strength, speed, and endurance. You put the band between your ankle and knee and move from side to side in squat position with toes pointing straight forward. Doing different amount of reps depending on color. You can also use these for multiple core exercises.

287 Taylor Frechette February 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

I didn’t read all the comments so I apologize if this one is already up there but here is mine. Before I go to the gym I spend 10 minutes meditating. Just sitting in my bedroom, lights off, listening to my breathing, and thinking about the upcoming workout. I’ve found that I’ve been more focused and thus achieving better numbers in the gym.

288 Joe J. February 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Early last year I found myself getting bored with my gym (lifting) routine that hadn’t really changed in 15 years. It was working, but not too motivating. (I lift 3x per week ending with a jog plus one long distance run on the weekends). I started changing my weekly workout routine every month and found myself truely looking forward to my 5am workouts. The new workouts also were much more balanced and included core strength and all muscle groups. I used the 2010 Yearlong Workout routines from Men’s Heatlh magazine (workout also viewable on line for free). They have many other routines as well. (I dont’ work for Men’s Fitness, etc., but I am very satisfied with the workouts they’ve posted.)

289 Chaka February 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I try to follow the workouts on CrossFit.com. A lot of times I have to scale down what they’re doing, but it’s always something different and it’s a good lunch-hour workout.

290 Newton February 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I think an important part of staying in the exercise game is having a workout buddy. Get a person around your strength and speed and hit the gym. This way, you don’t have to find a spotter and it makes running a lot more enjoyable.

291 Ty White February 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I lift weights five days a week before work. I’m a high scho football and baseball coach. I switch up my routine by joining the kids in their workouts sometimes. Whether it’s a fielding drill on the diamond or teaching a kid how to hit a sled, it’s all good physical activity that (hopefully) impacts a kid positively and gives me that much more exercise for the day!

292 Matt February 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

One of the things I do to snap myself out of my normal workout routine is find a sport I haven’t played in a long time and go bang it up for a while. This works muscles I don’t normally work out (because every sport works unique muscles sets), helps with cardio, and is a fun way to work out versus…just working out. Basketball, Volleyball (especially two man), and tennis are all good breaks in the old work-out routine and require few people or equipment.

293 Tim February 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Instead of separating workouts into body parts, design a circut that covers everything (focusing on compund core movements) and blast through 3 full sets of the circut. Limit the circut to 8 exercises. You get a killer full-body workout in 20 minutes or less and you can get on with your day.

294 Luke February 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Do pull ups and dips on rings, and work until you can do a muscle-up. These never fail to put me in my place…

295 Zack February 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm

To snap out of a “same old workout” funk, I make a new music mix.

296 Dan Bates February 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I’ve been using kettle balls for a month now with good results (down 9 lbs, probably added a pounds or two of muscle too). As a busy student and professional, I like full body, quick exercises, as I get bored with repetitive strength training exercises. One thing I did last week to shake things up was make my own Bulgarian bag out of a tire tube and wood stove pellets. See the YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7HFGW6tb98

297 Rahul February 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I’ve tried out the following things to keep myself interested:
a) Once a week, usually Sunday’s I just do whatever I feel like doing. This usually involves some of the more extreme or newer exercises that I might read about on the net. I practice handstands, static holds, lift weights and walk, do gymnastics or strongman type of training…basically do whetever I feel like doing without any routine. For instance, check out some of the tutorials here (http://www.beastskills.com/tutorials/tutorials/93). it gets weird looks from others, but by now people know me and some others also join in and try their hand at it. Try muscle-ups, handstands, one-arm pushups and they will lead to awkward falls, interesting conversations and new discoveries.
b) You could always start with a martial art or swimming, both are excellent breaks from a weight training program. However, pursuing two activities (ie: gym+martial arts/swimming) at one time can be a bit of a problem given the time crunch most of us face.
c) In my opinion, I strongly feel that not all gyms are created equal. No matter how swanky a gym is or what great equipment or facilities it has, always go for a gym with a sense of community which you feel a part of. I go to a place like that, and believe me its a great help to go to a place where the members know each other, can exchange a bit of banter and a healthy interest in goals common to yours. A place where people will miss you if you don’t turn up for a couple of days, where they might reach out to help you with that last set or criticize your technique when required. I went to a couple of places (in India) before settling for the place I go to and believe me I feel the sense of involvement and of shared goals that you feel at this place makes me feel completely at home here….. I would suggest everyone should try out a couple of places to see what fits right, ‘coz that makes a huge difference. Going to a gym that seems impersonal will reduce anyone’s motivation.
d) I’d say the pull up bar (doing just 2-3 reps from time to time) is an awesome and very workable idea.
e) Once in a while try all day hikes.

298 Alex M February 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Fitness tip that helps me snap out of a routine and mix things up are free runs. I am training for an ultramarathon later this year and a lot of miles are just dry and just there to help you build endurance: monotony soon follows.

Once a week or every two weeks schedule in a free run or exploratory run.

Take off all the monitors, GPS devices, iPod and just head out the door with no particular place to go…hit the trail or go exploring. It’s a good way to disconnect from yourself and the routine and remember why you do what you do, in my case its trail running and training for ultras…I pack water, nutrition, phone (in case of emergencies) and a firm resolve to move in no particular direction and just let my body dictate pace and run free and comfortable.

My free runs have led me to: boundaries of a military base, random hole in the wall bars I never had seen, horse trails that end at homes I can only dream of visiting much less affording, and most importantly to humility and recognition that everything takes work, but if you can’t stay motivated and happy with what you’re doing no amount of work is ever enough.

299 Aaron February 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm

For me a change in location helps. I primarily work out at home, so sometimes that means moving outside, or moving inside, or just switching from the basement to the garage. A change in enviornment can be reinvigorating.

300 AKW February 23, 2011 at 3:30 pm

From time to time, watch videos to brush up on your form during particular exercises. Maybe it’s stature, going thru the full range of motion for a particular joint, or breathing without shrugging your shoulders. I think both mechanics and breathing make a huge difference in vigorously working your muscles.

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