A “routine” is a sequence of actions that are regularly followed — in other words, a fixed program. I love a good routine. In my head, I call them rituals, because it makes it seem more special. For example, every morning I have my coffee-making ritual. I’ve got my special glass where I heat the milk (via microwave), and I use this really cool milk frother immediately after. It adds an extra “wow!” to my morning drink. Right off the bat, it puts me in a great mood and is an awesome start to my day.
But workout routines are harder to see as rituals, even if fitness is an important part of your life. It’s so easy to break the routine and skip the workout. I get it. After all, it’s called “working” out for a reason. Bottom line is: There is a fair amount of mental and physical effort to be done in order to achieve our desired result. Every day we encounter challenges that tire us out and make us not want to hit the gym or do our routine. Not to mention, even if you are consistent, it’s easy to get bored doing the same classes or exercises over and over again.
So how can we make it more special? Make it more of a ritual and less of a routine? How do we keep the fun factor alive? It’s easier than you think. Here are a few tricks that work for me:
1. Make a date. Have a regular time (weekly or monthly) to work out with a buddy. Put it in your calendar and make it an event! You get a workout that is bound to be different and you get to catch up with your friend. Chances are you’ll even work out more before the actual “date” because you will want to look good in front of your friend. Some friendly competition can be a good thing (e.g. who can hold a plank the longest?).
2. Dress for success. Wear a workout outfit that complements your exercises and makes you feel good. For example, if you are working out your arms that day, don a tank top. If you are dancing in a hip hop class, get some funky, baggy pants. Mix up your wardrobe — it’ll make a difference in how you do your workout.
3. Be the girls gone wild! Throw a dance party at your place. Invite your friends over, dim the lights, play your favorite tunes and dance the night away. You could even dance together using my new Rhythmica workout video (total shameless plug!).
4. Get race-ready. Commit to doing a walk or run in support of a good cause this year. It’s a great way to do good for your body and your community. Huge bonus perks if you do this with friends and family.
5. Let the music play. Make a new playlist or check out athlete or workout playlists on iTunes to recharge your workouts. New soundtracks mean new energy.
I make it a ritual of mine every Sunday evening to look at my upcoming week and see what new or fun thing I can add to the workouts I have scheduled. Keeping things fresh and new is key — whether it’s with a new song or with a new friend or a new class/exercise. That one little change can help lift the energy within the routine.