If you’ve reached a plateau with your fitness or weight loss, or are just bored with your current workout routine, it might be time to change it up.
Personally, I’m a creature of habit. If I don’t actively look for ways to vary my gym sessions, I’ll go and do the same thing five times a week.
And then I’ll complain that I’m not making progress.
Sound like you? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
I know sometimes trying new things can be intimidating. When it comes to workouts, you can still do things that are inside the scope of your comfort zone but that also change it up enough that it will jumpstart your progress and break you out of a rut.
I’ve taken a ton of classes and tried a lot of different fitness modalities. Here are my recommendations of things to try to shake up your routine but that will still give you some elements of what you love.
If You Like Yoga, Try TRX
Yoga is a practice that’s been around for thousands of years, and it’s not just a workout. The mind/body class combines physical movements with elements of spirituality and zen that create an atmosphere that die-hard yogis can’t get enough of.
There are tons of different classes you can try. Some studios offer workouts for beginners all the way to advanced levels, and you can even do them in a heated room or with additional props to take it up a notch.
But, for some people, that’s not enough.
If you love yoga, but you’re searching for a complimentary workout or want to change it up a bit, I would try out a TRX class.
Although it doesn’t have the same mind/body connection, there are enough similarities that you’ll feel right at home.
There’s a huge focus on core strength and form, and all of the movements require you to have good alignment and focus on your breathing to get it right.
The classes are also typically on the small side. Even the largest gyms only have rigs for 20 participants max, which means you’ll get lots of individual attention from a knowledgeable instructor who has a specialty certification.
TRX classes are an amazing workout that will leave you feeling strong and sweaty when you’re finished. Look for one at your gym, or at a specialty studio in your area.
If You Like Zumba, Try Pound
I do most of my booty shaking while cleaning my house (because making chores fun is essential, right?), but I’ve taken my fair share of Zumba classes along the way too.
I love Zumba because it’s a fun, cardio-based workout that lets you work up a sweat while jamming out to great music.
If you want to change up your dance partner, so to speak, Pound is another program that you’ll probably love.
Pound is another rhythm-based class set to upbeat music, but there’s one big difference. Instead of dancing to the beat, you’ll drum to it.
Every participant gets a pair of lightly weighted drumsticks at the beginning of class, and you’ll use them throughout to create beats while squatting, lunging, doing core work, or doing a cardio sequence.
Pound classes have more of a focus on strength elements than a traditional Zumba class, but you’ll also get a hefty dose of cardio and fun in your 45-minute to hour-long sweat session.
They are most commonly held at Crunch Fitness locations, but you can also find them at other gyms and studios.
Click here to find a class near you.
If You Like Running, Try OrangeTheory
Running is an amazing cardiovascular workout. Whether you do it inside or out, it’ll get your heart pumping and your adrenaline going and leave you a sweaty, panting mess. In the best possible way, of course.
However, it’s easy to do two things as a runner:
- Hit a plateau
- Get injured
One of the only ways to become a faster runner is to (you guessed it) run faster. Unfortunately, picking up the pace can be physically very uncomfortable, and hard to motivate yourself to do unless you’re following a specific training program.
In addition, because running is a very repetitive movement, it’s easy to develop an overuse injury from the sport. Unless you balance out your time pounding pavement with complimentary movements that keep your body strong and correct muscle imbalances, you might find yourself sidelined.
Whether you want to add interval training to get faster and need an extra push, are looking to incorporate strength training, or are injured and searching for an alternative workout, OrangeTheory might be worth a try.
The hour-long workout is broken into a 30-minute interval-based cardio segment and 30-minutes in the weight room. You’ll get a bit of everything in the class, and could get both faster and stronger as a result.
Bonus if you’re a technology person. You’ll strap into a heart rate monitor and see your progress on-screen, plus get a summary of your workout after class emailed to you so that you can track your progress.
If You Like BodyPump, Try Crossfit
The Crossfit Games just wrapped up, and if you followed any of the action, you saw dozens of uber fit individuals throwing around huge weights and doing complicated gymnastic movements that made them look superhuman.
Before you compare yourself to those people and freak out, know that the Games is the equivalent of the Olympics of Crossfit. Yes, those athletes are extremely fit, but they are also the best of the best, those at the absolute highest level of competition in their sport.
Normal humans like the rest of us, who maybe enjoy taking a BodyPump class where we spend 60-minutes lifting weights that work all of our major muscle groups 2-4 times per week, may also have space for Crossfit in our workout program.
If you enjoy weight lifting classes, Crossfit gives you an opportunity to work through some more complex movements and much heavier weights than you would normally use in a group class.
You also get to do it in a heavily coached environment, watched and guided by someone who has undergone the extensive process of becoming Crossfit certified.
Unlike a BodyPump class, you won’t be lifting weights in blocks based on body part for the entire format. Instead, you’ll start with a warm-up, progress through a strength training block, and then end the class with a WOD (workout of the day) where you’ll do some combination of cardio, strength, and endurance training.
Every class is different every time, so if you find you’re bored with the latest Body Pump release, Crossfit might be a good way to change it up without abandoning your strength training program.
If You Like Pilates, Try Barre
The core-focus and concentrated movements of pilates classes are extremely effective at building strength. Whether you take a mat-based or reformer-based class, you’ll gain a lot of stability, balance, and flexibility from the workout.
If you want to change it up and try another class that features a small group, small but challenging movements, and a more fast-paced environment, Barre might be the perfect fit.
There are a few different popular studios to choose from, and they each have nuances to the way they teach classes.
In general, you’ll use limited equipment like balls, booty bands, small hand weights, and a ballet barre to work through a session that targets your entire body with a focus on your legs, thighs, core, and booty.
Most studios like Pure Barre and Barre3 offer a free first workout, so you have nothing to lose by signing up for a class to give it a try.
If You Like TABATA or HIIT, Try Boxing
High-intensity interval training workouts are extremely popular right now, and for several good reasons. Not only
Not only do they scorch tons of calories, but science shows that they are one of the best ways to shed body fat without losing muscle mass at the same time.
They’re also really easy to do. You can crank out a HIIT or TABATA session at home, on a treadmill, in the weight room, or by taking part in a class like Plyo or GRIT.
If you love a good interval session but need some inspiration for your next workout, give a boxing class a try.
Boxing gyms are surging in popularity, and the format is expected to be one of the big fitness trends in 2018.
These studios offer 45-minute or hour-long classes and supply you with everything you need to get a great workout on the bag.
You’ll get wrist wraps and gloves when you sign up, and a certified instructor will work with you so that you master the punches and kicks with proper form.
Every workout starts with a warm-up, and then you’ll go through a series of “rounds” where you work on the bag or do other strength or cardiovascular movements like squats, burpees, or push-ups.
The rounds usually last three to five minutes, and then you’ll have a break for active recovery.
Most classes also include some core work and stretching at the end.
The nature of a boxing match is interval training, with the rounds and rest between, so you’ll get that aspect of the workout with all new movements in this class.
Even better, you’ll get to punch something.
And let’s face it, sometimes we all need to punch something and not get arrested for it.
What’s your go-to workout?
Do you ever change it up?
What’s your favorite fitness class and why?
I would love to know more about you in the comments.