Is it time to shake up your fitness plans? Whether it’s checking out a new studio or doing burpees in your front yard (true story — I made my friends do a workout with 96 burpees during the pandemic), the routines we fall into can get stale. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, but that can be easier said than done — we might want the change, but don’t know where to start.
If you’re feeling stuck, here are six ways to begin anew! Many of these examples have studios or gyms that host each one, but it’s also possible to find a video on YouTube to lead you if you want to do it at home.
1. Cardio Jam
One of my unspoken rules is that I always listen to music when I exercise. There’s a reason many studios prioritize their playlists during an intense session — sometimes, it just helps you get through it. This type of workout brings that beat directly into the mix with percussion-based movements. I tried this once when I was in college and had a great time dancing and working along to the beat. My favorite move is to get into a squat position and pound the floor with your drumsticks as long and as hard as you can.
While we’re on the subject of dancing, I invite you to try out barre. Inspired by ballet, this activity favors small movements over grandiose cardio in order to better engage your core and muscles. Instead of using bigger weights, you pulse with smaller weights in order to better tone your muscles. I was a little skeptical after my first time trying barre — as someone who wants to break a sweat while working out, you don’t burn many calories with this workout — but your arms will be shaking after some of these moves. And you don’t realize how much you will need to concentrate and work hard on that proper form.
3. Rock Climbing
My sister introduced me to rock climbing last year — if you are looking for a new workout with a bit of adrenaline, this is the one. As someone who is more risk-averse and afraid of heights, it took me a bit of getting used to. As you continue practicing, however, you begin to learn the tips and tricks of getting to the top! You will be surprised how much your forearms will burn by the end, but it’s still somehow a full body workout. Something fun about rock climbing is that it feels like you can always continue to excel to another level. Once you have some familiarity and practice with a rock gym, I invite you to take your skill outside and climb on a real boulder. It’s much prettier than a gym and may be a good excuse for a backpacking weekend.
4. Trampoline Gym
Yes, I am talking about your average backyard childhood activity. Trampoline workouts have risen in popularity over the years as an excellent leg and cardio workout. If you don’t think it will tire you out, give it a few minutes — after consistent jumping for a longer period of time, you’ll have worked hard. I highly recommend this for someone who needs a lower-impact activity due to joint injuries or any other particular reason. Whatever type of trampoline you have at home will work — you can use a mini trampoline or a bigger one as well for lots of potential for variety.
This workout will kick your butt (no pun intended). Whether you go into a studio and punch a real bag with boxing gloves or simply use dumbbells at home, this is a great way to get some high-speed cardio into your routine. There’s a lot of terminology to learn in the beginning — hooks and uppercuts, for example — but once you get those motions down, you will be well on your way. I enjoyed learning it in college for self-defense purposes, and now I return to it for the sweat it generates.
6. Workout Roulette
Over the past few months, it’s been super fun to create workouts for friends based on which specific muscles they are looking to exercise. The concept is simple: Make a list of exercises that you are familiar with and put them each on individual pieces of paper or popsicle sticks — you can even connect movements with the four different suits in a deck of cards. In another pile, put a series of numbers (not too high!). Draw one of each, and complete the routine in front of you! If you don’t want to go to a studio for any reason, this will be sure to change up your routine each day — even if you use the same exercises.