If your workout routine consists of going to the gym and doing the same thing over and over again, you're probably not going to get the results you want.
"The key to continuing making improvements is to change the workload," says Paul Plakas, a personal trainer and star of Slice Network's X-Weighted. "Your body will plateau after a certain point, because it adapts to the stress you put upon it. You have to put more stress on the body. Whether you work out with more intensity, or longer, or with more weight, you’ve got to do something harder than what you were doing before if you want your body to change."
If you're bored of the same old, same old at the gym, why not try one of these fresh new fitness ideas? Not only will they help you up the intensity of your workout, they may also help you bust through boredom and start seeing the physical changes you desire.
Sure, you've tried out a yoga class, and maybe even a hot yoga class or two. But the latest craze in yoga circles will sweep you off your feet – literally. Spun off from New York City acrobatic performance troupe AntiGravity, the AntiGravity Yoga workout is designed to increase overall health and physical agility while having fun.
The practice uses something called the AntiGravity Hammock along with some standard yoga moves (as well as a few from dance, Pilates and calisthenics). You perform the moves hanging from the hammock, letting you decompress tight joints and relieve pressure while aligning the vertebrae of the spine without strain. It even allows you to perform advanced yoga inversions without neck or back compression.
With Crossfit franchises popping up all across the country, people are drawn into the classes based on the premise that Crossfit's specialty is having no specialty at all. These intense classes combine cardio, strength training and endurance, allowing people to push their bodies to the limit.
No two workouts are the same, but each one consists of functional exercises (think pushups, pullups, deadlifts, overhead presses, skipping, squats, running) using equipment like dumbbells, kettlebells and skipping ropes. You might feel like puking after pushing your body to the limits in a workout, but you'll see results – fast.
You might think indoor rock climbing looks easy, but once you start scaling that wall, it's anything but. The key is that it challenges you both physically and mentally. Not only do you need the strength to pull yourself up the wall, you have to plan the best way to get there.
The benefits of rock climbing include increased strength, flexibility, endurance, agility, balance, problem solving skills and mental control. The bonus to doing it indoors is that it's a safer, more controlled environment, making it appropriate for the whole family.
Created by Reebok and Cirque du Soleil, this workout will bring out the inner acrobat in anyone.
The hour-long workout uses a specially-designed piece of equipment called the FlySet. The workout is designed to give the sensation of flying, while at the same time strengthening and lengthening the body through cardio, strength, balance and core training.
The FlySet consists of a durable three-stranded rope fixed to the ceiling with a 360 degree swivel point at an adjustable length with two attachment loops. The FlyBar, a 4.5lb neoprene coated attachable steel bar, is placed through the two loops, which can be varied in height, to create an apparatus that strengthens and lengthens the body as you experience the sensation of flying during the workout.
And if flying isn't quite your style, consider trying Jukari Fit to Flex, a routine that uses resistance bands to improve strength and tone muscles.
Love Latin dancing? Gyms across the country have started offering Zumba fitness programs that combine Latin rhythms and dance moves with aerobics and strength training. The routines feature interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat.
During a Zumba class, an instructor will take you through the routines, letting you wiggle your hips and perform dance moves while listening to infectious, pulsating music. If traditional workouts leave you bored and dancing is your style, be sure to check out a Zumba class and see if the Latin rhythms are more to your liking.
A journalist with more than 10 years experience, Alison’s work has appeared in a number of top Canadian publications, including glow, Oxygen, Canadian Running and more. She is the former editor of a number of well-respected Canadian and American trade journals and recipient of a Kenneth R. Wilson Gold Award of Excellence in feature article writing. She is a part-time faculty member at Sheridan College’s journalism department, as well as an avid runner and fitness enthusiast.