How to tweak your gym workout to keep it fresh - Diligent Fitness

How to tweak your gym workout to keep it fresh

Fitness and working out mostly feels horrible. Legs shaking. breathlessness. Arms burning. Add doing the same old exercises in the mix and yeah, I can see why it’s hard to get motivated.

At the same time exercise gives us something we want. In return for the discomfort it shapes your body. Makes you feel more confident. And increases how long and how well you’re going to live.

So, finding ways to make exercise more endurable (and maybe even enjoyable) is essential if we’re going to stick it out long term.

Mix it up to keep it interesting

I love getting outdoors, but right now I don’t have the resources to travel to exotic locations. Instead I’ve decided to become the sort of guy who gets the absolute most out of what I’ve got on my doorstep before moving on (the hole in the groin of my favourite jeans is testament to this).

In order to keep enjoying the great outdoors I’ve had to get resourceful. And here’s where I discovered that you can visit the same place, explore it 3 different ways, and keep enjoying the experience. For example:

Same landscape, explored 3 ways created 3 very different experiences

Visit 1: I’d explore, on foot. Usually taking in the area and its views on a well worn path.

view from the path

view from the path

Visit 2: I’d revisit the same area. But this time look for places to climb, or more challenging routes to take. I’d drop down into streambeds, work my way up waterfalls, climb craggy rock faces. Generally taking the difficult, lesser trodden routes.

a more challenging route

a more challenging route

Visit 3: would be just as rewarding, except this time I’d take on the winding roads on two wheels.

could be classed as the easy way out

could be classed as the easy way out

Having 3 ways to essentially do the same thing brought new life to it. And the beauty is this works with your fitness routine too.

3 ways with your fitness routine

Just like walking the same landscapes can get less exciting, doing the same exercise month after month becomes less effective. Sometimes it becomes completely ineffective… because you get so bored you stop doing it and stay home instead.

With that in mind, I’d encourage you to try experimenting with one or two of the exercises in your current routine. If you normally do bench presses with a bar try the same with dumbbells. If you normally run at the same pace on the treadmill  try running a few sprints.

Like I experienced the same landscape 3 ways by walking, climbing and biking. The exercises you already do probably have at least 3 different ways to do them. Let me share some examples from the DF programme.

3 ways with lunges

  • Month 1: Split Squat
  • Month 2: Reverse Lunge
  • Month 3: Bulgarian Split Squat

3 ways with rows

  • Month 1: Incline DB Row

incline dumbbell row 2 incline dumbbell row 1


  • Month 2: TRX Row

trx row 1 trx row 2

  • Month 3: Single Arm DB Row

dumbbell single arm row supported 1 dumbbell single arm row supported 2

You could even apply the 3 ways thinking to running with something like this:

  • – Session 1: 1x 20 minute steady jog
  • – Session 2: 5x 2 minute hill climbs with 2 minutes rest
  • – Session 3: 10x 30 sec sprint : 90 sec walk


Having different ways to do each exercise keeps things interesting and keeps your body progressing. It allows you to get more mileage out of what you have available to you.

Next time you’re in the gym try a little resoucefulness. You don’t have to make huge changes. Just try a slightly different version of what you already do.

If you normally use a bar, try dumbbells. If you normally run on the flat try a hill. And if you normally do a plank on the floor give it a go on a ball.

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