UNC Health Care
cartoon closeup of someone tying their running shoe laces

4 Tips to Get You Excited About the Gym Again

It happens to even the most dedicated exerciser. The path you take on your daily run suddenly doesn’t look as scenic. The strength-training routine you were excited to try has gone stale, the #gainz slowly dwindling.

If you find yourself in a workout rut, don’t get discouraged—try something new!

Lauren Rosella, a wellness instructor at REX Wellness Center of Garner, shares a few tips on how to keep things fresh.

1. Take Full Advantage of Your Gym

If you normally walk straight from the check-in desk to the elliptical, from the locker room to the lat pull-down machine, stop and look around. A good way to switch things up is to investigate the offerings right in front of you.

“So many people get set in their ways and don’t fully grasp what we have available to them,” Rosella says.

Check out your fitness center’s class calendar, ask your fellow gymgoers what they like and talk to the staff about your goals and any new trends they’re pursuing. Rosella says REX Wellness Center in Garner often holds smaller “side” classes to test out potential programming. For example, she recently led small classes in advanced Pilates. These less-formal classes are a great way to try something new.

2. Set New (SMART) Goals

When you started your fitness journey, you probably did so with a few goals in mind. So it makes sense that you’ll want to set new goals to reorient your workout. Rosella emphasizes setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

For example, if you typically lift weights but want to incorporate running into your routine, don’t sign up for a marathon. Instead, set a goal to run 25 miles in the next month. The goal’s clear time frame and achievability will help you reach it. And the satisfaction of achieving your goal will help you advance to new ones.

Rosella also encourages using a workout journal to keep track of your exercise and hold yourself accountable.

3. Change Your Clock

As our schedules get busier and busier, it can be hard to find time for exercise. When you do find a time window that works, it makes sense to stick with it—that’s why you always work out first thing in the morning, for example, or on the way home from work.

But there’s a downside to this consistency, Rosella says; devotion to a particular time of day can limit the options available to you. If you always work out in the evening but a new class you’re interested in is offered only in the morning, take a look at your schedule and see what can shift. Can you go to work a little earlier so you can attend an afternoon class? Could you accommodate a longer lunch break to get in a workout? The change in routine could be beneficial.

4. Just Try It

Many gyms and fitness studios offer great deals for new clients, such as a free first class or a few weeks at a reduced rate. That is a great way to try something new without a major financial commitment. If you hear of a new place opening, go check it out. You’ll often get a great deal and a great workout, and you’ll meet new people. Rosella also suggests talking to friends about what they like and setting dates to accompany them to classes. The bottom line? Don’t be afraid to try something new; you might be surprised at the results.

And that goes for trying something out of your comfort zone, Rosella adds. She teaches barre—a ballet-style class stereotypically thought of as being for women—at the REX Wellness Center in Garner. There are several men in her classes, she says, who all report that barre greatly benefits them in their other activities, including golf, cycling and running.

“When you stick to only one type of exercise, you are really limiting yourself,” Rosella says. “There is not a lot of variety in your movement, and your body really only knows how to go in one direction. Other types of classes or routines can help you move in different directions, and I think you’ll be surprised by the benefits of adding variety.”


Find a REX Wellness Center or UNC Wellness Center near you.