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It's a great personal achievement to reach your initial fitness goals— whether it's hitting a 200 lb deadlift target or successfully running a mile under 7:30, reaching points that you only dreamed of when you first started out can be one of the most encouraging parts of the workout process.
However, what do you do after you finally hit that point? Is your weekly routine just the same old exercises from now on, or do you have a contingency plan that will keep things moving forward?
Below, we've put together some tips from the pros on not only keeping things interesting (because, let's face it, boredom is a gains killer), and also some key factors to keep in mind in order to get personal growth out of your fitness strategy, whether you're just starting out or have been at it for years.
It sounds simple because it is— even for those hoping to simply maintain a certain physique or level of activity, health pros often recommend that you stick to plans that increasingly challenge your abilities.
After all, physical therapy isn't about locking down one activity and then calling it a day— it's about building your body up to it's top performance level through progressive exercises and regimens. Think of your personal workout habits as leading towards that same goal.
It's not necessarily important that you beat your personal records by a certain date or milestone, either—what's important is that you go into your workouts intending to try.
Like it or not, it's human nature— when things get repetitive or monotonous, we tend to lose interest, fast. If you're hitting a point in your workouts where you find yourself doing the same things each time, odds are you're rapidly approaching a point where you'll start losing interest and working out less.
To avoid that risk, it can be a good idea to catch your boredom before it turns to a lack of motivation— change up your reps, or even switch over to completely new ones for a month. Worst case scenario, you'll most likely learn some newly effective exercises that you can incorporate into your wheelhouse.
If cardio is more your speed, the hurdle can be tougher to tackle. If you're hitting great mile times but are finding yourself becoming bored of the treadmill, strongly consider gearing up and hitting the road for some on-location running— it can feel like a challenge to get out of your gym comfort zone, but the change in scenery can seriously motivate you.