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Spice up your exercise routine

Make exercise fresh and exciting again with a few simple changes to your workout program, says Tanja Shaw.
If your routine is starting to feel a little stale

Do you find it difficult to find motivation to go to the gym?  Are you bored of your current exercise routine?  Are you no longer seeing results despite faithfully working up a sweat?  If so, it is time to spice up your exercise routine.  Changing your routine will help eliminate boredom and help to avoid the dreaded plateau.  Make exercise fresh and exciting again with a few simple changes to your workout program.

Routine spice up No. 1: Change the tempo.

Instead of lifting all your weights at the moderate tempo of two seconds to lift and three seconds to release, change the speed of your lifts.  For one workout, try lifting as fast as you can while still maintaining proper form.  Slow down the tempo during your next workout.  Try taking five to 10 seconds to lift, hold for five to 10 seconds and take the same to release.  You will be able to do more repetitions when lifting quickly and fewer reps when lifting slowly.

Routine spice up No. 2: Add instability.

Adding instability to a workout is a great way to alter your routine and improve your balance.  For example, you can try standing on a wobble board or BOSU ball while doing biceps curls.  If you usually use a bench to do a dumbbell pectoral fly, try using a stability ball instead.  Doing an exercise with one leg or arm at a time can also add instability.  For example, instead of doing a standing overhead shoulder press with two arms, use only one arm at a time.  For an extra challenge, use only one arm while balancing on one leg.  When decreasing the stability of exercises, make sure to stay safe.  Choose variations that you are comfortable doing, or ask someone to spot you.  You may also need to decrease the weight you are lifting while if you are making your exercises less stable

Routine spice up No. 3: Vary the equipment.

Gyms have a wide variety of equipment to use.  Add spice to your routine by using different equipment to do a similar exercise.  Instead of always using dumbbells to do biceps curls, use a tubing band.  If you usually do your chest press on a machine, try using a barbell and bench, or use cables.  Try incorporating a medicine ball into your abdominal exercises, or move your floor crunches onto a stability ball.

Varying your routine is crucial to keep motivated and to keep seeing results.  With a little imagination or help from a qualified fitness professional, you can modify your routine to reach your fitness goals.


Tanja Shaw is a Kinesiologist and the owner of Ascend Fitness Inc., a private training studio.  Tanja and her team of expert fitness professionals work to inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition.  For more fitness tips go to

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