Build Your Own Exercise Boredom Buster

{By Rebecca Florio}

A few months ago, I had my hair highlighted for the very first time.

I also almost had my first heart attack at the age of 20 as I watched my entire head get covered in foils.

What if I hated it? What if I had to wear a baseball cap for six months like my aunt did when her hairdresser vented her violent family problems through her scissors.

my workout face ;)

Thankfully, my tresses and I survived. And I learned that sometimes it’s good to change things up. To add a different spice to a familiar recipe, to find study in a coffee shop instead of the kitchen table, to buy pink shorts, even if your sister says they make you look like a member of the boy band One Direction. Ouch.

Do you ever feel like your workout routine could use a change-up? After running my half-marathon last year, I was so ready to do something other than running. I love to run, but hitting the pavement every day, day after day, can get boring.

Adding circuit exercises to my workout routine saved me. Circuits are fun, they are challenging, and they keep both my attention and body active. I love doing circuits because they are never the same and my muscles are constantly being stretched to do new things.

Here’s the endlessly customizable “recipe” for building your own personalized circuit!

1. Begin each circuit with 10-15 minutes of cardio to loosen up your muscles and get your heart pumping! Some ideas are:

– Jump rope / Jumping jacks: My favorite cardio! I like to alternate between 100 jump ropes and 50 jumping jacks. It’s intense!
– Run
– Elliptical machine
– Running stairs (I used to wake my family up running the basement stairs at 6am!)
– Bike: Real or stationary

2. The Fun Part: From each of the following sections, choose 2 exercises to form a list of 8 exercises. Do the entire circuit 3x.

  • Abs

    • Crunch twists (x20): like a normal crunch, only twist as you sit up to touch your right elbow to left knee and left elbow to right knee.
    • Planks (aim to hold for at least a minute!)
    • Knee tucks: In plank position, touch your left knee to your chest and then extend back. Alternate legs. (x20 each leg)
    • Toe touch: Lie flat on your back and raise your legs to a 45 degree angle to the floor. Keep your core tight and touch your fingers to your toes. (x20)
  • Arms

    • Bicep curls: holding 5-10 lb dumbbells (or soup cans – be creative!), start with arms at your sides, palms up. Slowly raise weights to your shoulders then lower again. (X10)
    • Deadlift and raise: Hold dumbbells in front of you, palms in. Slowly bend elbows and bring weights to chest, keeping palms in. Then extend arms above your head, facing palms out. (x10)
    • Tricep dips (explanation from Position your hands shoulder width apart on a secured bench or stable chair. You want your legs bent and feet placed about hip width apart on the floor.Keep a little bend in your elbows in order to always keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints. Slowly bend at your elbows and lower your upper body down towards the floor until your arms are at about a 90 degree angle.Once you reach the bottom of the movement, slowly press off with your hands, and push yourself straight back up to the starting position. (x10)
  • Squats<< every circuit needs ‘em! For each of these exercises I like to hold 5-10lb dumbbells to work my arms and back as well as my legs.
    • Narrow squats: stand with legs shoulder length apart and touching weights to your shoulders. As you squat fully extend arms up to the ceiling. (x15)
    • Wide squat w/ chest fly: Stand with legs shoulder length apart and arms bent to hold weights at your chest. As you squat, extend arms out and bring back to chest as you stand back up. (x15)
    • Toe Touch squats: Keep your back straight and alternate touching your right foot with your left hand and your left foot with your right hand as you squat. (20)Position your hands shoulder width apart on a secured bench or stable chair.
  • Legs

    • Lunges: Be sure to keep your knee positioned over your foot. (x20 on each leg)
    • Mountain Climbers: Begin in a pushup position. Bring your right knee to your chest and then rest foot on floor. Jump up and switch feet in air, bringing left foot in and right foot back. Alternate feet as quickly as you can. (x30)
    • Curtsy Lunges: With feet shoulder length apart and hands on hips, take a large step backward with left leg, crossing behind the right leg. Bend your knees until your right thigh is parallel to the flood. Return to starting position and alternate with right leg. (x10 on each leg)
    • Single Leg Circles: Lie on your back with your arms, palms down, at your sides. Point your right leg up to the ceiling and slowly “draw” a circle with your toes, keeping your hips on the flow. Draw 5 clockwise circles, then 5 counterclockwise circles. Repeat with left leg. (x10 with each leg)
  • End with 10-15 minutes of Cardio

If you google most of these exercises, you should be able to find helpful pictures.

Don’t let yourself believe working out is boring. It should be fun and challenging! Get excited and get moving!