When is the last time you tried something new at the gym? Everyone – from professional athletes to weekend warriors – should vary their exercise routine from time to time. The pros have an advantage over the rest of us since they usually have access to an arsenal of coaches and fitness professionals who can guide them along the way, keeping them healthy, engaged and injury-free (at least most of the time).

However, for the rest of us, varying up our exercise routine can be a real challenge. Many of us fall into the same routine week after week, month after month and even year after year. What’s the danger of never changing up your routine? Two things: boredom (which means you are more likely to quit your routine completely) and plateaus in weight loss/muscle gain and performance.

The body generally adapts to an exercise routine in approximately six to eight weeks and repeating that routine only means you lose the training stimulus. Additionally, changing up your exercise routine can jump start weight loss, prevent injury and stave off boredom. While consistency and practice are still important, especially if you are training for a specific event, variety in your routine will only help to enhance your fitness level and help you reach your goals faster. The problem is so many of us feel “stuck” when it comes to changing up our routine. So, I want to share 5 ways you can easily change up your exercise routine for the better!

Related: How To Schedule Your Weekly Workouts According To A Personal Trainer

1. Try A Group Fitness Class

Do you always head straight to the treadmill or elliptical when you get to the club? Why not mix it up and try one of FFC’s Signature Strength classes? Check out our schedule here and look for classes Chisel or Critical Mass. These all strength (no cardio) classes might be what you need to kickstart your routine. Or, maybe you need a little stress relief and want to slow things down. Try out one of our Yoga formats (Vinyasa, Hatha, Restorative and more), or look for our Foundations class, where you don’t have to worry about being a beginner and we take things nice and slow. Check out our complete Group Fitness program here and remember, all of our group fitness classes are complimentary with your membership! 

Plus, included in every FFC membership is access to FFC On Demand! FFC On Demand is home to more than 1,000 fitness classes, and new classes are streamed weekly. Try out one of our group fitness classes anywhere, anytime on FFC On Demand.

2. Check out The Faction at FFC Park Ridge

The Faction is a small group training program currently running at FFC Park Ridge that provides intense workouts for individuals who are always up for a challenge. The program covers strength, power, agility and HIIT. These sessions are coach-led and the workouts vary from week to week. Participants also use our MyZone Heart Rate system along with regular fitness testing to track their progress. For more information on the Faction, please click here.

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3. Ask About Small Group Training

These personal trainer-led “boot camps” (usually 3-8 people) are offered at every club and cover a variety of exercise modalities: Boxing, Kettlebells, Barbells and even bodyweight. Sessions are usually 50 minutes, with personalized instruction from a trainer and the added benefit of the camaraderie between participants. Check out any of our small group sessions: Kettlebell Boot Camp, Factor 5 Boxing, Factor 5 HIIT and HIIT & Stab just to name a few. For more info reach out to your Club’s Fitness Director!

4. Start A Pilates Practice

While lifting weights is an important part of any complete exercise routine, many people choose to perform the same lifts over and over again (can you say bench press?), meaning they focus on only the large muscle groups. Pilates, a form of exercise and body conditioning developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, is a low-impact form of exercise that aims to strengthen muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. Performed under the watchful eye of a Pilates Trainer, it can be quite challenging and lots of fun. For more info on our FFC Pilates program, head to our website or reach out to our Regional Pilates Manager Kristin Strom at kstrom@ffc.com.

Related: What Is Pilates Good For Anyway?

5. Hire A Personal Trainer

Working with a FFC personal trainer is a sure way to vary your exercise routine. In your first session, your trainer will discuss any goals and/or roadblocks you have with your training routine. Then, they will build a program specifically for your needs and will assist you in managing your intensity to keep you injury-free. In addition, a great trainer will give you much of what you want in an exercise routine while at the same time sneaking in what you “need.” Often times, it is those exercises/movements, the weight selection and the set/rep ranges that can make all the difference. Plus, we know you won’t do those exercises on your own! To learn more about the Personal Training options at FFC, click here and book your first session for free.

Don’t let your “comfortable” exercise routine become a permanent one. By keeping your exercise routine new and fresh, you keep workouts fun and your mind and muscles challenged!

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Post written by FFC Group Fitness Manager Lara Mele.