10 Ways to Diversify Your Fitness So Your Body Doesn’t Catch Up & Your Mind Doesn’t Get Bored

You’ve heard the term “diversity your investments,” right? Well, we believe your health is one of the most important investments you make. And we also believe it needs to be diversified. Some people stick to the same exact routine day after day. We think you should change it up, not only for your body but for your mind and motivation too.

Your body can and will adapt to the changes you implement including exercise and even nutrition. Changing up your workouts, then, is a great way to avoid everything from stabilizing. Likewise, you might get bored or lose motivation to keep going if you don’t change things up, so help your brain out by switching it up.

So, what are some ways you can diversify?

Strength

We love training to get strong. We think everyone’s bodies are designed to be strong & tough. Muscles are sleek, beautiful and, let’s be honest, useful. How else are you going to carry every single grocery bag inside in one trip or die trying.

Clients using dumbbells to chest press.
Using dumbbells by the water. In this set we alternate between chest press and triceps press to make sure everything is wobbly by the time we finish!

Sometimes people shy away from the word strength or even muscles. But they’re necessary to do life right! Every individual has a different level of strength that they find good and comfortable for their own body, but either way, a baseline of strength is great!

Cardio

You either love or hate the work cardio if you’re like us. Although we do have a separate running program, our fitness really incorporates cardio by utilizing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

Client using battles ropes to do cardio.
Battles ropes are like cardio for your arms.

HIIT has been proven again and again as a super-effective way to lose weight and transform your body. The great news is while it’s doing that, it’s training your heart to get ready for anything. With HIIT we do something hard, then we take a break or do an active recovery exercise, then we do something hard again! In this way the intensity of your heart rate, your effort goes up and down. That’s good, because it trains your heart!

Heart rate recovery ( HRR ) is commonly defined as the decrease of heart rate at 1 minute after cessation of exercise and is an important predictor of all‐cause mortality and death associated with coronary artery disease.Apr 5, 2018

AHA

Our favorite way to incorporate HIIT is Tabata (work for 20 seconds, rest for 10…8 rounds is one Tabata), but we also do it in circuit training by placing a few cardio stations in the middle of muscle-building stations! Here is a sample of a full Tabata workout.

  1. Sun Salutations
  2. Squat to Deadlift
  3. Frog Jumps
  4. Push Ups / Triceps push ups
  5. Sumo Squats w/ hold
  6. Knee Drivers
  7. Side Plank w/ twist R, L
  8. Alt. Deadbug

Core

Clients doing bicycles together as a core workout.
Our partner workouts are so much fun. At the end we burn the abs out together and it’s brutal!

We believe in creating a strong core: glutes, abs & hips. So much of your strength, your movement and your life is generated from core strength. In addition, one of the things many people complain about is lower back pain. We can ease a lot of that by strengthening the core. At Ideal Balance, we work the core every workout but we almost always end our workout by burning the core out in some form or fashion. We also like to challenge our entire body, but primarily our core, with planks. Every month we plank for time to see how we improve. Why not add that into your routine? How long can you go? What time will you aim for next time?

A photo of clients planking as a group. They plank for time once a month to see how they improve.
Our clients are planking for time, which they do each month. Their times range from <1 minute to more than 4 minutes!

Balance

At Ideal Balance we have a saying:

Unassisted Bathroom Trips for Life!

We say that sort of as a joke, but there is heart to it. We all want to live the best quality of life for as long as we can. We believe balance requires training just like any other skill so we continue to work on it daily. You can use your own body to work on balance and you can also use some of our favorite equipment:

  • Stability ball
  • BOSU (Both Sides Up)
  • Sliders / Discs
Client performing a pike on stability ball.
Our client is performing a pike on a stability ball. It’s MUCH harder than it looks, even though it looks really pretty. This move cannot be done without a very strong core.

Here are four ways you can work on balance:

  1. Single leg / arm exercises like the Single Leg Deadlift or modified Pistol Squats.
  2. Use a BOSU for squats, planks and more.
  3. Use a Stability ball to sit on for exercises like Military Press, Overhead Press and even Curls.
  4. Use sliders to do curtsy lunges.

Flexibility & Mobility

When we say flexibility we don’t mean the splits. We simply mean stretching and mobilizing your body in a way that keeps it fluid and moving in unique ways that keep you from getting stiff or losing range of motion. Some of our favorite ways to do that are:

  1. Sun Salutations. Even if you need to use a chair to start, do some sun salutations every day or at least every week. And don’t make excuses, we’ve got clients in their 70s doing them. 😉
  2. Bird Dogs. These are every physical therapist’s favorite exercise to dish out, and for good reason. Add these into your routine at least once a month.
  3. Side Planks w/ reach throughs. We love mobility, the stretch and the fluidity of this movement.
Side plank on one knee.
The side plank is brutal whether you’re all the way up or on one knee. We use the reach through to encourage mobility, flexibility and challenge the core even more. (that rhymed!)

Related: Are you showing up for future you?

Tools

In order to create incorporate strength, cardio, balance and flexibility, we like to use a variety of equipment. Take a look at the list and think about trying one of the tools below that you haven’t used before.

TRX
The TRX is like a trust exercise with you and whoever installed the bolts. It works honestly, it’s fun!
  • Bodyweight
  • Dumbbells / Free weights
  • Kettlebells
  • Resistance bands
  • Resistance loops
  • Medicine balls
  • Slam balls
  • Cables / Machines
  • TRX
  • Sandbags
  • Body bars
  • Battle Ropes
  • Ladders
  • Tires
  • Stability Balls
  • BOSU
  • Box

Time

There are many different ways to program your workout. One way to do that is to use timers. In this way you set up your workout and do a move for a specific amount of time (i.e. 30, 45 or 60 seconds). Our clients love this because they don’t have to count. When we are going for time, for the most part, we switch between body parts in between. This also allows your muscles to “rest” before being challenged again. You can also repeat the same move for time over and over again which leads us to Time Under Tension.

Time under tension

Time under tension simply means how long a particular muscle is under strain (tension) during a set. Some workouts will have you switch rapidly between muscle groups or keep the reps light so that the muscle is never really strained. When you’re aiming for time under tension, you are specifically choosing to wear out your muscle by keeping it under strain. At Ideal Balance, we accomplish this using high reps and three sets (below). For example:

  1. 3 Sets of 20 Reps: Weighted Sumo Squats
  2. 3 Sets of 20 Reps: Step Ups
  3. 3 Sets of 20 Reps: Deadlift
  4. 3 Sets of 20 Reps: Hip Thrusts
  5. 3 Sets of 20 Reps: Curl to Press
  6. 3 Sets of 20 Reps: Reverse Flies
  7. 3 Sets of 20 Reps: Kickbacks
  8. 3 Sets of 20 Reps: Chest Press

Related: 3 Super Specific Ways to Maintain Momentum with Your Goals So You Actually Achieve Them This Year

High reps

Every month our clients get the opportunity to see just how many squats and burpees they can do in one day (hint: 100+). We have a short, bodyweight workout that everyone “loves” because they feel it all weekend long. High reps challenge you to push past the screaming muscles and keep going. If you’re working on a high reps exercise, you’re definitely going further than most workouts will take you. The trick is to sprinkle in these types of workouts only every so often, not necessarily every day or every week in order to avoid injury.

Client ith burpees sign.
Sherry did 80 burpees this day!

Low reps

There are many different ways to program your workout, as we’ve outlined. Changing it up keeps your body guessing and your mind too!

One way to change it up is to do high volume but low reps. That means take a really hard move (like a manmaker) and keep it to low (8 or less) reps OR you can take a move and load more weight (like squats) and keep it to low reps.

shaysurfer @ tenor.com

There you have it, our 10 ways to diversify your fitness in order to keep your body challenged and your mind guessing!

Your bonus tip is to do it together! We love the encouragement and accountability a small group provides. In fact, we think it’s magical!

Wall sit with friends.
Working out & having fun are not oxymorons when you have the right people and the right equipment.

Ideal Balance is The Life Coaching Facility in Navarre, Florida that focuses on Fitness, Family & Finance. We help our clients create the discipline & habits they need to strip off what’s holding them back from living the life God created them to live. We work with clients in 1-on-1 sessions in person, virtually and in small groups. We offer life coaching, financial coaching, health coaching. We also offer personal training and home organization locally here in Navarre, Florida. Fill out the information below if you’re interested in our help and we will contact you.

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