By Paige Greenfield
When your brain abandons your workout routine, your body is soon to follow. Here's how to bust out of almost any exercise rut and get back your motivation.
Related: The 48-Hour Workout Jumpstart
Sick of Going Solo
Instant replay: Become a groupie to automatically get a workout buddy or two. Walkers can find a local pack at ava.org, runners at rrca.org, and swimmers at clubswim.com. Or hook up with a virtual partner right here on our site to keep yourself motivated! Head to the message boards and start posting your interests to connect with like-minded exercisers in your area.
Gear shift: Invite friends over for a Wii Fit challenge. Play your way into great shape with All Star Cheer Squad or Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 2 with Dance Mat ($40 to $70, amazon.com).
Related: 7 Ways to Find a Fitness Buddy
Tired of the Treadmill
Instant replay: "The number-one mistake runners make is going one speed, at one incline, every workout," says trainer Jamie Norcini, who teaches treadmill/elliptical classes at Clay in New York City. His love-it-again solution? Play with the control panel. After a 5-minute warm-up, jog for 2 minutes (at 5.5 mph, for example), then walk for 2 minutes (at 3.5 mph) or sprint (at 7.0 mph) -- surprise yourself! Repeat for 20 to 30 minutes. Or work the treadmill into a circuit, says Norcini. Place a pair of 5- to 8-pound dumbbells beside the machine, and jump off every 3 minutes to do 1 minute of arm toners.
Gear shift: Run intervals with Serena Williams! Download an audio Nike Plus Coaching Run on iTunes ($15).
Related: Get New Treadmill Routines Here
Annoyed with the Elliptical
Instant replay: Take your workout in a different direction. Literally! After 4 minutes at a steady pace, set the resistance to 8 and do 4 strokes forward, then 4 strokes backward, repeating for 2 minutes before returning to your original pace for another 4 minutes, Norcini suggests. Bonus: Every time you change direction, you work your core to maintain balance.
Gear shift: Strap on a Polar heart-rate monitor like the RS200 ($170, polarusa.com) and give your elliptical session a goal. The monitor's easy-to-read screen lets you know how hard you're working on a scale of 1 to 5 -- try to maintain a level 3, or switch up your resistance and speed regularly to see which zone you jump into.
Related: The Anti-Boredom Workout That Burns 400 Calories
Done Spinning My Wheels (and Not Going Anywhere)
Instant replay: Whether you take a studio cycling class or pedal on a stationary bike, bring your mind (and the motivation) back into your workout, says Spinning instructor Karen Dubs of Maryland Athletic Club & Wellness Center in Baltimore. Set a positive intention before each biking session that answers the question, "How do I want to feel?" "Wishing for Beyonce's legs just isn't going to give you the motivation you need. Think, 'I want to be energized' instead," Dubs says. The uplifting mental push will help you work harder from the inside (straight from the core) out. Each time your instructor lowers the intensity (to where you're working at about half your maximum effort), repeat your energy-up mantra over and over in your head until the pace accelerates again.
Gear shift: Stuck at home with your stationary bike? Pop in an On the Road DVD ($35, spinervals.com) and cruise through the Adirondacks or do a triathlon-distance ride around Madison, Wisconsin -- all without leaving your living room.
Related: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Exercisers
I've Worn Out My Weight Routine
Instant replay: Quit counting reps, says Los Angeles-based trainer Lalo Fuentes. Instead, lift until you can't go one rep further with good form, then move on. And tinker with your technique. Do fewer reps with Fuentes' Freeze method: Pause at several points throughout each move to work your muscles better. For example, while doing a biceps curl, pause for 1 count each when the weights are one-quarter of the way up, halfway up, three-quarters of the way up and all the way up. Lower slowly. Fast results will restore your interest in iron!
Gear shift: Swap dumbbells for kettlebells ($30 for a 10-pound weight, gofit.net). Your body counteracts the ball's momentum when you swing it, so you end up toning muscles you didn't even know you had. Start with celeb trainer Missy Beaver's Misfit's Kettlebell Basix DVD ($20, misfitla.com).
Related: The 15-Minute Kettlebell Blasters Workout
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By Paige Greenfield