Let’s face it: no matter how disciplined we are 95% of the time, totally on top of our A game, we all know that every now and then there inevitably comes a day where we just can’t muster up the motivation to work out (am I right?).
And hey, some days it’s not a matter of wanting a break. As tough as we may feel, our bodies definitely deserve some official downtime after we put them through a rigorous sweat sesh—especially whenever you’re trying to max out a PR while pumpin’ iron. Occasional rest is the key to helping your muscle tissue repair faster, so you can accelerate your recovery time, get back out there, and work hard for the bodybuilder physique of your dreams.
But what a lot of athletes don’t know, is that they can’t keep doing the same thing over and over if they really want to see improvement in their figure and overall fitness. You’ve probably heard trainers talk about different workouts targeting your arms, back, legs, and (of course) glutes on different days, or maybe doubling up on two muscle groups per WOD—AKA the workout of the day. But that’s old news. I’m here to talk about something else.
What I’m getting at is that feeling of boredom that can creep up on you at the gym, when you find your eyes focusing on the latest pair of Nike Metcons rather than your form in the mirror. Maybe you’re a superhuman beast who eats iron for breakfast, and more power to you, man. Just know that if you’re lookin’ for gains, you gotta switch up your game.
Strength training is my truth, too, but the secret to getting those ultra-cut and chiseled results you’re looking for is to occasionally switch up your workout by injecting a new form of exercise in there. Here are a few ideas on how you can optimize your athletic performance and appearance with cardio, mobility, and balance drills—and who knows, you might even have a little bit of fun while you’re at it!
- Get the Bros Together on a Team in a Sports Rec League
Maybe you love cardio, but I personally don’t. If I pound away on a treadmill for 45+ minutes, I need to bring a separate pair of sneakers and plenty of fresh Spotify playlists to keep me in the zone. I think it’s so much better to get out and relive those high school glory days with friends in male or co-ed rec leagues, or just pick up games at the park.
I’ll still make sure I’m set up for success with the best running shoes for flat feet and a heart rate monitor to track how many calories I’m torching as I while tossing buckets—that way I know I’m in good form and I can monitor my activity level—but the social element makes working out more fun. Basketball, football, beach volleyball, it doesn’t matter. They’ll all help you blast fat so you can appear even more shredded.
- Sign up for a Membership at the Community Pool
There are many advantages and disadvantages to intensive workouts. Going for max weight over reps can build huge, vein-popping muscle mass, but it can lead to a lack of mobility throughout your core—namely, the shoulders, traps, and lats.
Solution: work on your tan and the mobility in your limbs at the same time in the pool. Some gyms already offer them so you can save on a separate pool membership. Taking a few laps after your weightlifting WOD can act like active recovery to stretch and lower your heart rate. You’ll pop out feeling loose, lithe, and limber.
- Attend the Yoga Class You’ve Always Promised Her About
Laugh all you want, but the fact of the matter is that real men do yoga—and there’s a long list of NBA, NFL, and MLB athletes who will back me up on that. It offers incredible benefits in terms of balance, which is a skill that bodybuilders definitely need when they’re doing deep squats and overhead presses on the gym floor.
More importantly, it helps you workout your mind and control your breath, helping you become the master of your thoughts and body. Who can’t get on board with that?
What do you guys like to do in between hitting the gym? I’d love to know your favorite ways to switch things up so drop a comment in the box below.