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The dos and don'ts of trying new workouts

Sarah Stolp is a busy mom, Co-Founder of CanIEatHere.com, a health enthusiast, celiac disease advocate, nutritionist, and personal trainer.

The fastest way to burn out at the gym is to do the same few workouts week after week. Eventually, your mind, body and enthusiasm will plateau. The best way to improve your health is to keep your body and mind interested. The easiest way to do this is to try new classes and workouts.

Is there a hike you've been meaning to do? A new running route you want to try? What about new classes you've been intimidated about taking? Now is the time. Don't let your health and fitness plateau. Each week, try something new. Taking new classes can be intimidating, but overcoming self-imposed obstacles is invigorating.

Here are the dos and don'ts of trying new workouts.

Don't:

  • Let the fear of the unknown stop you. Far too many people let the fear of looking foolish or the fear of feeling out of shape stop them from trying new things. Your body can do so much more than your mind thinks it can. Just take your time and make the class or workout yours.
  • Compete with other people. Yoga, hiking, barre and bootcamp are not a competition. You are there to push your own body. Compete with yourself. Push for that extra squat you don't think you can do. Attempt an arm balance in yoga and be ready to laugh if you fall.
  • Give up. So you tried yoga and it was a disaster. So what? You still tried it. You may like another instructor or different style or maybe you'll never like it. The point is, you went outside your box and pushed your body and mind in a new way.

Do:

  • Find a fitness friend. Find someone who is willing to take new classes with you and push you to try new things. Finding someone who can laugh with you when your legs are shaking can make a difficult workout seem easier.
  • Find a fitness instructor you love, and then stalk him/her. Just kidding, but do take other classes they teach. Sometimes the teaching style is just as important as the workout. Many instructors have "regulars" who take their classes.
  • Switch up your route. If you're a runner, walker or enjoy hiking, changing up your regular route can be enough to decrease boredom. Tackle the big hill you usually try to avoid. Climb a new mountain or take a different trail.
  • Try a barre, pilates or yoga class. These strength while stretching classes can be good to elongate your spine and focus on the small muscle groups that often get neglected. This is especially important if you usually exercise on your own or focus on high intensity workouts.
  • Laugh at yourself. No one is an expert the first time they try something new. If you fall in yoga, can't keep a beat in cardio dance or are struggling through boot camp, smile because you're not sitting at home on your couch. You are trying something new.

As always, consult your physician before starting a new exercise plan.

Photo credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Getty Images
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