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6 ways an adventure can reignite your passion for fitness

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...

Why you should get out of the gym and exercise in the world this weekend

After months of now-stale workouts at the gym, it’s no wonder your motivation is starting to wane. You aren’t meant to run on a treadmill like a hamster on a wheel or pick up dumbbells just to put them back down again. You aren’t meant to “get fit” just to fit into a new pair of jeans  – you’re meant to get fit so you can experience all this wonderful world has to offer.

But I get it, I really do. When your life fills up with obligations, it’s easy to fall into a hum-drum fitness routine and try to distract your way through the motions by monitoring your Twitter feed or watching the latest Real Housewives episode. Unfortunately, this type of “phone-it-in” gym experience won’t give you the intensity you need to see big results, and chances are you’ll start finding ways to skip the gym completely.

If this sounds familiar, guess what? It’s time for a reset. It’s time to take yourself out of your comfort zone and give yourself a shakeup — a weekend of adventure that truly reminds you why fitness is fun and worthwhile. Go ahead and look up fitness resorts in your area (these pictures are of my recent weekend at Travaasa Austin — hey, even fitness professionals need an occasional reset, too), or check out REI’s guided weekend trips. A great weekend away could be exactly what you need to reignite your fitness motivation for the following reasons.

1. Reminds you fitness is more than logging miles

Why you should get out of the gym and exercise in the world this weekend
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

The thrill of adding an extra mile to your nightly run is short lived. Yes, it’s awesome to get regular feedback that your fitness level is improving, but what, exactly, are you improving it for?

Fitness isn’t just about running farther or lifting more weight, it’s about what your body is capable of as you get stronger and faster. An adventure weekend provides you with access to unusual activities that enable you to experience your newfound fitness. Hey, all those kipping pullups pay off when you’re climbing up a cargo net, and your improved balance from yoga class does wonders as you make your way across a high wire.

2. Gives you the chance to try new things

Why you should get out of the gym and exercise in the world this weekend
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

I’d been wanting to try slacklining for years, but I’d never had access to a slackline, and I didn’t really want to buy one without trying the tightrope-like experience first. When I found out Travaasa offered a nightly slackline class, I was pumped — I could finally give the activity a try.

I was terrible.

Really, really terrible, but I had a blast giving it my best shot, and by the end of the night I was able to take about four or five steps without falling off the line. (That might still seem awful, but hey, it was an improvement!)

The beauty of trying new things is two-fold. First, variety is the spice of life. Without trying new things, you’ll never know if you’re missing out on a new favorite activity. What if you could be the world’s best slackliner, but you never gave it a shot? That would be a damn shame.

Second, new experiences keep us humble. They remind us that starting from zero and failing are normal. That the only real failure is the failure to try or the failure to believe in your ability to take on new challenges. So what if you try something new and you’re bad at it? I think people should be bad at something new every single day.

3. Takes you out of your element

Why you should get out of the gym and exercise in the world this weekend
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

Where, in everyday life, am I ever going to throw a freakin’ hatchet? The answer is nowhere, ever.

But on an adventure vacation? Anything’s possible. You can reinvent yourself, if only for a weekend, and imagine yourself as a competitive hatchet thrower or a rustic mountain climber or the world’s foremost expert on aquatic cycling (surely that’s a thing, right?). Removing yourself from your element — your normal life — in a physically challenging way gives you the opportunity to re-imagine yourself. It stretches you both mentally and physically and reminds you that you don’t have to settle for the status quo.

Maybe you won’t become a competitive hatchet thrower at the end of your weekend away, but maybe you will have the confidence to sign up for that triathlon you’ve been toying with. Time will only tell.

4. Reignites your competitive spirit

Why you should get out of the gym and exercise in the world this weekend
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

I’m a competitive person; I always have been. But most of my workouts don’t light my competitive fire. I don’t have the chance to play basketball like I used to, and most of my workouts are boring solo sessions. Sure, I can try to get more turns of the jump rope in a minute’s time, or I can aim to lift more weight than I did last week, but that’s only rewarding for so long.

My adventure weekend away gave me the chance to compete against myself as I tried new things, but it also gave me the chance to compete against my husband. He’s always better than me at physical activities (except swimming, I crush him in the pool). But his natural athleticism gives me something to shoot for: it makes me work harder and keep trying in the hopes that I’ll meet his athleticism if not exceed it.

I didn’t.

But that’s OK. The competitive spirit isn’t about winning all the time, it’s about leaving everything you have on the proverbial field.

5. Makes you lean on your friends

Why you should get out of the gym and exercise in the world this weekend
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

It’s no secret that working out with friends is usually more fun than exercising alone, but it’s also no secret that buddy workouts aren’t always possible. Even though I head to the gym with my husband at least twice a week, we always work out on our own. I typically do jump rope, circuit workouts and yoga while he does steady state cardio and strength training.

Most adventure retreats promote partnership. You lean on your friends, instructors and fellow adventurers for assistance and encouragement. Sometimes, you quite literally can’t continue the exercise or activity without help from those around you.

This type of communal experience is a great reminder to seek out community in everyday life and prioritize the occasional partner workout. Life is better together, and the same can be said of exercise.

6. Takes you back to your roots

Why you should get out of the gym and exercise in the world this weekend
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

I grew up taking horseback riding lessons and going to horse camp, but I certainly can’t afford my own horse and heading out to the stables isn’t a feasible weekly activity. But I still love horses, and I was thrilled to be able to go “back to my roots” and spend some time bonding with my new buddy, Trigger the horse, during my weekend away.

Adventure retreats are like summer camp for adults — they often give you the chance to do some of the activities you loved as a kid. But more than just the activity, they give you the chance to tap into the joy and excitement of your youth — the feeling that anything is possible, even if just for a few days, and that’s a feeling worth taking a weekend for.

This post is sponsored by vitaminwater zero and SheKnows

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