By Dave DiFabio

I'm very happy you've made a decision to take control of your health. After all, what would happen if you didn't? With summer on the way I've been fielding questions about how to keep from getting bored with old workouts. It’s a great question that has many answers. There are a million directions I could go with this but the bottom line is: WE NEED TO START HAVING FUN WITH OUR WORKOUTS AGAIN. If it doesn’t feel like work, you’re more likely to enjoy doing it. The more you enjoy it, the more you’ll actually WANT to do it and stick with it. Sounds simple enough right? Yet this concept escapes so many of us.

I think about what we used to do for fun as kids. When I was a kid, my friends and I were always on the move. If we weren't playing sports, we were going somewhere to find something interesting (or exceedingly bone-headed) to do. We were on foot, on a bike, or on skateboard going from point A to B to C and back to A (and I can tell you we weren't traveling at a steady pace, but more on that later). We didn't have to think about staying fit. Staying fit just kinda happened because we were just having fun doing what we were doing.

So then what happens to the adult brain as we get older? I think we lose a few brain cells along the way. We're definitely dumber as adults. How else would you explain the torture we put ourselves through in the name of exercise....Lay on a platform and press a heavy metal bar over your chest and risk decapitation....get on a conveyor belt and try not to fall off of the back like George Jetson....Sit on a rear numbing seat and pedal nowhere while staring into space. No wonder we're bored, unmotivated, and sick of the gym.

I can't tell you how many people tell me they hate the stationary bike or the treadmill or some other machine. "If you hate it, then why do you do it", I ask? "To lose weight", is the answer I get most often. Folks, you don't have to torture yourself with boring, steady-pace exercise to lose weight. As a matter of fact, without getting to technical, interval training, resistance training, and sports/games can help you lose more weight by increasing resting metabolic rate and post-exercise metabolic rate.

Earlier I mentioned that when we were kids going from place to place, we weren't traveling at a steady pace. Have you ever watched a kid at play? What do they do? They're usually bouncing off the walls for a minute or so and then they stop. Then they bounce some more and they stop. And again. And again. That's called interval training. I'd bet a months worth of training that kid can run circles around 95% of the 22 year-olds I see in the gym.

Here's another thought... Some of my clients are high school kids. I don't know any kid that wakes up in the morning and says "I WANT to start running everyday to take some weight off". Now don't get me wrong, if that kid is a runner and is training for a race, then that kid needs to run. Furthermore, I'm not trashing the sport of running. If YOU LOVE to RUN, as I do, then by all means...RUN FORREST RUN!!! Enjoy, have fun! That's the point...find something you love to do and do it well. However, many people would consider running to be "cardio" while a runner would call it TRAINING! That's an important difference in perspective because most people would rather remain overweight than to go for a run everyday. So if you're not TRAINING for a particular event, do you need to do traditional "cardio"? Hhmmmmmm?!

There are other ways to lose weight and other ways to build stamina and endurance. There are other ways to improve heart health and improve cardiorespiratory function without doing traditional, steady-pace exercise. Traditional exercise is not working for most people. Obesity and other health problems are still on the rise for adults and children. Maybe it's time to get unconventional. Maybe it's time to stop the torture and time to start having fun again with an activity or TRAINING regimen you actually enjoy. Stay tuned for future articles. It might contain a sample interval-training program. Maybe you won't need any equipment or a gym membership to do the program either.


Dave DiFabio MA, CSCS, USAW

Owner/Strength & Conditioning Coach - Team Speed Fitness LLC