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Shake Up Your Fitness Routine (and Start Having Fun at the Gym)

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Variety is the spice of life, so it's always strange to me when people get stuck in a workout rut and don't change.

Who said you had to do the things you are doing? There are hundreds of ways to exercise. Some need equipment, some need open spaces and some just need you and a little bit of good old hard work.

Here are my top 4 ways to use your typical workout equipment a little differently.

Dumbbells: Typical body building is out the door these days. The reason for consulting a personal trainer now or for getting into a small group session is to learn new techniques and learn them right. I run a class I call No Limits Functional Fitness. It is my goal to get these to become a trend in gyms across North America. Anyone can walk in anytime and learn how to workout functionally, as well as get tips, tricks and brand new ideas. I encourage clients to bring exercises they want to try and have their form corrected. YouTube is a double-edged sword; the video sharing site has good ideas, but if you are new to exercise, you can't have your form properly corrected by a video.

Start by using dumbbells instead of typical kettlebell exercises. Try dumbbell swings and Turkish get-ups. Not having a kettlebell is not an excuse to not use these exercises in your weight loss routine.

Treadmill: The treadmill is the most under-utilized piece of equipment out there in my opinion. Who said you have to use it and do all your miles in a row? If you get bored on a treadmill, break it up! Use circuits to break up your run and challenge your body in a totally different way. If you are not much for running, start changing things up. Exercise shouldn't be forced (all the time); it should be fun. It is amazing how breaking up a long run with some weights can make your workout fly by, as well as torch some extra calories.

Exercise Ball: You have to get off balance to really develop your core stability muscles. Try easing into it. If you have never been on an exercise ball, start simple. Then move to holding weight in only one hand. Once you master unilateral work, move your weight off the center of the ball. That little move makes for a huge challenge to your balance and your core stability. Focus on form and you can get your muscles to start to fire in ways you never thought possible. Awaken your inner athlete, but do it slow and smart.

Medicine Ball: There's nothing like using the medicine ball to switch up your stability. Throwing the medicine ball around used to be something included in high school gym class. It seems to have all but disappeared. Throwing a medicine ball can also be a fun way include partner drills into your workout. I see a lot of moms and daughters training together, as well as husbands and wives. Throwing a medicine ball standing on a BOSU can be a great strength equalizer and make for a fun game in the middle of a Functional Training Class.

What you should take away from all of this, above all, is to start having fun. There are hundreds of options out there. These are just a few from the hundreds of personal training hours I do in a year. Get on YouTube, grab a few magazines, and get in a small group training session to really learn a few new tricks in the gym. Feel free to talk to me on Twitter @fitcityjordan or leave a comment below. I'd love to hear what works for you in the fitness world.

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