10 Ways to Bust out of a Rut – Articles

Settling into a well designed, regular health routine can be a major triumph in our weight loss journey – until it’s not. While we’re certainly creatures of habit, we’re all prone to restlessness. At some point, we’re drawn to novelty as much as comfort. Sure, it can take a while to figure out what foods and workouts put us in the sweet spot for weight loss (not to mention life balance!). As hard won as this regimen may feel, eventually we can tire of the same exercise circuit or meal lineup. Simple tweaks in our weekly routines, however, have the power to stir up new enthusiasm and even push us to the next level in terms of physical change, metabolic function and mental game. Do you need to rekindle your engagement with your program? Check out these 10 ways you can use the “new” to your advantage. 

Schedule a workout “date.”

If your weekly workout routine is feeling a little mundane, try something more social with a friend or a group. I try to plan a monthly workout “date” with a close friend – whether we try a new class at the gym or go for our usual hike. Sharing the experience or having the chance to chat while busting a sweat makes the workout more enjoyable.

Take a day off.

One of the best ways to get out of a rut is to literally stop in your tracks! If you’ve been working hard and seeing progress, give yourself a day off from that routine. Most often, you’ll miss it and won’t be tempted to take yet another day right after, but having that one day is a nice reminder of how much better you feel when you move your body and eat what lets you thrive!

Go to class.

I often include cooking skills during my coaching sessions, but if you’re not working with a nutrition coach, taking a cooking class can be a nice and surprisingly fun option! Learning additional cooking skills can make all the difference when it comes to adapting a healthy diet for the long term. Whether you sign up to learn basic kitchen skills or try a specialty class (e.g. grilling, etc), taking advantage of cooking courses offered in your community will expose your palate to different recipes and new ingredients. It’s a perfect way to shake up your eating routine.

Phone a coach.

Many of my clients came to me with nice foundations for eating and exercise but were simply interested in getting new ideas. Sometimes fresh eyes can give you a totally different take on your routine and offer you novel options to get you beyond your current rut. If you have friends or coworkers on similar journeys, share notes on what foods and activities have worked for them.

Create a dream board.

Whether you cut out recipes/pictures of foods that look amazing or use the online version (Pinterest), just making a photo collage or recipe collection can infuse life into a limited, boring eating routine. I attempt to “try” something new with food each month – whether it’s something I see a coworker (e.g. fellow Flourish writer Paul) eating that looks good or something I find on my social media feed. 

Start a dinner club.

This one is my favorite! Set up a monthly or quarterly “dinner club” with friends who are also on a healthy way of life journey or have a similar commitment and mindset around nutrition. If a group arrangement isn’t the best fit, consider a night out with your significant other to bring some variety into your routine. Most restaurants today have options for healthy proteins and vegetables.

Find an exercise workshop.

Ask the staff at your gym or fitness facility if they host workshops to help members learn about fitness equipment. You may discover some new favorite tools to incorporate into your workout routine and feel less intimated making your way around the gym.

Train for an event.

This might be one of the most common things my clients do to get out of a rut. Signing up for an event or challenge can instantly elicit that “New Year’s” excitement and offer tangible motivation for committing or re-committing to a goal.

Hit the re-set button.

It’s easy to forget about our overarching objectives – especially if we’ve hit a plateau or aren’t seeing the rapid progress we did in the beginning of our journeys. Make a list of the reasons why you wanted to get healthy in the first place – even if it was solely based on enhancing your appearance. Revisit that list on the days when you’re feeling bored or tempted to give up. Add something new to it, in fact, each time you consult it!


Let go of the rigid take on exercise! Chase your dog or kids, go for a “fun” bike ride, or play your favorite sport. Some of my best workouts happen when I simply throw a basketball at a hoop and run full speed after the rebound (having completely missed the basket). Playing is just as important to our health and exercise routine as our cardio or strength training programs and can be helpful for those of us stuck in a motivational or even physical rut. Push the edges of what you think qualifies as “fitness,” and you might end up never seeing it the same again – all the while, changing your health and lifestyle for the better.

Have you ever found yourself in a healthy living rut? What got you unstuck? Share your thoughts and tips, and thanks for reading. 

Written by Anika Christ, Senior Program Manager of Life Time Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.