Rut Busting

Hey guys! What’s going on? And who’s watching Dancing With the Stars with me? 😀

I just got home from a GLORIOUS, schweaty, booty-shakin’  Zumba class.

Here’s the playlist I used for tonight:


Some oldies, new newbies, a total blasty 😀 (“Abreme la Puerta” makes me swoon… listen to it, I think you’ll understand)

My eats, much like my life, have been a little all over the place lately but here are some of the highlights.

Chocolate Protein Oat Bran


Oat bran, maca, almond milk, brown rice protein, and cinnamon

Salad with Creamy Dijon and Basil Dressing and Millet Croutons


Saving the recipe for a rainy day 🙂

and a

Random Quinoa Concoction


All I did was sauté onion, bell pepper, and carrots, then added, veggie broth, quinoa, thyme, Garlic Gold (enter code GarlicGold for 20% off), oregano, cayenne, paprika and kidney beans. I made it this afternoon so it would be waiting for me after Zumba, so all I had to do was heat and stuff my face. It actually came out pretty dang delicious 😉

Busting Out of a Rut


As you guys know, I recently started doing the Insanity workouts with my friend Ashley. It’s been pretty amazing because without knowing it, I was stuck in a workout rut and Insanity has helped to shake things up again. Literally. We do a lot of hopping around 😉

The thing is, it’s extremely easy to plateau with workouts—our bodies are very intelligent machines and will get used to whatever we expect them to do on a regular basis. That’s why when we do the same things day in and day out, our bodies and muscles quickly adapt and the results diminish.

In order to see fitness gains and bust out of a rut, one needs to add additional stressors in the current routine. To do this, all you have to do is change one of the 4 characteristics of exercise:

  1. Mode: The type of exercise you’re doing. Take a new class or try a new activity. This will challenge different muscles than you’re used to and enable change to start rolling. This is why you’re often sore after taking a new type of class.
  2. Frequency: How often you workout. Try to add in an extra day of cardio or weight training, or if you workout almost every day, add in an extra day of rest. Remember, it’s during times of rest that our body can recover and grow back leaner and stronger.
  3. Duration: How long your workouts last. Instead of doing a solid 45 minutes every day, try doing 30 minutes one day and 60 the next, for an average of 45 minutes. This way, you aren’t adding in an additional “net” amount of exercise, but are shaking things up to stop cruise control from kicking in. Or, shorten the workouts and increase the intensity.
  4. Intensity: Level of difficulty of the workout. Make sure to alternate workout intensities—there’s no reason to go balls to the wall every day. Your body will get used to whatever routine you put it in, whether it’s dilly dallying on the bike or doing full-out sprints on the dreadmill. Just make sure to constantly keep your body guessing.

So as ya’ll can see, it’s easy to make small changes in your workouts and bust out of a workout plateau. I truly believe that change creates change– anything you can do to shake things up is a good thing for results and for sanity. It gets boring doing the same thing over and over 🙂

I’m off to starting packing for Vegas (wahoo!) and then get to bed. I promise to catch up on your lovely emails tomorrow <3 (Also, if you have any reader’s requests, please send them my way!)



Something to talk about: What’s your best advice for busting out of a workout rut?? How often do you change up your workout routine?

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  1. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is on April 19, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    I must change things up so I don’t get bored! I usually switch my strength training workout every 4-6 weeks, but I actually change the exercises every time. And I also change the reps each weight. Sometimes really heavy, sometimes lighter. I think VARIETY is the key to not getting bored. I always need to do some functional plyos in my week so I don’t get bored!

  2. Katie on April 19, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Definitely trying something new helps me to get out of a rut- I usually run and then when I take a spin class it’s AMAZING. Or signing up for a race or a charity event is great because it sets a solid goal.

  3. La on April 19, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    These are great tips! I’m kind of a hard-core Pilates addict and had gotten to a point where I was taking mat classes and reformer classes several times a week without feeling much of a burn anymore, even though I was seriously working hard. I decided to take a week (turned into three) weeks off, and test how I felt without it. I’ve never been much of a gym-and-fitness girl but when I removed Pilates from my life I felt this sudden vacuum, a need to move. I woke up randomly early one morning and knew I would go for a bike ride, which is something I never do, but since then I’ve been incorporating the bike into my routine, both for fitness and for transportation. I’ve also been walking a lot more, since I happen to live in an area very conducive to walking for transit (New York City, baby). I’ve found that sometimes it just really works to REMOVE the constant from your life to see what else you need. Now I went back to Pilates tonight for the first time in three weeks and I felt challenged and super-motivated to get back ON TOP. Breaks are sometimes necessary to shake up that rut!

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2010 at 8:52 pm

      i totally agree, breaks are a great way to come back rejuvenated and ready to go 🙂
      ps. i’m jealous you live in ny 😉 eat some one lucky duck ice cream for me

  4. Jenny on April 19, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    OMGGGGGGGG VEGAS!?!? Jealous!!! When are you going??

    And I lurve Abreme la Puerta… gooood song:)

  5. Caitlin on April 19, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Weird, I was just thinking (and stressing) about this today. I have recurring hip problems, so running is an off-and-on thing. It’s the only thing I like doing day in day out though. So I’m getting myself back into swimming, and taking random yoga classes just for the heck of it. Shaking things up is the only way I’ll be able to take the running break without going crazy!

  6. Kara on April 19, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Gina you always have such great playlists!!! I find that songs help motivate me to change up my workouts. All I need is a really fast paced workout song or three or four and it is enough to get moving whether biking, running,dancing whatever. I have one song that I am absolutely loving. It is called Ringa Ringa and it justs makes you wanna run around and move!!! Check it out on YouTube. Ringa ringa allu arjun

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2010 at 9:29 pm

      good point- an awesome playlist is always great motivation
      i’ll check it out right now 🙂

  7. Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin on April 19, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I totally agree – you really need to keep your body guessing to keep getting more fit.

    PS – I can’t see any of the pictures other than your playlist on this post, but it might just be my computer!

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2010 at 9:45 pm

      thanks for letting me know- the blog is having some issues :/ going to try and get it fixed

  8. Jess on April 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    “Change creates change”—I needed to read something like that today. Thanks for posting!

  9. alyssa on April 19, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    I am in an exercise rut! I am hoping that with your review of the program, you will be able to get me out of it! Have you ever done P90x? and if so, how does the intensity program compare to it? I did a few P90x dvd’s when I borrowed them from a friend, they were a nice change from the treadmill, but I did not feel like I sweat as much as I did when I ran and for me, if I’m not sweating a lot, then I’m not working hard enough. just curious, definitely keep us posted on the program!

  10. MaryZ on April 19, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Great topic…I have been stressing over these 5 lbs that have landed so nicely on my hips. I think I need a rest day added and some higher intesity cardio.
    As always you hit the nail on the head! Thanks Gina!

  11. Heather (Heather's Dish) on April 19, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    i recommend doing something outside that’s not running (unless you love it) like hiking, cycling, doing an obstacle course, or something like that. then you get to enjoy beautiful weather too!

  12. Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) on April 19, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Love your tips….it’s so true!! You just get into a rut, whether it be your workout routine or sometimes what you eat too!
    I’m having problems with your blog too….can’t see most of the pics and I have a hard time getting the blog to come up. 🙁

  13. Brittany on April 19, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    I totally agree with shaking things up on the workout front to create change and beat boredom. I just hired a personal trainer as I was stuck in a workout rut as well. I think it will be super helpful to have someone showing me the proper form and cheering me on. The best part is that my first session was yesterday and I’m already feeling it!!

  14. Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter on April 19, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Great advice Gina!

    I love how it’s very hard for me to get stuck in a rut since I do take different PE classes every quarter that range from rock climbing to ice skating to zumba. I love how I work different muscles and get quite a bit of a different work out. This is some great advice for the summer when I won’t have those PE classes 🙂

  15. Katherine on April 19, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Why aren’t any of your images loading? it’s not the same reading a post with empty gray boxes… I’ll check back later I guess!

    • Fitnessista on April 20, 2010 at 7:26 am

      should be all fixed now!

  16. Kristal (from Moody Zumba) on April 19, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    WAYYYYYYYYYYYY to make me sooooo jealous that I could not be there tonite at Zumba. I was so hoping to see “oh the radio wouldnt work and Zumba sucked” lol jp. Im glad you had a good time. Please teach me the dances slowly lol. I will be there Wed. will you??

    • Fitnessista on April 20, 2010 at 7:26 am

      hahaha i’m sorry friend, class was awesome
      and YES i’ll be there wed! see you then 😀

  17. Kellie on April 19, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    I recently added Pilates to my workout schedule. Is is amazing how much change I see already.

  18. Sam- Brown Eyes, Blue Skies on April 20, 2010 at 12:54 am

    The quinoa looks yummy 🙂 And thanks for the smoothie post!! I bucked up and bought my Vitamix last week. (the CIA in ruby) I’ve used it every single day so far and my intake of fruits and veggies has sky rocketed!!! One quick question though…I noticed that the majority of the smoothie recipes posted included almond/soy/etc milk. I haven’t added milk to mine yet, just fruits and veggies. Does the milk make it taste more like a milkshake than a smoothie? Does it get a little too dessert-like for an AM smoothie?

    • Fitnessista on April 20, 2010 at 7:25 am

      hey sam,
      yes it makes it more dessert-like, which i LOVE, but it’s not too much for the morning. 🙂

  19. Kilee on April 20, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Thanks for such a great post. I think that we all forget now and then to shake it up. These past few months I have followed 6-week plans (Summer Shape Up being one of them) and then take 1 week to try new workout classes, maybe go for long walks instead of runs, and be less ridgid about my workouts for the week. After a week I’m all refreshed and excited to start a new 6-week program. Have tons of fun in Vegas!

  20. Xtina on April 20, 2010 at 4:56 am


    I love to experiment with different vegan protein powders. The latest is a vegan hemp protein powder from Whole Foods. It tastes…well lets just say whatever I have been adding it to I have taken one bite, or one sip, and thrown it away. I find myself adding tons of agave to mask the flavor.

    I am wondering if you have tried hemp protein? Can you suggest a better alternative besides Sun Warrior? I am also allergic to dairy so I can not use whey protein.


    • Fitnessista on April 20, 2010 at 7:24 am

      hey girl,
      i personally am not a fan of hemp protein. it tastes a little too woodsy for me. have you tried pea protein? it’s also sold at whole foods and while i haven’t tried it, i’ve heard really good things about it

  21. Lauren @ BIOCHEMISTA on April 20, 2010 at 7:50 am

    The quinoa dish looks yummy! 🙂 I make a similar one using chicken boulion (its vegetarian, sold at WF) and is soooo good!

    My advice for getting out a rut is trying completely new workouts. I try to take a new class every now and then at my gym and I incorporate learned moves into my daily routine.

  22. rachael on April 20, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Can you come north to teach zumba, your class looks really fun! I try to mix it up with exercise, but definitely get stuck in ruts. I change things up a little by trying different strength building exercises in fitness magazines. I drive to yoga studios a little further away when I need to mix up my yoga practice (and the classes I teach).

    Thanks for the insanity review below. I am intrugued but I don’t think I’d want to do it six days a week, do you think it’s something you could do fewer days a week?

  23. Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) on April 20, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Awesome advice! I always get into ruts… thats when I know I need to switch it up- for my muscles and my sanity!!


  24. Coley on April 20, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Great advice! My favorite way to stay out of a rut is to do my strength training circuit backwards. Because I like to start with the same exercises, I had the most energy in the beginning, but by the time I was finishing up my session, the last couple machines or weight exercises I was much weaker in, so those muscles weren’t getting the same attention. I try to do the circuit backwards to make sure different parts of the muscle are strongest, or starting in the middle and doing a random mix.

    I also tend to always do back and biceps one day, triceps, chest and shoulders another, then legs. I’ll mix this up and do back and abs, triceps and biceps or chest and shoulders, etc.

  25. Paige (Running Around Normal) on April 20, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Nice advice! I love changing up the intensity in each and every workout I do each week. I typically stick with running in the summer, but I’m going to be on a volleyball team soon, so I assume I’ll probably start doing some sort of plyo workouts soon.

  26. JRock on April 20, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Hey! Youve probably adressed this on ur site more than once…but i hope not! I am a healthy eater…I do not struggle with choosing healthy eats and I am quite knowledgeable/aware of what I am putting into my body.(i have to be I have celiac:) ) But one thing I do struggle with is portion..and not overreating healthy foods. The way I look at it is overeating is overeating, healthy or not. Obviously its better if its healthy, but its still overeating. For that reason i have come to a plateau in my weight loss journey:(. I dont know how to change this…knowing when to stop and not eating past my limit! Have you ever struggled with anything like this?

  27. Christina on April 20, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I change things up a lot too. I try to take free exercise classes whenever I can find them, and alternate between running, biking, and rollerblading for cardio. I’m following a training plan right now which is good because I used to run the same amount of time every workout. Now it’s more about mileage!

  28. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on April 20, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Changing up my music helps a TON – it makes cardio sessions fly by! Also, I have been working with a trainer since February and that definitely keeps things interesting. On days I’m not training with him, I try to use cardio machines or other strength exercises that I wouldn’t normally do. I like to look on websites like Women’s Health and Self for new workouts – anything to keep it interesting! Have fun in Vegas! 🙂

  29. Hilary@coffeeismycarrot on April 20, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I change up my cardio routine daily. I always do an hour, but some days that’s split between multiple machines, other days it’s all on the treadmill varying speeds and incline, and some days it’s an outside jog where I try to vary the route. I have to keep it new both for the benefits of variety and the boredom factor.

  30. Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow on April 20, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Changing up the workouts a KEY for me! I get so bored and I’m not here to exercise because someone told me to, I do it b/c I love it! Therefore here is how I keep things always changing:

    1. I have a HUGE number of DVD’s from Beachbody that I workout to. Just like Insanity, I have every program out there so when I wake up I can either follow a schedule or pick from about 30 or so workouts.

    2. Music is everything! It’s got to be loud and full of energy to pull me in so often I will mute the music if I’m doing a video and turn on my most recent Itunes playlist.

    3. I get friends involved! Nothing like a workout party!

  31. LEM on April 20, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I get bored easily, so it is very easy for me to keep changing my routine. I lift weights, but even if my routine is made for 5 days a week, I only do it twice a week and fill in the extra days with different activities. Ex: last week I rock climbed a wall at my gym and LOOOVED IT! i have to recomend it! it was such a great workout, I was so sore, and it tones your muscles beautifulyy, cant wait to do that again today!, when I dont have much time I just go in for cardio but sometimes instead of staying in the same machine for 30 – 45 min, I do 10 minutes each (stairs, eliptical, stationary bike) and this allows me to work harder and time goes by faster! Some weeks I have crazy yoga week where I will take 4+ yoga clases, and the next week I will do cardio and weights…this is also what keeps me going at the gym, I need the VARIETYYYYYYY….Great tips by the way gina!! thannnkyou so much!

  32. Carolyn @ lovinlosing on April 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I’m training for various foot races, but I’m trying to incorporate other activities like weights and biking (maybe even swimming).

  33. Heather @ get healthy with Heather on April 20, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I love switching up my exercise, i’m a big fan of the good sore feeling you get from trying out something new.

  34. Katie on April 20, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    What perfect timing for this post… I’m currently in the biggest workout rut of my life! I don’t want to give it up, but can’t seem to find something that keeps my interest. 🙁 I try to change things up every month or so, but stay with the basics. 🙂 I’m meeting with a personal trainer to hopefully jump start a new program!

  35. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman on April 20, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Just another reason to break out of a fitness rut: Doing the same exercise day in and day out can set you up for an overuse injury. By switching things up and using different muscles you can keep the body in balance and reduce your chances of injuring yourself!

    • Fitnessista on April 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm

      very good point- it’s so important to switch the muscles you’re using so some can rest

  36. Barbara W on April 20, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I’m lovin’ your daily blog! It’s lots of fun and good encouragement. I have been losing weight for a year now, and definitely need to kick up the workouts or I will be “stuck” where I am. But I have a food questions for you… You refer to the millet bread a lot. I am a gluten-free eater, so I was wondering if you make the millet bread yourself or if it’s something you purchase? I’m trying to mix up the diet-end of things as well and was hoping to try something new!

    • Fitnessista on April 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

      hey barbara!
      thanks so much! 🙂
      i buy the millet bread at whole foods (or health food stores). it’s in the frozen section- just keep it frozen and “chisel” off a piece when you want some. SO good 🙂

  37. Kelly on April 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I love workout DVDs. Some of my favs are: Physique 57, Windsor Pilates, Anything by Jillian, Tae Bo just to name a few. I’m going to have to check out the Insanity program though. I’m definitely in a rut and need a change.

    • Fitnessista on April 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

      i love the winsor dvds- definitely need to check out physique 57

  38. Laury @ thefitnessriot on April 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    not sure if I posted right the last time :/

    Your blog is awesome, I am new…we have SO much in common…I love Almond Butter & Millet….got into it after I became OBSESSED with food for life brown rice wraps (have you tried them?)

    I am trying to get the bloggy health food ladies together for a Food Inc. potluck tomorrow….Iron Chef Style!

    Ps–First Zumba Class yesterday (phenomenal)…and I tried P90X (to see what the fuss was about) ab ripper yesterday…um, my abs are BURNING!


    • Fitnessista on April 20, 2010 at 5:27 pm

      thanks so much for reading laury! it’s cool to *meet* people through the blogworld who have so much in common!
      have fun at the potluck tomorrow!

  39. Lola on April 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    A few months ago I started training at a dojo with Jujitsu and Judo. Practicing a few times a week made me never want to go to a gym again because throwing people is much more exciting than a treadmill. I did not lose much weight because there was not much to really lose, but I went down two sizes! I am going to start moving into competitions in a few weeks.

  40. LaRae on April 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    You should put the Creamy Dijon and Basil Dressing recipe in your cookbook section 🙂

    • Fitnessista on April 22, 2010 at 8:54 pm

      you’re right! thank you 🙂 i’m such a slacker about updating my pages. have you tried it??

  41. Four Fast Fitness Fixes / DemosHealth on December 15, 2014 at 4:34 am

    […] 1) Change something every day. It’s so easy to get comfortable in your routine and stick with the same things that you know and love. I’ve definitely been guilty of this one in the past- I’ll get crazy excited about something new and then only do that for a while, see results from it which eventually plateau (the body is a smart machine and gets used to its demands), and then onto the next thing. The best fitness plans are ones that include strength, cardio, flexibility and modes that you enjoy. [For more help with this, check out this post on rut-busting] […]

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