Hitting the gym shouldn’t be a pain, but sometimes working out seems more like a chore than a pick-me-up. Stagnant routines and training plateaus can zap motivation, not to mention valuable time. We’ve got five proven tips and hacks to spice up any training regime and make the gym fun again.

(Check It: 54 Unexpected Ways to Hack Your Health)

Photo by Justin Singh

Do the Most Important Lifts First. Working on a weakness? Studies suggest the order of exercises matters, and the lifts we do first in a routine — before we get tired — can have the biggest impact on trainingExercise order in resistance training. Simao, R., de Salles, B.F., Figueiredo, T., et al. School of Physical Education and Sports, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Sports Medicine. 2012 Mar 1;42(3):251-65.Effects of exercise order on upper-body muscle activation and exercise performance. Gentil, P., Oliveira, E., de Araugjo, Rocha Junior V., et al. College of Physical Education, Catholic University of Brasilia. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2007 Nov;21(4):1082-6.. If general strength and conditioning is the goal, do full-body, compound moves first to maximize strength gains and recovery from one workout to the next.

Bonus! 4 Fitness-Tracking Apps to Try Today
  • Fitocracy: Love games? Fitocracy gamifies fitness by awarding points for workouts, which you can track and compare against friends. Price: Free!
  • My Fitness Pal: This app lets users track their daily activity and food intake. Nutritional info’s available for almost any food, from filet mignon to PB&J. Price: Free!
  • StrongLifts: StrongLifts guides users through a strength training workout, with instructions on exercises to try and how much weight to lift. It isn’t super useful if you’re doing something other than the preset program, but that preset is a good one! Price: Free!
  • Zombies, Run! This app turns running into an action-packed adventure. Users put on their headphones and hear zombies chasing after them, along with instructions on how to avoid them. (Pro tip: RUN!) Price: $7.99