How To Improve Your Exercise: 14 Ideas To Challenge Yourself

This is for everyone who does some sort of daily exercise – whether it is going to the gym, daily push-ups or walking 20 minutes to work or your commute.

If you are not currently doing a daily physical exercise, you are missing out! Form the Mayo Clinic webpage: “Regular physical activity can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular physical activity boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries.”

If you want to improve your exercise – even if it is only walking around the block for 20 minutes – you can always make it more tempting and challenging. Your body gets used to one form of exercise. To continuously grow, you need to challenge yourself.

Here are 14 ideas to improve your physical exercise each day.

These suggestions roughly fall into three different categories.

You can increase the intensity of your workout or physical activity.

You can inform yourself about the workout you are doing and attack it with a conducive mindset;

and you can potentiate your workout by eating clean.

One important caveat: Don’t try to work through any stinging pain. It might be a sign that you are actually hurting yourself. But a dull feeling of difficulty is most likely not a sign to give up 😉

Improve Your Exercise Titanic
If you’re on board the Titanic, maybe just chill out.

#1 – Don’t use momentum.

You can probably get around the difficulty of a lot of workout exercises by just accelerating your body with muscles different from those that you want to train. If you do that, you may be able to do heavy workouts in an amazing speed and be done with it.

For example, if you do sit-ups or crunches, you can just flail your arms forward and pull your body up.

Doing this though does not address the actual muscle that you want to train. Inform yourself about the exercise you want to do – which muscle does it address? – and then move slowly. Focus on the muscle group you want to train. You realize you are in the right place when the exercise is actually exhausting.

#2 – Static holds

In the same vein as avoiding momentum, the point of doing static holds is to contract the muscle group you want to train for an extended amount of time. For example, when you do a chin-up, hold your body in the position of maximum contraction for about 30 – 60 seconds. Your muscles exert energy while continuously working against gravity.

A similar example is to do a wide grip bench press with your feet up in the air, but only extend towards 2/3 of maximum extension and hold it there for a bit. Pushing the weight up and holding it two-thirds of the way is much harder than juts pushing it up completely, because your arms get into a position where other muscle groups are taking over to stabilize them.

Or, for example, when you squat, there is a point where holding your weight is hardest, and once you are completely down to the ground, it becomes easy again. Next time, hold your body in a “half-way” position for 30 seconds or more. 

You’ll realize which position is most efficient to hold: the one that is most demanding when you perform the exercises!

#3 – Increase the difficulty of the exercises

For example, instead of doing the same “normal” push-ups, you can try a different one. Here is a great overview:


But even if you don’t do calisthenics and walking to work and back for 20 minutes per day is your physical exercise, you could chose a route that includes a lot of stairs. Or maybe some beams where you could do a couple of pull-ups.

If you live in a more rural part of the country, you could take your bike to work – instead of walking.

#4 – Decrease the rest time between exercises.

The shorter the rest periods, the more demanding the workout will be. The New York Times has a great “7 minute workout app” where you do a different body for 30 seconds, then change to the next activity within a couple of seconds and so on.

#5 – Posture, posture, posture.

If you always strive for a good posture, you will automatically do your workout in a more efficient manner. You can also do workouts to improve your posture.

#7 – Your workout never stops.

Integrate as many of your workout movements into your daily life as possible. For example, instead of bending down to pick something up, you can squat down and keep your back straight. Walk and take the stairs whenever you can. Always make sure your posture is good.

#8 – Have a competition with a friend.

That motivates me personally like hell. I am willing to endure a lot of pain if it means winning a competition. I once lost 53 pounds (from 113 to 89 kg) within a year as part of a wager, and I did it another time where I lost 26 pounds within six months.

#9 – Join a forum and publish your journal.

Making yourself accountable to friends and colleagues will put you into a mindset where you are willing to hit it harder every day. There is no backing out.

#10 – Watch fitness videos

There are numerous YouTube videos out there that explain how to do certain movements for your workouts. Here are some helpful ones for a lot of different movements in the gym.  Once you know how to align your body and which muscle groups to target, the workouts become more efficient.

#11 – Visualize your goals.

Visualize where you want to be, how you will look, how others will react to you etc. For example, every morning shortly after getting up, I check out this photo:

Improve Your Exercise Body Fat

My goal is to get towards 8% body fat, so this collage is a great reminder to keep my diet and do my workouts.

#12 – Improve your self-talk.

You are doing the workout not because you have to, you are doing it because it adds new energy and abundance to your life.

#13 – Get a personal trainer/nutritionist

As an addition to #10 above – watch fitness videos, a personal trainer may cost a little extra, but he or she can show you directly how to perform the exercises correctly. Even if you only keep the coach for a short a month, it is worth it, since the direct feedback gets you started on the correct track.

#14 – Track your progress

This helps you see where you are, and it also motivates you to keep going. For workout, you are in the lucky position to be able to actually measure several parameters – like weight, body fat, how much you can lift, how fast you are etc. It is a great feeling to follow your progress and see that you are improving from month to month!

If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.

Yesterday’s challenge: Click me!

What is this challenge about? This link will teach you more.

And to get back to the main page, you can click here.

Do you have some additional ideas?

Did you try some of the ideas yourself already?

Let us know in the comments below.