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May 29, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 3 Faves: 0

Getting Crafty With Exercise: How to Spin Up Your Workout Routine!

By Rachael Steil More Blogs by This Author

Bored of the Same Routine?

Do you need a change in your boring old workout routine? As a passionate runner, even I find myself in a rut sometimes. As I head out the door I seem to spend more time thinking about where I should run rather than actually running. But what's a bored athlete to do?

This past year the captain of our cross country team came up with a fun idea to combat the hemming and hawing I heard as we walked out the door. Where to go today?

Enter the pinwheel.

How Is It Done?

Who would've thought crafts could come into play when you workout? If you're the more ambitious, creative type, it's as easy as buying a large poster, drawing a circle with triangular slots, and inserting a large arrow in the middle to spin on an axle. Your drawing skills then come into play as you decorate/fill in the spaces with your favorite routes or different workout routines.

But say you aren't into the crafts; you could simply take a colorful game spinner and assign the different colors on the spinner to different exercises or workout routes on a separate "key."

Our team ended up buying a large poster and a spinner from a local craft store. At cross country camp, teammates were free to fill in the empty spaces with names of the routes we take around campus. For example, we had the "Alice-in-Wonderland loop" (a "secret," beautiful gravel path next to the lake), "Church loop" (run around town to all the different churches) or "Red Light Run" (at each red light turn right or left and continue straight if green). Not only were we now excited for our runs, but we had an eye-catching, colorful contraption that the guys' team could never live up to. We would get right to the workouts; no more milling around now!

How Can You Start Your Own Spinner?

You have your own area to workout in, and only you know your favorite routes. It's time for you to fill in the gaps on your own pinwheel! Don't stress about filling in every blank immediately; take the time throughout the day (or maybe even during your workout!) to think of more routes and add them to the spinner whenever inspiration strikes.

Spicing up the Gym Life

What about making a pinwheel for your routine at the fitness center? Is it the day to hit the pool or spend some time on the elliptical? Do you weight-lift first or after you cycle? Do you need a new rotation through your ab exercises?

If you'd rather not take the pinwheel with you to the gym, just spin it at home and write down your routine for the day. That way you leave the house with a plan and you have variety each time you go!

Get the Kids Excited to Workout

Maybe it's time to get the kids involved; buying a large poster gives them more room to fill in the blanks with colors and ideas for ways to workout themselves while you get an energizing workout in the gym as well.

Here are just a few examples of workout routines to get you started:

Ab Busters:

Fill in each space with a different ab exercise. Spin the spinner after each 30-second to 1-minute ab exercise to see what you should do next.


Biceps or hamstrings first? The spinner could make the decision for you. Situps or pullups next? Spin the wheel to find out!

Rotating Through the Machines:

Is it a cycling day, time for the elliptical, or a little of both? Are you going to start for ten minutes on the treadmill first or the bike? Spin the wheel, and after ten minutes, see what's next!


What type of workout will you be doing? 10 minutes hard on the bike or 5? Make a list of these workouts, and hit the floor running according to where the spinner lands!

Relaxation Station

A final piece of advice: Fit in those rest days according to your plans rather then the fate of the pinwheel. Otherwise, you may find yourself stuck in consecutive exercise ruts for weeks at a time, or worse, three consecutive rest days in a row! You can't leave everything up to chance now, can you?

Plan ahead for those rest days; it's best to leave them off the pinwheel, anyway. Find the busiest day of your week and use that as your rest day from exercise; rest days are probably the parts you should plan in this schedule.

Good luck, have fun, and spin away!

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  • I love this idea! As a workout freak, my routines can easily become boring and mundane. I switch it up every day, to make it more appealing to get my butt going (if you know what I mean).

  • Have you seen the workout Bob Harper did with a deck of cards on the last season of The Biggest Loser? He shuffled the deck and assigned each suit an exercise, and so each round of exercise and how many had to be done (e.g. 2 for 2, 3 for 3... 11 for J, 12 for Q, 13 for K, 15 for A, I think) was determined by the cards.

  • @Big Dave--no, I did not see that but it sounds very similar to this idea! Knowing Bob Harper though, I would think it was intense...haha

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