Do you find yourself running the same route, going to the same yoga class, or stepping onto the same treadmill while at the gym? When it comes to our fitness routines, most of us are creatures of habit. We find something that we like, so we stick to it. Yes, any exercise is better than none, but it is also important to make sure you are reaping all the potential benefits. During exercise, you’re putting stress on your body, and in the recovery process, it improves its ability to handle that stress. It makes sense when you think about it: the more you do something, the easier it becomes. By changing up your fitness routine, you may be gaining benefits that you weren’t even aware of.
Breaking Through Plateaus
If you're consistent with your workouts but stopped seeing results, you may have hit a workout plateau. There is nothing more frustrating than working extremely hard at something, but not getting the results that you want. When we do the same activity regularly, our bodies get very efficient- making the exercise inefficient. With the same workout, you’ll still be burning calories, but fewer than you were. You’ll need to change it up a bit to maximize results. Generally, every six to eight weeks works best; however, you should not rely entirely on a calendar. Your body will give you signs, such as you’re not feeling sore, seeing any changes, you aren’t as hungry, or you are constantly feeling injured. When this happens, try changing your sets, reps, weight, speed, the type of exercise you're doing, increase your resistance, take a class with a new instructor… Whatever it may be!
There is a reason why body builders break up their workouts into individual muscle groups and marathon runners only run a few days a week. Muscles, joints, and ligaments need an opportunity to heal. By doing the same activity each day, you are putting your body through the same motion repeatedly. This doesn’t allow for proper recovery time before putting them into action, increasing your chances of being injured.
Have a Well-Rounded Physique
Have you ever noticed how you can identify a professional athlete by the way their bodies look, such as a cyclist by their long, lean leg muscles? This is because they focus specifically on one sport and what is going to help them preform that sport to the best ability. But for recreational exercisers, its best to do a little bit of everything. This way you’ll be building a strong heart and muscles. You’ll look great and physically able to take on different sports and activities.
Get Excited About Exercising Again
If you’re already counting down the minutes left of your workout before it has even started, it is definitely time to change things up. The best way to stay committed to exercise is by enjoying what you are doing. It might take a little trial and error to find something that you enjoy again, but if you stick to it, you will. Finding a physical activity that you’re excited about is the secret to long term success. You need to enjoy the process, not just the results.
When it comes to exercising, there are two key factors: consistency and timing. You need to stick with a routine to see results, but not for too long where you are no longer challenging your muscles. Our bodies are smart and over time, adapt to the stress that we inflict on them.
Physiologically, a big part of exercise adherence is maintaining that enjoyment and drive. When you lose that, you’re going to lose the motivation to push through the last few sets. You want to shock your muscles and keep your body guessing.