Plateaus are discouraging, but they provide valuable information. If you’ve been doing the same exercise routine forever, it’s time to change it up and try something new. The body is amazing. It adapts to the heavy work load we put on it and learns to be more efficient, using fewer calories and less effort to do the tasks we ask of it repeatedly. That’s why doing the same routine, without ramping it up or making changes, won’t get the same results after a while.
If you’re doing the same routine each day, consider making a change every six to eight weeks.
One reason the gyms that just put you on the trail of machines often don’t get the same results is that it’s the same workout day after day. You go from the leg machine to the arm machine, etc. Anyone that hasn’t worked out before will see dramatic changes initially. That’s the body adapting the muscles and hormones to learn the new exercise pattern. This takes about six weeks and then you’ll see amazing changes. However, between six to eight weeks, the body has made an adaptation to that style of training and the changes don’t continue. That’s when it’s time to look to something new.
Vary your routine for overall fitness.
If you’re only doing strength exercises, you aren’t doing your body a favor. The same is true for isolated cardio workouts and flexibility training. You need all types of exercises to have a healthy body. Strength training without flexibility training is the recipe for injury. For overall functional fitness, make sure you exercise all muscle groups and in all potential ways. Varying your routine also allows the muscles to rest between workouts, while other muscle groups get their fair share of exercise.
Take the boredom out of the routine and have fun again.
Yup, when you’re doing the same old thing, it start to look like a day at work. Learning something new forces you to focus on the task, rather than doing it by rote and is also a lot of fun. Whether you’re switching from a regular cardio to kickboxing (so much fun!) or calming down your inner being while improving your range of motion with yoga, you’ll start to enjoy and look forward to the workout.
Working out with a group at a boot camp adds socialization to the mix. You’ll make a lot of new friends and that makes it easier to face the grunt and grind of a good session.
Staying active is the most important part of the process, but so is making sure you give muscle groups a rest. That’s one reason people who just focus on a specific exercise often have injuries.
You’ll see weight drop off rapidly when you’re varying your workout. That’s because the body doesn’t have time to become efficient and burns more calories trying.
You’ll be giving your brain a workout, too, when you switch up your workout. Learning new movements starts to get the neurons firing and builds more connections.