We all have that workout that works really well for us, that we love, that we’re used to, that we just don’t want to let go of! But according to trainers, bodybuilders and health enthusiasts, we all agree that changing up your routine is key to advancing. Why? Because you want your body to change, according to Shape Magazine‘s Jay Cardiello. “The human body adapts quickly to exercise stimuli, and once it adapts it needs change.”
But what happens if you love it and your routine works for you? I see examples of this all the time, in the gym and at home or self work outs. You love that instructor at the gym, but the exercises target the same area and even though exercises may change, your body adapts and you stop seeing the results you did when you first began. Or it can happen outside of the gym.
At home, you have a limited space. You probably have a designated area and weights, perhaps you have only a certain amount of time you can workout per day.
If you workout outside, let’s say, running your route through the park, with your stretching routine, or strength training routine that works – you don’t necessarily want to stop. But your body may have hit a plateau.
How do you keep your trusted workout, keep the consistency, but challenge yourself so that you keep seeing results?
Here are some tips:
- Dig deeper: Even if you’re in a class, you can “dig deeper” by sitting down into your squats more, think about putting more power into your moves. If you are lunging back, feel the difference if you push off from your heels or off your toes? What gives your body more balance, more power? are lifting up using your core as well as sinking into your legs.
- Think about what you’re working: If you’re running, think about the power in your legs, in your arms. Be conscious of that. Feel that you’re equal on left and right. Feeling the power and thinking about the body part you’re working can help you focus as well as strengthen and target the areas you are working, so that you are working consciously, with purpose and power. If you are working abs, think about your abs. Feel your abs. Put your mind’s focus on that area.
- Find that balance between challenge and safety: Learn how to feel your body working more, but still maintain your safety. Push yourself a little more than you did in an exercise that you’re used to but keep vigilent. Digging deeper can give you a more valuable workout when it comes to caloric expenditure and muscle gain, but remember, safety first. Check your form, see that you are protecting knee joints and that you don’t feel any pain.
- Add something: If you’re going to a class at the gym that works for you, then maybe get on the treadmill or do a weight training circuit before or after class. This will add more time and resistance; surprising your muscles with something they aren’t used to. If you don’t have time for that, maybe change the spot where you usually workout and go somewhere else. This may give you a different perspective.
- Add a partner: Taking a partner along with you can boost your workout. Often having someone there beside you working out can increase the power or focus of your exercise. It may help you to push harder, whereas if you were alone you may be easier on yourself. Your partner may introduce different ways of approaching your workout and make it more fun!
Whatever you do, whether you change up your workout or keep it the same and decide to make smaller changes, the most important thing is consistency. And be proud of yourself. You are working out. You are taking time for yourself, investing in making yourself stronger, more healthy and giving back to your family and everyone around you as a result.
Keep up the good work!