Jump-Start Your Workout ProgramShocking the Body
-- By Holly Little, Certified Personal Trainer
Tuesday: Go to the gym, run on the treadmill for 30 minutes, go home. Thursday: Go to the gym, run on the treadmill for 30 minutes, go home. Saturday: Go to the gym… well, you get the point. Hitting a rut in your workout routine is a common pitfall that can halt your fitness momentum and even tempt you to stop exercising.
Figuring out if you’ve hit the wall is simple. Ask yourself two questions. "Am I not seeing the same results as when I started my workout routine? Am I losing my motivation to go to the gym?" If ‘Yes’ is the answer to either question, it’s time to shock your body with a new or different routine. As the saying goes, "variety is the spice of life," and workouts are no exception.
Drastic changes are not necessary; in fact they’re discouraged. We’re talking about small changes that confuse your body a bit and return it to "fat-burning" and "muscle-building" mode. When your routine remains utterly monotonous, your body thinks it’s in maintenance mode, making body shape change hard to obtain. That’s why an element of shock is needed.
How do I do it?
It all depends on your current routine. Here are some suggestions:
- Decrease/increase length of time
- Decrease/increase intensity
- (Outside) Change your route, even if it’s the same distance
- Add some hills
- Shift the focus of your workout each time. (Upper body one day, lower body the next, core the next)
- Add some cardio
- Shorten your total workout time and go at a quicker pace. (Or lower your pace and add more exercises)
- Simply do different exercises, even if it hits the same muscles
- If you take classes (yoga, Pilates, etc.) try adding a day of swimming or spinning
- Cardio: Do sprints one day, endurance the next
- Whatever your workout, do it with a buddy/group; or if you take classes, do a solo workout