It can be so easy to fall into the same routine, not just in your workouts but in every aspect of life. When you fall into the same routines with your workout you may find that you hit a weight-loss plateau that is common amongst many people. But what is the reason for this? Let us look at the importance of mixing up your workouts!
There are many important reasons behind mixing up your workouts, with the primary reason to help get you through that weight-loss plateau. Your body and muscles become accustomed to repetitive actions. Your muscles have a handy tool built into them called muscle retention; this is great for powering you through workouts, but at a certain point, the muscles become too used to the exercise you are doing and are no longer challenged – therefore you will stop seeing results. Challenging your body and muscles with new exercises requires them to work harder to adapt to the stress they are put under, resulting in a higher calorie burn.
A downfall of doing the same exercises over and over is the increased likelihood of injury. Overuse of muscles without proper rest can cause persistent injuries. By changing your routines and keeping your workouts diversified, you decrease the risk of injury. This also helps you develop new muscles in other areas that perhaps were previously overlooked. When you do this, you will find that you allow your whole body to achieve a toned and sculpted look as opposed to being built up in just one area. Pushing yourself to try new exercises and calling on different muscle groups also requires higher endurance levels, so you will be helping your heart out with varying workouts.
It can actually get very boring doing the same workout over and over! Many people find they are less likely to continue with exercise due to boredom, but this is usually a result of not switching it up. To keep yourself motivated, try out a new class and speak to your coach (if you have one) or seek out new exercise routines that you can try. You can always find an abundance of 30-day challenges that focus on various areas, for example, some of the popular challenges include squats, planks or push-ups.
Did you know that changing your workouts and including new exercises can actually help with reducing memory loss? For those that exercise regularly and incorporate new things into their routine that requires focus to complete (i.e. no mindless running on the treadmill), your brain will also be challenged. Research has actually shown that doing this can have major benefits on your body including a lower risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and stroke.
So how can you actually go about ensuring that your workouts are varied enough? Check out these tips!
- Increase your intensity! If you are performing strength workouts, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 3 sets of 8-12 reps. Once this becomes too easy and you are able to perform this without any strain or challenge, it is time to increase your weight.
- Group workouts are such a fun way to get involved with exercise but can also offer something new. Look for something that really piques your interest and sign yourself up. There are many benefits of attending group workouts that go beyond just the physical; in fact, your mental and emotional states are much more improved when you join in on a group workout.
- Take your time! You sometimes feel the need to rush through your workouts or try to lift as quickly as possible – but fast does not equate to higher fitness levels. To really challenge your muscle, you need to guide your movements and you cannot do this when working at lightning speed. Slow down and focus on each and every movement you make.
- Find that balance! Some love cardio, some love strength, but you have to find the balance between the two which builds and sculpts your body while losing weight. So, for those cardio lovers, add in a couple of days of strength-focused workouts; similarly, those who love lifting should participate in some form of cardio a few times a week. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests you should plan your workouts with a 60% focus on cardio, 30% strength and 10% flexibility.
While it is incredibly important to ensure you mix up your workouts, you need to always make sure you are consistent with your diet. You can work out as much as you like, but until you get your diet under control you will never see the changes you want! This is because your diet contributes 80% to your overall fitness.
Once you have your diet under control and combine varied exercises, you will start seeing major results in both weight loss and toning throughout your body. One important thing to remember is that while it can be so rewarding to see the numbers on the scale go down, these numbers can actually lie! There will come a point, with adequate exercise and nutrition, that you begin to develop muscle and therefore will see the numbers begin to rise on the scale. Fear not, as muscle mass does not look the same on the body as does fat; instead, it helps give you a beautiful physique. Rather than becoming obsessed with the numbers on the scale, use your mirror to help track your results and progress. For those that are overweight, your initial focus will be to just lose the weight and you are probably going to be a bit more glued to your scale, but once you have hit your goal weight, ditch the obsessive tracking. The mirror tells a much better story than the scale!
Now that you have a better understanding of why mixing up your workouts is so important, you can start making changes that will help you see lasting impacts.