Like anything else you do repetitively, exercise routines can become stale. They can also stop working overtime as your body gets more efficient at doing a routine and no longer needs to adapt and grow. The good news is there have never been more ways to get a good workout, and you don’t need to make major changes to revamp a workout. When your body adapts to a strength training routine, you can add supersets, compound movements, drop sets, negative reps, change the weight or add variety by using resistance bands or kettlebells to shake things up. The key is to know when it’s time to make a change to your routine.
Most fitness experts recommend changing your workout routine every four to six weeks, but this isn’t written in stone. In some cases, you may need to change your exercise routine more or less often since people adapt to a workout at different rates. Here are some signs it’s time to change your workout routine.
Your Workout No Longer Challenges You
A workout should be hard enough to challenge your muscles so they’ll continue to grow. When you no longer feel challenged by your current routine, it’s time to give your muscles a new training stimulus. As mentioned, you don’t have to make a complete overhaul. Put the dumbbells aside and use barbells or do sets using resistance bands to work your muscles in a different way. Do super slow weight training or add more compound movements that work more muscle groups to increase the stimulus you place on your body.
If your cardiovascular workout no longer makes you sweat, add some high-intensity intervals. One of the most effective is Tabata intervals, 20 seconds of high intensity followed by 10 seconds of recovery. You will see several Tabata inspired routines in my new CrossFire and To The Max workouts. Repeat this sequence as many times as you can for a challenging fat-burning, cardiovascular workout. Rest one minute, and do a few more Tabata intervals. If you work out at a higher intensity, you don’t need to work out as long to get a training effect and you’ll get more of an afterburn.
You Workout Bores You
Are you losing your motivation to work out? Do the same routine long enough, and you’ll eventually become bored. Boredom is one reason that people ditch their workout routine and head back to their easy chair. If you’re having motivation problems, try a new exercise DVD or new exercise class to break the monotony.
Cardio routines can become monotonous quickly, especially if you use the elliptical machine and treadmill. Adding intervals breaks the monotony, but you can also try a completely different form of cardio. Hop off the treadmill, and do bodyweight cardio where you move from one compound exercise to the next without resting or do a kettlebell routine to get your fat-burning furnaces firing again. Work out with a boot camp DVD or grab a jump rope and do jump rope intervals. Try a kickboxing or fast-paced step workout DVD for even more variety.
Sometimes you can lose your enthusiasm for working out because you’re overtraining. If you’re feeling fatigued and lack motivation, take a few days off. Sometimes that’s all it takes to rekindle your enthusiasm for working out.
You’re No Longer Seeing Results
This is another sign that it’s time to shake things up. When you do the same routine over and over, your body eventually adapts, as you would expect it too. When this happens, you stop seeing gains. Your weight loss may also plateau as your body burns fewer calories. If you still enjoy your current routine, don’t overhaul it completely. Add more intervals to your cardio workout, and change the speed of your strength-training reps. Super-slow strength training, negative and drop sets are good ways to restart muscle growth, but be prepared to be sore.
You’ve Changed Your Goals
Another time you’ll want to change your routine is when you change your fitness goals. If you’ve reached your desired weight through diet and cardio training and want to add more definition, change your routine to emphasis strength-training. Likewise, if you can’t seem to get those six-pack abs to show despite intense abdominal and core work, add more high-intensity cardio. Reevaluate your goals and what you’re trying to achieve periodically, and adjust your workout accordingly.
The Bottom Line?
Changing your exercising routine periodically will help you continue to get the results you want and reduce boredom. It’ll also ensure your workout is consistent with your fitness goals.