Are you exercising regularly but not seeing changes in your physique anymore? Take a closer look at your fitness routine. Are you still doing the same workout at the same intensity you were six months ago? That’s part of the problem. It’s easy to settle into a routine of doing the same workout every time you work out. After all, you know the routine, and it feels comfortable – maybe too comfortable. To continue to see changes you have to push yourself out of your exercise comfort zone. This won’t necessarily happen every single time you work out, but you should challenge yourself with most of your workouts to keep improving.
Make Changes, See Results
When you first start a routine, it’s a shock to your body, and it has to adapt by growing and changing. But keep doing the same exercises at the same intensity over and over, and you’ll stop gaining strength and losing body fat. After all, your body has already adapted to your routine and doesn’t have to use as much energy to do it. You’ve settled into the “comfort zone” where you’re going through the motions but are no longer challenged. Chances are you’re a little bored too. Successful exercise routines are based on progression – progression to higher intensities and more resistance. Sometimes you have to completely change your routine and try something new to get out of your comfort zone and reignite your enthusiasm for working out.
How to Get Out of Your Exercise Comfort Zone
One day a week, break out of your regular routine by using a new exercise DVD to challenge yourself in a new way. Load up a high-intensity interval, kickboxing, boot camp or step-aerobic DVDs to break out of the monotony and work your body in a different way.
Do you normally do moderate-intensity cardio on a treadmill, elliptical or exercise bike? Add high-intensity intervals that force you to work harder. Do Tabata intervals where you work hard for 20 seconds, recover for 10. Repeat for eight rounds. Rest for a minute and do the cycle a few more times. Tabata intervals are optimal for burning fat and improving fitness levels, and you can do them using any piece of equipment or by doing bodyweight exercises or plyometric moves.
You should be progressively increasing the resistance when you strength train to continue to gain strength. Other ways to add more challenge is to do supersets, more compound movements or include more bodyweight exercises that work multiple muscle groups like push-ups or pull-ups. If you’re using dumbbells or barbells, try resistance bands instead. Other changes you can make are to alter the number of sets or reps, change the tempo or change how long you rest between sets. If you’re trying to build strength, you should be lifting to the point that your muscles are fatigued and increasing the weight once they adapt.
Redefine your goals and keep a written record of your progress. This will boost your motivation and keep you on track so your workout won’t become too routine.
The Bottom Line?
If you’re not seeing changes, make sure you haven’t entered the exercise comfort zone. If you have, it’s time to break out of your routine and redefine your goals. Your brain thrives on the challenge – and so does your body.
Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition and Human Performance. Fifth Edition. 2001.