One of the best things about the human body is its adaptability. Think about it. Once you master a task, that task requires a lot less energy and concentration. Great for everyday tasks like walking or driving but for exercise, not so much.
The first time you ran a mile or covered a lap in the pool it was probably pretty challenging. After a few more times your body realized – I’ve got this! As you adapted to the level of exertion, you burned fewer calories. Hello, plateau! In the beginning, you may have been losing pounds and inches at a steady pace, but as your body adapted your progress slowed. Get your progress back in gear by changing things up. Here’s how.
Think of new ways to challenge each muscle group. If you lift heavy weights with fewer reps one week, try lifting lighter weights with more reps the next week. For cardio regularly mix up burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, jump rope, running or whatever gets your heart rate going. Ideally, you will want to change your routine every two to four weeks. If you run outside, head for a route with a steep hill, increase distance or speed for an ongoing challenge.
Alternate periods of high and low intensity to keep your workout interesting and boost results. HIIT helps you burn more calories and fat. You can also shorten rest times. Reduced rest periods help you up the level of intensity and blow past that plateau.
Changing up your workout is helpful for other reasons. Variety helps you:
• Banish boredom – the same thing, the same way every day will eventually equal burnout or boredom. Keep exercise interesting with new challenges that pique your interest and keep your muscles guessing.
• Avoid injury – overuse injuries happen with repetitive movement of the same muscles.
• Build more stamina – again the body quickly adjusts so even though you may be able to run a mile you may have a tough time biking a mile. Mixing it up helps you build the endurance to do more. You may even be able to cross that sprint triathlon off your bucket list.
Change up your workout to stay on track. The benefits of variety include reduced likelihood of injury, better stamina, more muscle development and greater weight loss. What’s more, when exercise is fun and you feel engaged, you’re more likely to stick with it.