Here’s an interesting gym paradox for both tried-and-true fitness fanatics and gym newbies alike: routine is the enemy, but it’s not always the enemy. To the extent that you need to consistently show up and do work, you bet a workout routine is necessary–and helpful. But what about what you do when you show up? If your gym session looks the exact same day-to-day, consider it a red flag. Read on to learn why doing the same thing at the gym every day is less than ideal–and how to effectively and smartly change up your routine.
3 Reasons Why Carbon-Copy Workout Routine Aren’t Cool:
Let’s face it, we’re all creatures of habit. And while that can be helpful in some ways for our fitness goals, our tendency to fall into the same old pattern at the gym can come back to bite us in the tush. Here are a few reasons why doing the same workout routine every day at the gym isn’t the wisest nor best use of your time…
1) Give it a Rest
On a cellular and physiological level, the main benefits from your workout (endurance building, fat loss, and muscle growth) happen during the recovery period, not during the training session itself. This is why getting adequate sleep, hydration, nutrition, and rest (e.g., periods of time without intense physical activity) is so critical for achieving your fitness goals. If you always do the same movements and work the same muscles, you’re not giving your body adequate time to rest and rebuild–which can slow your progress and put you at risk for a sidelining injury.
You May Also Like: 4 Ways to Keep Your Mind Busy During a Boring Run
2) Your Body is Bored
Doing the same thing over and over may eventually lead to a plateau in your progress. This is because your muscles and nervous system need at least some variety in stimulus to continually be challenged and get stronger and more efficient. In other words, too much of the same thing can raise the threshold (make it harder) for eliciting meaningful change in fat loss, muscle building, and overall health.
3) YOU are Bored
Want to raise your risk of quitting something? Make whatever it is super boring. Unfortunately, this is what happens to a lot of well-meaning gym newbies. They fall into this trap of doing the same things over and over at the gym–cycling through the same handful of machines, movements, or classes that they’re comfortable with or that they’ve “just always done”–and soon enough they find themselves bored and unmotivated. When this happens, workouts tend to peter out or stop altogether.
3 Ways To Effectively Switch It Up At The Gym
1) Choose a New Focus
If you focused on upper body the last time you were at the gym, do something that challenges your lower body or core the next time. Was your last session all cardio? Switch it up and go for some strength training on your next session.
2) Choose a New Workout Style
If your default cardio routine looks like 20 minutes on the elliptical, try adding in some intervals instead. I like Tabata intervals, which you can do with virtually any type of cardio movement (elliptical, running, burpees, jumping rope, etc.). To do a Tabata, simply work super hard and fast for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this 8 times for 4 minutes total of a brutal sprint-style challenge. Equally, commit to trying 1 or 2 new things this month, like yoga, spinning, or swimming. Even just one session can be the jolt your body needs to keep making progress.
3) Ask for Some Customized and Professional Guidance
It’s super easy to be overwhelmed by choices at the gym. Consider consulting with a GymIt personal trainer or other trusted fitness coach, either on a one-time or consistent basis. He or she can suggest a few specific new things to try based on your goals and current fitness level, including how many reps and sets of certain movements to do. This helps to ensure that your chosen variety is safe and effective for you.
Are you new to going to the gym? We’ve all been there. Download our newest eBook below for more helpful tips and you’ll be a pro in no time