A question that I am often asked by frustrated fitness enthusiasts is “Why have my results stopped? I am doing the same routine as before – what happened?”
This is a common place to end up, usually a few months after starting a new exercise routine. At first your body responds to your routine in lost pounds and gained muscle tone, then one day your results screech to a stop.
What happened? And, more importantly, what can you do about it?
You may have heard the saying, “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best idea is to get off.” This is the perfect analogy for your stale workout routine.
Your body has adapted to your routine. Let’s face it, when you can do your workout routine in your sleep it’s time for something new.
It’s time to shake things up, and to apply the concept of muscle confusion.
Muscle confusion means that you keep your body guessing by changing your routine. The following are great ways to do just that:
- Exercises: When you know that your routine has lost its effectiveness the first obvious thing to change are the actual exercises. It is important to include every major muscle group in your routine, so be sure to exchange each exercise for one that works the same muscle group.
- Resistance: Do you find yourself always reaching for the same dumbbells or placing the pin in the same notch of the weight stack? Change your weight as well as the number of repetitions performed. If you normally do 12-15 repetitions then increase the weight and do 6-8. The key is to challenge your muscles in a new way.
- Equipment: There are so many different pieces of exercise equipment out there—don’t limit your routine to just one type. If you love working with dumbbells but your routine has fallen flat, put them aside and try something new. A little creativity can really jump start your progress.
- Style: So often the training style that we are first taught sticks with us forever. For you this may be the style of doing one set, taking a rest period, and then doing another set. Or maybe you have caught on to the circuit training style that keeps your heart rate elevated throughout the routine. Whatever your chosen style, be sure to change it once your routine ceases to produce results.
Now, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you need a brand new workout every day of the week. In fact, your body will take some time to adjust to each new workout, so it should be done for the appropriate amount of time before results start to slack off.
What is that ‘sweet spot’ of time that each new routine should be used before moving on to the next? Well, the answer to that question is as unique as each person reading this.
For some this will mean a new routine every 3 weeks, and for others it will mean a new routine every 8 weeks. Typically the fitter you are the quicker your body will adapt to each new routine.
Muscle confusion plays a big part of the programs that I provide for my clients and it’s one of the little secrets I use to deliver fast results