Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Change It Up Tuesdays: Workouts

We all want to make exercise a regular part of our lives.  And you’re probably be doing a really great job!  If you’re anything like me, you’ve got your routine down pat: Mondays: weights at the gym, Tuesdays: a run, Wednesdays: weights, Thursdays: a run …. You get the message.  I am the queen of routine, and I find a certain comfort in not having to think about what exercise I’m going to be doing on Thursday.  It’s one less thing to worry about, right?

The problem with routine is that both our mind and our body will get used to it.  Our bodies are super smart, and within a few weeks of doing the same thing, our bodies get really good at it, which makes it less effective in challenging your muscles and you stop improving as much.  And even for me, sometimes doing the same thing just gets really boring.  And if you’re head isn’t willing, it can be pretty easy to find yourself watching Gilmore Girls after work instead of going to the gym (just me??).  So how can you change things up in your workouts before things get too stale?

Changing up your … Runs



Most of tend to have a preferred approach to our runs.  We either like them short and fast, or long and slow.  I’m definitely in the long and slow category.  To keep improving though, we need to do a bit of both.

It can be really beneficial to do a variety of types of runs in our normal weekly routine to help us with both our speed and our endurance.  Daisy had a great summary recently of different types of run sessions you can do.  You can also hit the trails or beach tracks for a change of scenery.  By mixing it up, it also just gives you something different to look forward to, and a different way to measure improvement.

Over summer, it might be hard to keep increasing the distance of your long runs because it is just too damn hot.  But you can focus on doing some shorter, faster intervals or fartlek sessions to avoid being out in the heat for as long, and you just might find that come autumn, your long run is faster than it used to be, just in time for marathon season.  Win, win!

Changing up your … Gym Workout



Most people have at some point realised that for the past 6 months they have been doing the same ten or so exercises for 3 sets of 8 – 10 reps.  They wonder why they don’t seem to be getting any stronger.  Basically, they’ve trained their muscles to do those ten exercises really well, but it is no longer a challenge to their body.  Your muscles get stronger by the minute tearing and healing process, which involves making your muscles do things they can’t do.

Pushing yourself to lift heavier gets you some of the way, but everyone has a limit.  Instead, think about finding new workout routine that involves exercises that uses different muscles, or uses your muscles in a different way.  There are SO MANY workout routines and exercises online.  I say just pick something that sounds good to you, and give it a go.

Make sure you know how to do the exercise correctly so you don’t get injured.  But otherwise go for it!  If you feel the burn, especially the day after, you know it will mean that it has worked your muscles in a new way. Every few weeks find a new set of exercises to try, to keep your muscles guessing, and to keep seeing those results you want.

Changing up your … Type of Workout



So I like running.  And I like doing weights.  I also have fitness goals related to both of these activities, so it makes sense to keep doing them.  Right?  Well, mostly.

Of course, you need to run if you want to improve your running.  But many other activities build up aspects of your fitness that assist your running.  By switching your running for a different workout, like cycling, elliptical trainer, or a spin class, you give your running muscles a little break, which helps prevent injury, but also probably means that you are a little more excited about your next run.  Admit it!

Similarly, I find now and then that a good fitness class can be a great substitute for a weights session.  Most gyms offer a range of fitness classes.  My gym has things like pump, cardio boxing, step, boot camp and true grit.  I especially like pump to replace weights.  Being in a class means I don’t have to think up the routine – someone else tells me what to do, but having the others around also makes me push myself a little harder than I might by myself.  Doing those extra few barbell lunges can burn so bad, but be so good the next day.

Boot camp classes also add a little high intensity to your workout, which always gets your heart racing, so you get the benefit of both strength and cardio workouts.  Score!

Changing up your … Solitary Confinement


(Source)
When it comes to working out, I’m a loner (actually, I’m a bit of a loner generally, but that’s another story).  Fitting in your workouts often means going it alone, because you just have to find time when you can.  But even for a Scott (no friends) like me, sometimes having other people around just makes my workout a little more interesting and productive.  For someone more social than I, it might even be the difference between working out or not.

So whether you make a date with an exercise buddy to go for a hit of tennis at a park (and catch up on the latest gossip), you join a local running group or boot camp, or you just hit up a fitness class, you will surely get more out of your workout as a result.  Not letting someone else down might give you that extra motivation to just show up (you’ll never regret a workout!), or being with a group might spark your ego enough to make you push out a few extra pushups.  Either way, you win.


How do you get out of a workout rut??

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