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Jump-Start Your Workout Program

Shocking the Body

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Tuesday: Go to the gym, run on the treadmill for 30 minutes, go home. Thursday: Go to the gym, run on the treadmill for 30 minutes, go home. Saturday: Go to the gym… well, you get the point. Hitting a rut in your workout routine is a common pitfall that can halt your fitness momentum and even tempt you to stop exercising.

Figuring out if you’ve hit the wall is simple. Ask yourself two questions. "Am I not seeing the same results as when I started my workout routine? Am I losing my motivation to go to the gym?" If ‘Yes’ is the answer to either question, it’s time to shock your body with a new or different routine. As the saying goes, "variety is the spice of life," and workouts are no exception.

Drastic changes are not necessary; in fact they’re discouraged. We’re talking about small changes that confuse your body a bit and return it to "fat-burning" and "muscle-building" mode. When your routine remains utterly monotonous, your body thinks it’s in maintenance mode, making body shape change hard to obtain. That’s why an element of shock is needed.

How do I do it?

It all depends on your current routine. Here are some suggestions:

Runners:
  • Decrease/increase length of time
  • Decrease/increase intensity
  • (Outside) Change your route, even if it’s the same distance
  • Add some hills
Strength workouts:
  • Shift the focus of your workout each time. (Upper body one day, lower body the next, core the next)
  • Add some cardio
  • Shorten your total workout time and go at a quicker pace. (Or lower your pace and add more exercises)
  • Simply do different exercises, even if it hits the same muscles
Other ideas:
  • If you take classes (yoga, Pilates, etc.) try adding a day of swimming or spinning
  • Cardio: Do sprints one day, endurance the next
  • Whatever your workout, do it with a buddy/group; or if you take classes, do a solo workout
These may not seem drastic enough to produce noticeable results, but your body responds to even the slightest bit of change if it’s used to the same routine, day after day. If you feel sore or achy the next day, consider it a sign that your body is responding positively. Remember, every once in awhile, the body needs a little shock.
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About The Author

Holly Little Holly Little
A former Division I basketball player, Holly is a certified in Spinning and personal training.

Member Comments

  • I ALWAYS DO DIFFERENT - 1/7/2014 11:26:04 AM
  • I always mix up my exercise every other day to keep me motivate. - 6/19/2013 8:02:52 AM
  • Thanks for sharing. - 5/31/2013 6:51:19 AM
  • I totally agree. I went from walking in place with a walking dvd to outside walking and boy did it make a big difference. Today I am going to mix it up again and do only 30 minutes outside and 30 minutes inside. - 5/8/2013 5:23:23 AM
  • JMCGEESTER
    My sister and I work out together 3 days a week at her home and we do something different every day. She has a pool so that includes swimming laps. At home I do weights and biking. We never get bored. I've lost 48 and have only 12 to go. We like Tae Bo and Kettlebells, but we also lift weights and use resistance bands.Our goal is better cardio health so we really try to get moving. It seems to be working. - 9/18/2012 8:48:10 AM
  • This was a great article...think outside of the box when I get bored or on the verge of quiting my workout! So now Im considering the powerfit class at my gym! - 3/22/2012 1:04:35 AM
  • I think I got so bored of the same things that am not just shaking up my workouts but did change the gym I used to go to as well...lol...I don't know if I'll regret it later but I think I need change... - 10/26/2011 9:29:27 PM
  • What really got me back on track with my workouts was discovering a fantastic pre-workout supplement called moomiyo (also spelled mumijo, mumiyo, momia, mumie, and in India it's known as shilajit). It's available from a lot of different reputable sources, and you can do a web search or check out the Wikipedia article on shilajit for more about it.

    As for my personal experience, I *instantly* increased my weight training by about 50% (25% more weight, 25% more reps) and my cardio by 100% (went from 3x10 minutes workouts w/5 minutes recovery between to a full hour with just one 5-minute break). I can actually get through a full 1-hour cardio kickboxing class with everyone else.

    Did I mention I weigh close to 400 lbs.?

    And when the workout's over, I'm not exhausted and sore, and the BEST part is...no soreness the next day. I can do full workouts every day.

    Needless to say, I now seriously look forward to the gym. It's no longer a chore, but a joy. I've gotten addicted, in the best possible way. - 10/26/2011 6:32:16 PM
  • Along with the regular classes, Group Power, Zumba, treadmill or walking and either free-weights or machines, I take one really cool class. We call it "Extreme Cardio". It's one hour of pure sweat induced fun. Sometimes playground games, sometimes relays, sometimes circuit and then add in a 20+ minute core workout.

    The instructors focus on "Muscle Confusion" which tricks the body into using and building muscles using different methods. - 10/26/2011 1:43:54 PM
  • KATHIE_B
    Our gym is tiny but the class offerings are pretty good. I can hit step aerobics on Monday & Friday, Pilates on Tuesday, Yoga on Wednesday, Zumba on Thursday and Nia on Saturday. I work some days but usually hit 4-5 and I don't get bored. And of course I walk. - 10/26/2011 6:57:53 AM
  • I switched up my strength today and tried a group power class. We use the bar bell and body weight but I can't figure out how to track it. - 1/20/2011 9:50:09 PM
  • Explains alot ! - 10/26/2010 11:57:51 PM
  • This is good advice! I fell into this accidentally when I started P90X, and then I learned what a real high-intensity workout is and what it means to be striving for better at each workout. I took about a month off and did just some maintenance exercise, basically tried to go it on my own, but then decided to start another three-month program that is every bit as intense, but less time consuming. Once I get a couple of these programs under my belt, I think I'll have a much better idea of how to really exert myself and have a repertoire of ideas for changing it up. Just trying to increase my speed or distance on the treadmill doesn't cut it for me anymore. - 10/26/2010 7:57:08 PM
  • When I feel the need to mix it up, I turn on a yoga DVD. - 10/26/2010 2:44:47 PM
  • BCLEMENT
    The problem is that once you achieve a certain level of cardio fitness/flexibili
    ty/strength/e
    tc., you get to a point of diminishing returns on a workout, no matter how many changes you make. You're just not going to get the same "return" on a workout because there's only so far you can go. Trainers seem to think that they can entice you with additional "returns" when your body can only get so fit. Maybe if you want to kick it up to Iron Man competition or Tour de France level of fitness...... - 10/26/2010 9:31:43 AM
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