Jump-Start Your Workout Program

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:

  • 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.