According to the Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine and Science it takes the body anywhere from 1-6 weeks before it adapts to a fitness routine. That means that you must constantly add new stimulus to your workout. Anyone can get stuck in a rut, dutifully finishing your 20 minutes of strength training and 45 minutes of cardio, but with such static activity you’re actually just performing maintenance rather than truly challenging yourself.
1. Vary Your Exercise Moves
Doing the same exercise over and over can not only get boring, but clearly lacks efficiency. Try different exercises; if you’ve been doing squats, instead try ski jumps or vary the type of squat. One great way of discovering new exercises is utilizing all the fitness apps available to the average SmartPhone user. Or, if you dont have a SmartPhone, you can always Google different fitness exercises according to body part.
2. Increase Intensity
The point of a workout is to challenge and strengthen the body. If you find that you’ve been running for 45 minutes at 5.1 mph and your body is now comfortable with that, then up the ante and try running at 5.4 mph, gradually increasing according to your comfort level. The same goes with strength training, if you’re lifting 10 lb. dumbbells, try to do a few sets with 12 lb. dumbbells. But, always remain aware of your body and dont push yourself to the point of injury.
3. Resting Between Sets
Typically, most trainers will give you anywhere from 20 seconds- 1 minute to rest between sets depending on intensity and your own personal fitness level. One way, however, of challenging the body is varying how long your rest between sets which confuses the muscles and forces them to adapt and condition. Or, if you’re really about this fitness life, go for a superset in which your perform two exercises back to back for opposing muscle groups. For example, 3 sets of 12 reps for your biceps and then another 3 sets of 12 reps for your triceps one after the other. But again, remain aware of your limits while challenging yourself so that you dont completely take yourself out the game.
Zoy Britton is PYNK Mag’s Web Editor. You can follow her @ZoyMB.