There is nothing worse than going to the gym and dredding the workout you're about to experience. I'm not saying that you have to be like a kid in a candy store when it comes to your workouts, but at least have some sense of optimism going into your workout. Each individual will vary, but typically, the human body will adapt to a given exercise program within 6-12 weeks. Before I sound too critical, I want to commend anyone who exercises. You are the minority in this country. However, as you and I both know, most people do the same workout for months on end and continue to look and feel the same. As I eluded to earlier, this is due to the adaptive response our bodies have when a certain stimulus is placed upon it. Our bodies tend to gravitate towards homeostasis, a stable, constant condition of properties and unless a different stimulus is placed upon the body, it will continue to do it's usual thing. So just how does one go about placing a new stress on the body? The simplest answer is to do something different, but more specifically, here are 5 ways you can change up your current exercise program.
1.) Reverse the order of your exercises: Start with the exercise you normally finish with and continue down the line of exercises in reverse order. This simple trick will have a noticeable effect on the quality of the workout.
2.) Decrease the amount of time it takes to complete your workout: Instead of taking 60 seconds rest in between sets, reduce it to 30 seconds. You will still do the same amount of work with this tip, but your body's energy systems will be working in overdrive to keep up with the increased intensity of the workout. Additionally, you will have more time to play with outside of the gym. It's a win-win scenario.
3.) Change up the weights that you're using: If you're typically doing exercises in the 6-10 rep range, it is time to lighten the load and increase the reps. 15-20 would be a nice shocker here and really make your muscles fill up with blood. Conversely, if you're sick of
counting reps, increse the load and drop your reps down to 5-7.
Of course maintaining good form.
5.) Incorporate new exercises altogether: There is nothing that will give an immediate response better than doing a new exercise. With new exercises, please exercise caution in performing them correctly. A new exercise is not beneficial if you get injured while doing it. For this reason, I strongly urge you to do the proper research on exercise technique and even consider filming yourself while performing the exercise. This way you can go back and critique your form in comparison to someone who is a trained professional. Naturally, the best way to learn a new exercise is to have a trained professional guide you through the appropriate steps and monitor your progression with the new exercise. This way, your risk of injury will be low, and you'll teach your body the proper way to perform the movement and ultimately see better results from the exercise.
4.) Incorporate interval training: If you typically jog at a steady pace for 30 minutes, 3x/wk, try changing up the pace throughout the cardio session. I do not advise going into an all out sprint from the very get-go but maybe hit 5 minutes of a nice paced jog and then back it off to a brisk walk for 60 seconds. The next 60 seconds crank up your pace to 20% faster than your comfortable pace jog. (If you normally run at 7.0, you would need to increase the speed to 8.4). Play around with how long you stay in the fast interval (60s,90s,120s) but keep the slow interval (brisk walk, 3.5-4.0) to only one minute. Alternate back and forth between the two and you'll feel the difference at the end of the 30 minutes!
About the Author
Gym Owner and Personal Trainer, Keith Diedrich has a B.A. in Exercise Science and has been professionally involved in health and fitness in various capacities since 2005.
"My initial thought about Keith was that he seemed very casual and not as frenetic as other professionals. I quickly learned that he was gauging my stamina, movements, and technique. He wasn't after a fast burnout, but he wanted to exhaust every muscle every time. He said we were working on a "mind to body connection." With this connection I'd be able to gauge whether a set was 15 reps or 20 reps regardless of the initial "goal of 15!" I believe much of my gains came from Keith always seeing my potential even when I couldn't." ~ Saul "Mr. Biceps"