For most of us, we get into a routine with our workouts where we become hyper-focused on one training or weight loss plan, then stick to it at all costs. If we are training for a marathon, it’s easy to log mile after mile, and forget how important strength training is both for our endurance, as well as injury prevention. We might cut carbs out and see that scale start to drop, but eventually we plateau, and all of a sudden we are tired and can’t lose any more weight. There are key benefits to changing up your workout routine, and the best way to do that is to introduce as much diversity into your training as possible while still focusing on your end goals.
Like Food, Changing Your Workouts Shocks your Body
In 2015, I began racing OCR - obstacle course racing. I transitioned from traditional road races because I was looking for something that was a little different and would give my brain something else to think about while I was exercising. I did a lot of research on the sport to find out what kinds of things were important and new ways to train. I thought that my background in endurance racing would be an easy transition to a sport that looked like it would require a lot of running. I learned early on that I needed to change my workouts if I wanted to get better.
I’m lucky to say that because my wife and I run Sweat Local Columbus, we have access to many of the great gyms around Columbus, and I was able to try different workouts to help with my training. I tried Crossfit classes, Orange Theory, dipped my toes into the Yoga world, and took a few spin classes to try to build my endurance in a different way. I struggled in most of those classes, but what I found was that my OCR races were getting better and better. I learned that there were serious benefits to changing up your workouts, and noticed my body was changing too.
How Often Should you Change your Workouts?
It’s tricky, because changing your workout routine too quickly is actually a bad thing. You might begin to lose weight or build muscle doing a certain thing, then lose your gains when you move on to something else too soon. The key is to listen to your body. If you feel great after a workout and you like what you see in the mirror, KEEP GOING! If you notice that you aren’t seeing the changes you’d like, here are a few reasons you might be stalling and how to change things up.
You get bored easily
This happened to me when I did Crossfit. I was all-in for a month or two and noticed that I was getting stronger. But I missed being outside and putting my headphones in and zoning out during a long run. If you find yourself getting bored with a certain workout, chances are you won’t put all your energy into it. That is when it’s time to move on, if only for a little while. You can always come back!
Your goals change
For me, my diet and training plan revolved around running until I decided I wanted to try something new. When your goals change, take a day or two to look at what you might need to adjust with your diet or training to fit your new goals. A smart plan is always going to work in your favor!
You aren’t making progress
Sometimes, your body just decides it wants to plateau for whatever reason. You might not be able to lift heavier weight, or change that middle number on the scale. When this happens, the best thing to do is break from your routine workout and try something new for a few weeks. You can then come back and see if you can break through that wall!
You get injured
Injuries are a part of training. What you have to remember is that when you hurt a shoulder from doing Crossfit (like I did) you shouldn’t just use less weight and try to push through. Use this time to try yoga, stretch, or when the injury if bad enough, look hard at your diet and see if you can clean that up so when you are ready to get back to the gym, you are lean and ready to go.
You might not be training for anything and just looking to lose weight, get swimsuit ready, or maybe just feel good about yourself from working out. Whatever your reason, the benefits of changing up your workouts is clear and you should welcome the change. Workouts are supposed to be hard, but they’re also supposed to be fun! Change things up and see if you might enjoy something different.
About the Author:
Co-Founder of Sweat Local Columbus.