The New Year is a long-distant memory but if like most people your workout regime is still the same the bad news is that your fitness will not simply plateau, it will probably regress. If that’s you then it’s time to spring clean your workout and give your body a much-needed boost.
Don’t worry if you’re someone who has committed as much time as they can to exercise already, here are the five things you can do to get more out of your established sessions and time available.
1. Change the order
If you’ve got a set circuit at the gym the chances are you’re doing everything in the same order so you’re not surprising your body. A simple change in the order of your exercises will alter the effects of the exercises.
You’ll have more energy at the beginning of your workout so you should find that you can manage a higher speed on the treadmill or a heavier weight on squats than normal if those are the activities you usually save until the end. Stick with the same intensity settings for CV exercises and the same weight and reps for the resistance work, but reverse the order in which you do them. You should now find them harder and more effective.
2. Change the tool
Making changes with the tool as opposed to the exercise takes no more time but will present you with new challenges because each piece of kit will work the muscles targeted in a different way.
Having made the change you may find that you become more interested in a particular item, and if you do then spend some time researching other ways to use it.
3. Change the exercise
There are multiple ways to work each muscle of the body, so each week see if you can trade one established exercise for another one which targets the same muscle or muscle group. For example, you can get great glutes with low lunges, deep squats, leg presses, back bridges, kettlebell swings, wall sits and more.
Do this and over time you’ll have an extensive personal library of exercise options meaning your workout need never be the same from one session to the next. Blend this with changing the tools regularly too and your workout will continue be challenging and varied.
4. Change the pace
We tend to keep to a similar speed and rhythm when we exercise but you can really diversify when you change your pace. If running on a treadmill no longer presents a challenge try a power walk at a high incline. If 3 sets of twelve regular-paced press ups are a breeze go at half the speed and just do 3 sets of 6. If your squats are slow and steady up the ante and make them fast and furious.
You can theme your workouts every now and then – fast, moderate and slow. See also what happens with your technique: how you use your legs when running compared to walking, how deep you take your lunges when you go from fast to slow. We promise there will be a difference, and it will make a difference.
5. Try something brand new
Finally, once a month trade your traditional gym session for something different – a countryside hike, a Yoga class, a game of squash. Notice how each activity makes different demands on your body and gives you different benefits.
Maintain variety to advance your fitness and keep your interest and you will never need to spring clean your workout again!