Every so often I like to give my workouts a shake up! If I do the same workout routine over and over again I inevitably get bored and then I find myself completely de-motivated and less likely to do any exercise. There’s so many reasons (some with science behind them) as to why mixing up the type of exercise you do is beneficial.
Firstly when you do the same exercise or workout over and over again you are using the same muscles and the body will become very efficient at performing them. You will probably find that when starting a new exercise routine it’s difficult at first but becomes easier the more you do it. Your muscles get used to it and this means a lower calorie burn and potentially a plateau in weight loss (if that is your goal). By trying new exercises or adding heavier weights to a routine you will be firing up the muscles again and shocking them, your body will then have to work harder to get accustomed to the new activity resulting in a higher calorie burn.
By doing different types of exercises you prevent the risk of repetitive strain injury. If you are always doing the same exercise/sport/workout you are always using the same muscles, joints and tendons which could result in injuries. By adding variety to your workouts you minimise this risk. For example a mix of high intensity aerobics one day, then low intensity swimming or Pilates and then maybe weight training for another workout. This would help prevent any injuries to overworked areas.
Doing different workouts will build different muscle groups. For example having an upper/ lower body split to workouts. If you only train one group of muscles eg upper body you will only build that area meaning you will be disproportioned. Obviously women do not build the same bulky muscle that men do but surely we want to be toned all over not just in one area. It’s easy to prefer training a certain area, I personally enjoy upper body more than lower body but that’s because I am stronger in that area and training lower body is more challenging for me. The areas we find challenging are the ones we need to work on though as they are the areas that probably need more strength.
Mixing up workouts stops you getting bored and not wanting to exercise and works the brain aswell as the body. Doing different sports involves learning new skills. Doing aerobics, exercise DVD’s or workout plans also incorporates learning new moves and improves co-ordination as does using new equipment eg mixing resistance bands, dumbells and kettlebells. Trying different exercise classes can be helpful because not only might you find a type of workout that you really enjoy but you get the opportunity to meet people and potential workout buddies and you can motivate each other.
I am personally giving my workouts a mix up at the moment. I have started Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide and I am loving it! I am only on week 2 day 2 at the moment so I feel like I need to have been doing it for a bit longer before I am in a position to evaluate it but so far so good. The workouts are seriously challenging, I am completing them at home so I don’t have all the equipment like medicine balls but it’s pretty easy to modify the moves and I just use a kettlebell instead. There are three resistance based workouts you do per week each lasting around half an hour and then you are supposed to do either HIIT or LISS on the other days. I feel that I have started the programme with a fairly good level of fitness (although I’ve still found week two hard work…so maybe I’m not as fit as I thought!) so I am planning on doing four workouts per week, by doing day one again at the end of the week. I’m also thinking about doing the weeks that I find challenging twice before moving on to the next week. I am not following the eating guide as I am breastfeeding and I have no desire to lose anymore weight I just want to tone up and build more muscle. I have taken some ‘before’ pictures so I am intrigued to see how I look once I have completed the programme, although unless I rein in my eating there may not be any differences!
So if you are getting bored with your workouts and finding yourself dreading doing them or procrastinating maybe try doing something new entirely. For example if all you tend to do is cardio mix things up and give weights a go or start a new programme. That might be all it takes to renew your enthusiasm and make exercise fun again.