Surprises are generally a love ‘em or hate ‘em deal. Good surprises like birthday parties, $20 bills in pockets, and hitting all the green lights make life awesome. Bad surprises like flat tires, rotten eggs, and your ex showing up to that surprise birthday party, are another deal. But, as they say, variety is the spice of life. A little bit of both keeps things interesting.
One way surprises can really work in your favor is how you can apply it to your workout program for better, faster results. Our bodies are designed to adapt to different environments and stimuli, and consistently ‘surprising ‘ it has many benefits. Here are a few reasons to mix things up:
- Avoid hitting a fitness plateau. Once your body has figured out the most energy efficient way to perform an action, the caloric burn rate will slow down. This is because you don’t need to expend as much effort to perform the same movements. When you change your routine, new muscles are engaged, and you continue to burn, and build at an accelerated rate.
- Keep your brain engaged. Stay on top of your game mentally with a new routine. Get familiar with a new machine or exercise to prevent zoning out. Without your full attention, effort may slack and your workouts won’t be as effective.
- Prevent burnout. Working every muscle every day is a sure way to lead to injury. Instead, focus on a different muscle set every day. This variety allows you to give one area your full attention, while giving the rest of your body time to rest and repair.
Stuck in a Rut? Inject Some Imagination into Your Next Workout
People tend to be creatures of habit so it may take a little out-of-the-box thinking to recognize behavior patterns and then step outside them to achieve our full potential. To see where you can mix up your routine, take a look at your existing fitness program. Review the past couple months of recorded workouts in the SolidHealth FitStack app. If your eyes start to glaze over by the fourth entry, or your immediate thought was, “Why? It’s all the same,” it is time to mix things up.
Increase your workout variety with these ideas:
- Increase weight or resistance by small increments, while decreasing reps on a certain set. For example, if you normally do 25 squat reps with 150 pound bar, add 10 pounds and reduce the rep count to 10. This will ensure you do not overload your muscles but will increase energy exerted with each rep = muscle gain.
- Consider which muscle groups you want to work, and explore alternative ways to focus on them. If you’re focusing on back muscles during a session, and you normally head for the Lat machine, jump on a rower instead. Take it easy your first time with a new exercise. Even with a slightly lower rep count, you’ll feel the burn in your muscles the next day. That’s the sign your muscles are recovering from their surprise!
- Consult a professional coach for their opinion. They can look at your workout history and suggest variances that will still be in line with your goals.
- Check out the list of workouts’ in the SolidHealth Fitstack app, and add them to your program.
Open the SolidHealth app and navigate to the journal and press the ‘Workouts’ icon on the homescreen.
Type a keyword (such as a muscle group) into the search field and select an appealing pre-planned workout.
Quads of steel? Yes please! Select the workout and review its components. You can choose to either ‘Log’ a completed workout, or ‘Plan’ to add it to your calendar.
Once you incorporate a variety of workouts into your routine, you’ll see results very quickly in the form of stronger muscles, weight loss, and increased fitness. Not to mention, you’ll keep your mind more engaged in every workout and pick up new skills along the way.
How Often Should You ‘Shock’ Your Body for Best Results?
It’s a good idea to add a workout variance every four to six weeks. That’s how long it takes the body to learn, adapt and economize your muscle movements to a particular routine. Keep the FITT (Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type of workout) formula in mind. Focus on one change at a time to avoid overworking your muscles and keep progression easy to track. Once a month, take time to review your program, and brainstorm ways to mix things up and keep your body guessing.
Need some inspiration? You will find many helpful resources in the the SolidHealth workout library. New workout plans are added daily so you’ll never be at a loss for ideas.