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Time for a change

Posted on Wed 9th September 2015 in Training Tips

The definition of exercise is 'an activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness'.

If you are 'exercising' to a level that you always do on a regular basis at the same time then yes - you are 'exercising', however, you are only sustaining, your body is no longer making any changes and it has adapted to your regime. If you want to change your body you need to shock it, the way to do this is to change your routine. 

Want to run further or faster? Want to lift heavier weights? Been doing the same run for weeks now, same lifting routine for weeks now? Its not going to happen. When you first started your routine (be it a 5k run or a set of weight exercises) did you hurt after - probably - if you didn't then your starting point wasn't really an exercise to change for you. The hurt and pain after exercise is your body changing, it is where it is having to recover and get stronger to adapt to the strain you have just put it under. It is not used to it. Give it a few more weeks of the same routine and it has got stronger, it has increased the muscle size so you can lift that weight with more ease. It is now sitting there thinking, I can do this, I have made it easy for myself as I don't like being shocked. So, your muscles halt their adaptation, they are where they need to be.

The only way you can then get it to adapt and to change is to change what you are doing. The only thing stopping you is an excuse. Yes, it is hard to think, what can I do now, I only like running or I am happy with the results from my weights routine. But actually its easy:

So you only have 30 minutes to squeeze in a run - what about trying to cover a bigger distance within those 30 minutes? Is your run normally flat - find some hills - see how you feel the next day.

Got a weights routine you like - how about reversing it? Start on what is normally your final exercise and work your way back to your first. You can adapt the routine so you are still doing the same exercises but change the type of repetitions - eg start doing pyramid sets or drop sets rather than 4 sets of 15 reps. Alternate between body weight, dumbells and barbells.

There are many options and no amount of excuses can eliminate them all. As long as your body is taken out of its comfort zone and has to make changes to adapt to complete what you are now doing comfortably then you are no longer be in a 'maintaining' stage. You will see results.

There is a downside to this - your body will adapt again and you will need to make another change. Everyone is different and adaptation times will vary, however, it is advisable to try to change a routine every 6-8 weeks, but only you know when its stopped hurting and when you need to up the anti.

It is hard and it will hurt but the saying is true - no pain, no gain. Push through, reach your goals - when it gets easy change it up.