Switching Up Your Exercise Routine

12 12 2011

Meghan McGuire

If you have been following the same exercise routine for an extended period of time it may be a good idea for you to switch up your routine! Over time our bodies can become accustomed to the exercises that we are doing. Switching up your routine will give your body a new challenge! This may also be a good strategy to use if you have reached the dreaded weight loss plateau. There are a variety of ways that you can change your exercise routine. Let’s start with cardio exercise…

One way to change up your cardio exercise is to try a new machine. For example, you may have been using the treadmill for the past couple months, so to change it up you could start using the elliptical. This would be a different form of cardio exercise and challenge your body in a different way. If trying a new machine is something that you are uncomfortable with I would recommend starting off slowly, maybe just 1 or 2 minutes and then building up.  You can also ask a trainer to be there when you try the machine for the first time, so that they can show you how it works if you are unsure. One of the benefits of this program is that you are exposed to new experiences and it is a great feeling to overcome that new experience! I encourage you to take advantage of this. Another option is to increase your time, distance, elevation, resistance and/or speed on a machine you are currently using. One way to do this is an interval workout. An interval workout includes changing your speed, resistance and/or elevation for periods of time throughout your workout. An example of an interval workout on the treadmill would be walking at a speed of 3.0mph and 0 incline for 2 minutes and then increasing your speed to 4.0mph and 3 incline for 2 minutes. You would switch between these two settings every 2 minutes throughout your workout. This is just an example, you can choose the time of your intervals, speed, incline, etc. On some of the machines there is an interval option and the machine will make the adjustments for you. You may also choose to change one of these settings. For example, you have been using a resistance of 5 on the elliptical- at your next workout increase to a resistance of 6. Lastly, you can also use the different program options on the machines- interval, hill, fat burn, hills etc. Next let’s talk about strength training…

In order to continue to increase strength and build muscle you will want to increase the weight you are using throughout your strength training program. I am sure some of you have experienced starting with a weight that feels very heavy and then noticing after a few weeks or months the weight is pretty easy to lift. This would be a time when you would want to increase the weight. If an individual continues to lift the same pound weight for a long period of time they will stop seeing improvements in their strength and muscle toning/building. You may want to talk with your trainer if you are feeling that the weights you are using are no longer challenging. The trainer can advise you on an appropriate increase in your weights. Another option you could use to change up your strength training workout is to incorporate different exercises or machines. Just as the same amount of weight may become too easy, this can be true of doing the same exercise for a muscle group for long periods of time. There are many different exercises for each muscle. Give your muscles a challenge and change up the type of strength exercises you are doing! An example of this would be changing from an overhead tricep extension to a tricep dip.  If you are not sure of different strength exercises you could try ask your trainer to help you with this. Along with changing the amount of weight you are lifting and the types of strength exercises you are doing you could also change the amount of repetitions or sets that you are doing in your strength training program. For example, you have been doing 3 sets of 12 repetitions so instead you could try doing 2 sets of 15 repetitions.  A circuit training strength workout is also another great option if you have never tried this. Circuit training involves doing a series of exercises in a row with no or minimal breaks in between. You can go through a circuit one time or multiple times. This is a great way to speed up your strength training workout.  

If your fitness center offers group classes this is also another GREAT option to add variety to your exercise routine. There are many options for switching things up. If you would like additional or more specific help with this I encourage you to talk with your trainer. Happy exercising!




2 responses

20 12 2011

Those are great changes to make! If you find machines that you really like then you are right there are several ways that you can continue to use those machines and change up your workout on them. Keep up the hard work! 🙂

12 12 2011

recently I’ve been varying the combination of cardio machines that I use while visiting the gym.

Another change was my trainer is having me vary the speed as you mentioned as well as resistance and elevation.

My favorite machine is still the Elliptical trainer or Arc trainer but there are several ways to vary that workout to get more out of it.

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