Frequent trips to the gym every week can be a bit of a mind-numbing experience once you’ve been attending regularly for months on end as you continue on your journey to getting fit and losing weight. Oftentimes you can find yourself spending yet another hour on the treadmill, staring off into the middle distance whilst listening to your favourite music on a pair of headphones, but this mindless zombie exercise isn’t doing you nearly as much good as it could if you simply shook things up a bit every week.
The dreaded plateau
If you remember what it was like when you first began your exercise regime, you’ll probably recall how you may have been quite challenged at first. Whether you were doing weight training, engaging in cardiovascular exercise, or performing abdominal exercises in an eye to get a six pack, these exercise sessions most likely had you working up a sweat and getting out of breath quite easily at first.
However, as you continued with these exercises, they most likely began to get easier as your body acclimated to the difference in the amount of activity you were engaging in. Eventually you may even have reached the point where you can perform these exercises in your sleep; this is called reaching a physical plateau, and unless you push yourself harder and farther you’re going to continue to be bored at the gym – exercising more strenuously or for longer periods of time will see you challenging yourself once more.
to everything there is a season
Another thing to know is that by doing the same type of exercise day after day isn’t going to net you the same results as if you changed up your routine. Working the same muscle groups on two consecutive days is never a good idea, as the muscle fibres that are stretched and torn by your workout on Monday won’t be ready for the same workout on Tuesday, and you could end up actually doing yourself some rather serious harm if you don’t mix up your routine properly.
The best thing to do is to work one muscle group on Monday, then take a break on Tuesday and do some cardiovascular exercise or work an entirely unrelated muscle group instead. This way you will give your body the time it needs to rebuild and strengthen tired muscles, making your physical gains that much quicker and more pronounced as the weeks and months go on – and bringing you closer to your final fitness goals in the end.
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Image: Muscle Man by Marcus Q