11 Ways To Know If You Need To Change Your Workout Routine
Going to the gym is a great accomplishment; however, doing the same exercises over and over can get boring and lead to fewer results over time. Knowing when it's time to change your workout can help you beat a rut and get back to seeing fitness results. Improving in workouts and in muscle gain can be achieved through versatility in workouts and in paying attention to what is working and what needs further direction. Shaking things up can be fun and effective.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on finding exercises that they enjoy and that can easily fit in their schedules. Once adapted, it's important to work on sustainability, so that they can feel motivated to keep up with a consistent routine. Of course, once you find something you like, it's natural to want to stick with it. If you find something that works for you, an activity that produces fulfillment and adequate, fitness results (based on your goals), then stick with your program until you no longer see progress or reap the benefits. Yet, if you feel dissatisfied and are feeling tired of the same exercise moves, switching it up could be incredibly beneficial for your health, mentality, and pleasure. Here are 11 ways to know that it might be time to change your workout. Feel free to venture outside your comfort zone and try something new and exciting.
1. You're Not Excited To Work Out
"When the excitement is gone try a different method. For instance if you always go to a HIIT class and the routine becomes a little stale, try a different instructor who has a different mindset, advises Courtney Paul, celebrity trainer at RIPPED Fitness in NYC, over email with Bustle. "A different style of getting you to push harder may be the change you needed to get you excited about training again," adds Paul.
2. You're Getting Injured
Over email with Bustle, Tim Miller, MD at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, explains that "over time all muscles, tendons and bones will eventually start to break down if they are forced to perform the same repetitive tasks too frequently, too aggressively, or for too long of time." Because of this challenge, "if you regularly experience more than mild to moderate muscle soreness after a workout or if you have pain that occurs regularly and lingers into your next workout, you likely need a change to allow those damaged tissues to rest and heal," Miller says.
3. You're Getting The Same Results
If "the workout is not as challenging and you do not seem to be getting the same results that you used to," says Paul, you should try a different workout. "A fitness class over time should become more manageable, but never easier. If it becomes easier to the point where you are not winded, physically challenged, or mentally pushed, its time to change things up a bit," advises Paul. Likewise, "if your workout never changes, your muscles and cardiovascular system become conditioned to the activity and can perform it without any exceptional effort," explains Miller. "If you're a runner and your mileage has become uninspiring, map a new course through a different neighborhood. If you do mostly weight training, throw in a random P90X or Insanity workout to "shock the body" a bit and force it to break its routine," Miller suggests.
4. You Do The Same Moves, At The Same Pace
"Personal Training 101 tells you that without a change in routine, without switching up the workout, you can't expect change and new results from your body," says Paul. "The human body is the finest machine that the earth has yet to produce. It not only adapts to change quickly, but without this change, results become limited and your results will plateau. Muscle confusion is key to keeping the body fine tuned. A combination between indoor cycling, boxing, HIIT, yoga & pilates is the best way to keep your machine pristine," recommends Paul.
5. You Skip Workouts
Over email with Bustle, certified holistic health coach and personal trainer Jen Bruno, with J.B. Fitness and Nutrition, explains that if "you're blowing off more workouts than you're actually doing in the week," it could mean that you've lost the stamina and motivation to stick with a consistent schedule. Try something new, and see if your dedication returns.
6. Your Energy Is Constantly Low
Bruno says that if your energy is constantly low and you find yourself more tired than usual, it could mean that you're working yourself too hard, or you simply lost the thrill of the exercises that you're used to doing. "Unless you are significantly overtraining and demanding too much from your body, you should complete your workout feeling more energized than when you started. Even if you feel a little tired and sluggish at first, the endorphin release from your workout should leave you feeling energized and pleased that you got out and did it," adds Miller.
7. You're Hungry & Irritable
If you're hungry and irritable more often in the day, it could mean that you are overtraining, says Bruno. Overtraining means that you're not giving your body adequate rest. If you're putting in too many hours or too great an intensity, and you're body is crying out for some repair and growth, give it a break. Such stress can mess with hormones, explains Bruno, which can increase appetite.
8. You're Not Getting Stronger
While all fitness goals differ, as some people might be more interested in gaining muscle, while others might want more weight loss, it's always a good idea to improve in muscle toning and strengthening, in whatever fitness program you choose, advises Bruno. "The muscles and cardiovascular system need to be intermittently challenged to perform new tasks in order make improvement (i.e. strength gains, increased muscle bulk, improved stamina, weight loss, etc.)," says Miller. "This keeps the muscles guessing and forces them to adapt to new types of resistance," Miller adds.
9. You're Not Able To Meet Goals
If you aren't able to meet your workout goals, because they are either too strenuous and unrealistic, or they just don't work with the exercises you have set on a program, it's time to think of different moves to do to get better results in the gym. Goals are meant to be achieved with hard work and patience, so allow yourself to reach these successes through workouts that are fun and doable.
10. You're Always Sore
If you notice that you're always sore, then it could mean you're pushing yourself too hard on a program, advises Noah Neiman, Co-Founder and Chief Fitness Officer of Rumble Boxing over email with Bustle. "If you feel strong and rested (a little sore is ok too!) then chances are you’re on the right path. You shouldn’t feel demolished by a workout," Neiman says. However, a little soreness could mean that you're improving on new moves.
11. You're Never Sore
If you find that you never experience soreness, or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), a day or two following a tough workout, it could mean that your body has adjusted to the mundane movements and is no longer producing tangible results. Changing up your routines should surprise your body, and a little soreness following can signify that you're improving and strengthening muscles. If "your body is never changing," says Dr. Lisa Ashe, Medical Director of BeWell Medicine over email with Bustle, you won't be getter stronger, and a lack of soreness could signify stagnancy.
If you notice any of these issues, it could mean that your current workout routine is not working anymore, and it might be time to change things around and bring in more variety. Not only will you likely feel more thrill, but you'll also have a greater chance in seeing more results and performance improvements over time.
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