They say variety is the spice of life, and while that certainly holds true when it comes to a lot of things—clothes, shoes, food—how much is too much? In the world of fitness, when you hit a weight loss plateau, the recommended course of action is to shock the body and mix things up. Whether it’s trying out a new diet or some fun hybrid workouts, keeping your body guessing is what will get the scale moving in the direction you want it to.
Unfortunately, there’s a catch. According to physiologist and personal trainer Tom Holland, “Constantly changing your workouts may not actually be the smartest way to train because without consistency, it’s harder to make daily exercise a habit—and harder to make measurable progress in strength or skill.”
If you’re looking to lose weight, any physical activity will work to your advantage up to a point. However, if you’re looking to build muscle defintion and strength, then you need to set a goal and maintain some consistency with your workouts. To make things simple, your body needs some consistency to constantly improve. As they say, practice makes perfect. Also, understand that every workout works the same body parts and muscles in very different ways.
You go for a Pilates or Ballet Barre class on Monday, both of which are all about spine strengthening and lengthening; then, you go and train with heavy weights at the gym on Thursday, which is all about concentric muscle contraction, designed to make the muscles fibers smaller by repairing them in closer proximity to one another.
So on one side, you’re indulging in exercises that will make you leaner, and then on the other, you’re doing a training program that aims to beef you up; see the contradiction?
The simplest fix would be to stick to a workout routine and try different permutations-combinations with the reps, weights, props and accessories.
However, for times when the routine is clearly getting mundane and boring, or you really can’t get past the plateau, mix it up, but choose workouts that are complementary. For example, yoga and Pilates; Hot yoga and cryotherapy; zumba and jazzercise; Tabata and HIIT; Rucking and battle ropes… you get the idea.
PS: Here’s the low-down on Exercise Programs For Weight Loss.
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