“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” —Albert Einstein
I think the human race likes to find formulas. A+B=C and we end up doing the same thing over and over—even when the formula does not work anymore. A dear friend of mine was talking about how his weight loss has stalled. He is a vegetarian, eats especially well and has been doing P90X, the exercise DVD phenomenon, daily. He shared that running is his form of cardio, so he tends to run faster to finish his workout quicker. This has been his exercise routine for years: start running again, lose weight, stop running, gain weight. Repeat. Our bodies are amazing creations. Our muscles tend to want to find the path of least resistance, and get used to the same repetitive motions, over and over. Without changing up a routine, our bodies will eventually get used to things and we will find one thing in common in every scenario: stalling weight loss.
Weight loss is 80 percent diet, 10 percent exercise and 10 percent genetics. Because of this, I’m reminded that I’m in control of my weight loss and lean body mass destiny. Only 10 percent of my loss is genetic, which means I can choose 90 percent of what happens to my body. Ninety percent is a huge amount, and it’s that motivates me each time I reach for potato chips or want to skip a workout.
Are you “workout insane?” Are you doing the same things over and over, expecting the same results? Do you find yourself doing chronic cardio, hoping to burn the excess calories from today’s lunch on your preferred piece of cardio equipment? Do you workout too hard, then burn out, only to start back at a heavy pace, only to burn out again, resulting in poor weight loss and low self-esteem? Your body is most likely getting used to what you are doing. Here are a few tips to change up your current routine as well as help keep your boredom away.
1)Do not, and I repeat, do not do the same aerobic activity at the same speed, for the same length of time, every day. Your body will get used to this, especially if you do not do any strength training. Yes, you will still burn the same amount of calories for a while, but if you are losing weight and gaining strength, it will only become easier. Which means your body isn’t working as hard. For strictly health gains, this isn’t an issue, but when it comes down to weight loss, most people will stall. If you are solely on an elliptical trainer, try a new piece of equipment, like a bike or a treadmill. If you only have one piece of equipment at home, change up the speed or level. A couple of times a week, add in interval training (for instance, a hard heavy sprint for one minute, an easy jog for three minutes) to spice it up. Or, add in two minutes of jumping jacks for every five minutes on the treadmill.
2)Add in recovery days where you take an easy walk with the dogs or push the stroller. This helps your body recover from harder workout days. The more you recover, the stronger you will get. And any movement counts, just don’t stay sedentary.
3)Try a new class at the gym. It’s fun to work out with others and you might even learn some new ideas on how to spice up your own routine as well as use muscles you don’t typically work out. Also pilates and yoga build long, lean muscles using your own body weight and flexibility exercises. These are great to throw into your weekly workout routines.
Strength training is another important concept. If you have been doing the same set of sit ups, push ups and squats every day, it’s time to change it up. If you belong to a gym, try some new equipment or add some weight. Sometimes just working out with a friend can give you inspiring, new ideas.
Hire a personal trainer. A trainer can help you hone in on areas you want to work on, gain muscle mass, lose body fat and keep you motivated and encouraged. A trainer also helps with form, technique and usually has a ton of workout ideas ready that use muscles differently. If you are currently “workout insane,” this is a perfect way to meet your weight loss goals. If you are a part of a gym, hire a trainer through their personal training department. If not, look up a local studio or mobile training service that can come to your house or place of work.
How you shake up your workout is obviously up to you, but remember, coupled with a solid, healthy diet, if you change up what you are doing, you will see results.
Sarah Martin is a certified personal fitness trainer and owner of Smart Fitness, a local mobile training service and the mother of a 1-year-old son. She lives in Aptos, Calif., and trains all types of clients. For more information, visit smartfitnesssc.com or fitmamacita.com. Or, call 831.331.0646, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.