We all know that the key ingredients to weight loss and maintenance are exercise, healthy nutrition and proper rest. But what happens when you feel like you’re no longer getting results with your exercise routine? Does this mean that exercise doesn’t work anymore? Not a chance! It could just mean that you need to break out of your current workout rut — variety is the spice of life, after all!
Here are four signals that your routine might need a tune-up:
1. Your workout bores you.
You used to enjoy walking outside, so why do you dread your walk workout each day? It’s easy to get bored if you stick with the same routine for too long. Sometimes it helps to add variety to your walks. For example, try listening to music when you walk, adding speed or hill intervals, or bringing a family member or friend along with you. I’m sure your family pooch would welcome a stroll around the neighborhood! If all of that isn’t enough, then maybe it’s time to try a new activity. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try biking or are interested in taking a dance class? Change can help keep your workouts fun and interesting, giving you something to look forward to.
2. Your workout isn’t giving you results anymore.
Someone who does the same activity all the time is likely to plateau much sooner than someone who varies workouts. Just as you can get bored by always doing the same exercises, your body can also adapt to these exercises so that they don’t offer the same benefits that they once did. A little variety might be just the thing you need to get the scale moving again and bust through that plateau. “Variety” means either changing something about your current routine or trying a totally different activity. Roughly, it takes about four to eight weeks for your body to adapt to whatever exercise you are doing … so if you have gone past that four-to-eight-week time period and your progress has stalled, you need to add some variety. This will keep your muscles challenged, your body guessing and the results coming.
3. Your workout leaves you more tired and sore than before.
Exercise should give you more energy, not leave you feeling rundown. If you are feeling overly tired or constantly sore, you could be over training. Your body needs time for rest and recovery. It’s during this down time that you build strength and endurance by allowing your muscles to rebuild and repair. If you don’t give your body ample recovery time, you’ll become weaker instead of stronger. If you suspect you have been overtraining, your first priority should be rest. You might need a few days to recharge mentally and physically. Once you’re feeling better, start back slowly. Reevaluate your workout program and find ways to make changes that will prevent this from happening again.
4. Your workout is no longer challenging.
Walking a 15-minute mile, for example, becomes easier as time goes on. If your workouts aren’t challenging you anymore, it can be helpful to wear a heart rate monitor. Your heart rate will change over time as you become more fit. By using a heart rate monitor, you’ll know to change up or intensify your routine, and ensure that you’re working within your target heart rate zone. Challenging your body improves your fitness level and can also provide a sense of accomplishment as you become stronger and work toward your goals.