If your primary training goal is to improve your physical fitness, athletic performance, build muscle, or lose fat, it’s important to know that switching up your training routine is as crucial as diligently training two to three times a week.
Why should I vary my training routine?
Progress, for any physical or intellectual activity, is made when your body adapts to a new situation. Our bodies, being the incredible machines that they are, only improve the structures that they need to perform the new activity.
A prime example of this is a child learning to multiply numbers by memorizing tables. After a few days, the child’s brain is able to easily recall multiples of 1 through 10. However, if the teacher keeps teaching multiples of 1 through 10 for an additional two months, the child will not only stop progressing (as their brain has already mastered the exercise), but also lose all motivation, which is even worse. The inverse is also true: if the teacher goes too fast, the child will not have enough time to completely assimilate the new information. Progress, therefore, is dependant on repetition, followed by an increase in difficulty, which forces the appropriate system to adapt.
The formula is simple: repetitive exercise + increased difficulty = body adaptation and improved performance.
How is this done?
Once the body (or brain) has adapted, progress halts, as what you’re asking it to do is no longer difficult. So, it has no reason to keep going! The only way to get around this and keep progressing is to adapt your training routine. And you’re spoiled for choice!
Are you training to run 5 km? Start by gradually increasing the duration of your run/walk intervals, increasing your running speed and distance, and running on steeper slopes for even more difficulty. You could even start cycling to get your body used to an activity other than running.
It’s exactly the same for muscle building. You can increase the weight, the number of reps, or the speed, shorten rest periods, change up the order of exercises, or modify the exercises to target different muscle groups. Needless to say, the possibilities are endless. The key is to vary your training routine at the right moment so that your body can continue to adapt and better progress.
So, if your goal is to keep improving, I would recommend that you seek out a good trainer who will be able to put together the perfect training plan for you to keep progressing and achieve your goals. Even better, the trainer will be able to adapt your workout routine at each session so that your body gets the workout it needs to progress at a satisfying and safe pace.
Good luck with your progress!