Why a Routine in the gym can be bad.
So you go to the gym 4 x a week. That’s great, but are you doing the exact same workout every time? Are you walking into the gym and going straight to the same machine every time? Do you have a routine that you do, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously?
If you walk into your gym and go straight to the same machine you always start on, then your mind is already prepared for what’s next, therefore the body is pre-conditioned as well. Which means your body is not having to work as hard as it could be to adapt to the stimulus you are putting it through, as opposed to prior workouts when you first started this routine.
An example to describe this concept is something I have witnessed first hand. Since I have spent my last 7 years as a full-time personal trainer I have seen hundreds of long-term members transform their bodies. Many of them have shown positive changes, some of them no change and some of them negative changes. Now, how can someone who goes to the gym for an hour a day, most days of the week for the past several years gain fat? There are several factors that can lead to this problem, but besides those, let’s just say that if you are doing a routine that you always do in the gym, then you are really not doing much at all.
There are several members in my gym, that I have known for years, where I can literally predict what there next exercise is going to be. I know what resistance they are going to put on the machine next and I know what face they are going to make when they are feeling the burn. Of course, as a Personal Fitness Trainer I recognize there bad habits and I reach out to explain to them how they can get better results in the gym. Unfortunately, they don’t always want to listen to a fitness professional.
In my last article, I write about changing it up and being environmentally fit. This short article is similar, but the takeaway is that if you see a workout in a magazine, on the internet or if you are trying a workout you saw someone else do, you should never do that workout more than a couple of times. You can do that workout a few times in a month or so, but change it up a little bit and come back to it months later.
One concept I like to keep in mind in training is the General Adaption Syndrome (GAS), which in short means that when you put your body through stress, such as working out over time your body will adapt to that stress by creating more muscle essentially. Once your body has adapted to the same workout routine you have been doing for months or years, it is no longer working as hard to complete the workout. Therefore, your body is not evolving for the better.
Here are a few ways you can change up a workout-
Change up the order of exercises. You can pre-exhaust your arms before performing big upper-body exercises. Or do a workout you saw in reverse order (as long as it’s safe).
Start your warm-up on a new machine or with a new exercise. Instead of jogging for a warm-up, do jumping jacks, dynamic stretching or an exercise that relates to your type of workout.
Do a completely new exercise or machine every time you workout. Don’t be scared to try something new.
Hit your go-to favorite exercises, but add more volume to the exercise. Such as more sets and reps than normal.
Before you walk into the gym next time, think of me 🙂 and try to remember to change it up and break your routine, because sometimes a routine in the gym can be holding you back.
Jeff Mendoza, B.S. Kinesiology.