Routines Are Good, Change Is Better
Ed: The face one might expect when seeing Patrick at the gym.
I’ll be the first to endorse developing a routine at the gym. Repeating exercises week to week allows your body to adapt and thus become better at them (i.e. stronger, better conditioned).
Personally, I like to have three separate lifting routines that I do each week for one month. My body becomes more comfortable with the motions each successive week, enabling me to up the intensity. By the last week it’s not unusual to lift 40-60% more than when one starts. This approach also has the added benefit of constant improvement, which can be intrinsically rewarding. The same holds true of your cardio routines. Whether you prefer interval training or running 5k, sticking to a routine will aid in faster improvement.
Unfortunately, your body will become too well adapted and therefore won’t have to work as hard as it used to. When this happens you’re bound to see diminished results.
My suggestion: a new routine. Scrap what you’ve done over the past month and get yourself a new plan. This is a great way to work muscles in new ways or target muscles that you’ve previously neglected. If you’re a runner, try spinning or rowing. If you’ve maxed out your bench press, try incorporating circuit training (Eric’s
favorite). It doesn’t matter what your goals are, changing up your routine each month will certainly get you there faster. Muscles under duress learn to operate more efficiently. It’s one of the main reasons trying new things is so beneficial. Imagine becoming noticeably stronger or better conditioned with just the muscle you already have.
If you’re stuck on a dreaded plateau or find yourself simply bored at the gym, trying something new will not only offer a fresh start each month, but will also help train your muscles in a variety of ways. Always a plus.