How to Mix Up Your Weight Training Workouts

Today I’m excited to introduce my friend Tracy Simmons, a yoga instructor, personal trainer, and blogger who has much to share when it comes to passion and knowledge about fitness. Enjoy!

Hello Workout Nirvana readers!

I am Tracy and I write a little blog called Commit to Fit where I talk about all things health, food and wellness from a personal trainer’s perspective. I am so excited that Suzanne has invited me over to her side of the blogiverse.

Now, picture this:  You have been happily and dutifully following the same strength training workout for the last three months, but lately you have noticed a few things that aren’t so fabulous.

  1. You haven’t been seeing any positive changes in your body.
  2. You’ve are no longer as motivated to workout.

What is going on?

We all know how important it is to include strength training in our workout regime, but did you know that it is equally as important to change up your routine on a regular basis.

Why?  Well, your muscles are pretty smart.  They are quick to adapt to exercise and once they do, they no longer respond to training.  They want a challenge, something different.  Your mind also adapts to routine and if you continue to do the same workout over and over, you become uninspired.

This is exactly the right time to mix things up.  (On average, about every six weeks, but everyone is unique.)

How?  Glad you asked!

By using the F.I.T.T formula, you will start loving your weight training workout again and battle boredom in no time.

Note:  Please check with your doctor before you start or make changes to your exercise program.

F is for Frequency

Increasing the frequency of your workouts is a great way to shake things up.  For example, if you are currently doing a full-body workout two days a week on Mondays and Wednesdays, try a two-day split (Mondays and Wednesdays for the upper body, Tuesdays and Thursdays for the lower body).  Just remember to include rest days to give your muscles time to heal and repair.

I is for Intensity

Have you been using the same weight, for 3 sets of 10 repetitions during every workout?  While I admire your dedication and consistency, your muscles may not.  It might be time to change your workload and you can do this several ways:

  • Increasing the amount of weight lifted
  • Increasing or decreasing the number of sets and/or repetitions
  • Increasing or decreasing rest between sets

Don’t change all of these variables, simply choose one.  For example, instead of lifting 5lbs for your biceps curls, go for 8lbs, but stick to the same number of reps, sets and rest time.

T is for Type

Changing the kind of workout you do can be one of the most effective ways motivate your mind and your muscles. Here are a few types to try. (If you are looking for more ideas, check here and here.)

  • Circuit Training – Perform one set of each exercise with a short rest in between sets.  Repeat the circuit for the desired number of sets.  You can also do timed sets (i.e. each exercise for 1 minute) as opposed to number of reps.
  • Interval Training – This involves combining high intensity training with low intensity training, which may or may not include a cardiovascular component.  For example, you could do your first set of chest presses with a heavy weight, switch to a lighter weight for the second set and back to a heavy resistance to finish it off.

You can also play around with different modalities.  Instead of using free weights, try resistance bands.  If you always jump on machines, sign up for a muscle conditioning class.

T is for Time

This piece of the puzzle is very closely related to all of the variables mentioned.  For example, if you are currently doing a low-intensity circuit workout, 2 times a week that takes 60 minutes, try a high-intensity  interval workout (by changing one of the variables above), 3-4 times a week and exercise for 30 minutes per session.   This provides a great challenge for the body and the mind.

I know this can be a bit overwhelming, so remember to start small.  Just make a few tweaks to your program and document your progress.  Note any changes you are noticing in your body and your attitude.

If you are new to exercise, you may also want to consider a few sessions with a personal trainer, who can help you make the best modifications based on your goals and abilities.

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Comments

  1. This is GREAT! It’s exactly where I am at and it’s what I need. I do the SAME thing and I’m no longer seeing results. Thanks for the tips!
    Lisa recently posted..Naked WorkoutMy Profile

  2. I noticed recently I wasn’t getting results after upping my mileage during the week so rather than do the same running workout I decided to do a shorter run at a much higher intensity. It was hard to be sure and I did have to take two walking breaks but the next day I noticed that my muscles had noticed! So changing it up helps. Thanks for the great advice.
    Yolanda recently posted..Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Small Business SuperStar?My Profile

  3. Hi Tracey, love the FITT acronym – it’s so easy to remember.
    I can see how changing the time and duration of a work out can have such a positive impact on the training 🙂
    Sarah Arrow recently posted..The 5 life stages of a bloggerMy Profile

  4. These are some great tips! I personally change my strength training workout every 30 days. It keeps things from getting repetitive and also wakes up my muscles 🙂
    Jen @familyfoodfitnessandfun recently posted..Have a New Kid by Friday – Book ReviewMy Profile

  5. Great tips. I think 30 minutes per session of a workout is a perfect number, but it definitely has to be intense. I always try to come up with new movements to keep my body guessing.
    Tatianna recently posted..Lean Body All Over WorkoutMy Profile

  6. These are wonderful tips—and you did a great job of explaining how to keep getting great results from one’s workout routine. I’m a maniac about the benefits of intensity, so I especially appreciate those pointers.

    And now I’m going to go explore your blog!

    Thanks.
    Mary C. Weaver, CSCS recently posted..Regaining weight is not inevitableMy Profile

  7. Really useful tips which can be transferred to other areas of life as well, as variety and change of pace can transform all we do into a much more rewarding and fruitful experience.

    Thank you.
    Christine Miller recently posted..Christine Miller – The Resourceful Entrepreneur’s GuideMy Profile

  8. I think the best is tip T for Type. Although a lot of us like to stick to what we know and like in exercising, one of the most beneficial ways to see a change in your fitness when one has been lacking is to switch up the kind of exercise your doing. I’m a runner. But when I find myself getting aggrevated that i’ve only completed 2 miles on the tredmill, and still have another 2 to go, I wish I was doing something else that was keeping my attention better, and making the workout fly by. When I hit these road blocks, I get my friends involved and see if they want to go on a group bike ride, or go on a hike together. The easiest way to stay motivated, is to give yourself a variety of options. This is easy in the gym as well, rather then focusing all your cardio on the eliptical or stationary bike, try out the rowing machine or stair stepper to get in a workout thats different and much more effective on your body which has gotten used to your chosen cardio routine.

    • Absolutely, all great tips. There are endless ways to change things up and I agree, the type of exercise is THE most important for combating boredom and plateau.

  9. William Noah says:

    Great tips, going to share on FB. So many workouts get boriing and these tips will help a lot of newbies that come to the gym.
    Thanks again,
    WN

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