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.
- You haven’t been seeing any positive changes in your body.
- 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
- 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.