Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Change Up Your Routine

Has this ever happened to you?

You want to add some muscle or maybe lose a couple of unwanted pounds, so you go to the gym and put together a routine.
You work out two, three, four times a week. Within the first couple of weeks, you see results.

Because this routine is working for you, you keep at it exactly the same way. For the next three or four weeks, the routine does its magic, and you are pleased.

Right around week six, the magic ends. The results that came so quickly and easily at first suddenly come to a screeching halt.
(Remember: your mileage may vary.) You stay at it for another month, but you're having a Barry Manilow moment — trying to get the feeling again. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. You're at a standstill.

Less than three months in, you're out. Why put in the effort if there's nothing to be gained? You let your gym membership lapse in disgust.

Next thing you know, the weight slowly comes back. All that work for nothing.

Here's how to get back to the fast track: change your routine. Sure, it worked at the beginning, but that was then. This is now, and your body has smarted up and acclimated to the amount of stress placed on it.

One of the best ways is to constantly keep your body off-balance by cross-training. By doing different sports, different exercises, you constantly put different stresses on different muscle groups. That's the difference.

So, instead of lifting first before a cardio session, mix in the cardio by jumping rope between your weight lifting sets. This keeps your heart rate elevated for maximum fat burning — and may shorten your time at the gym.

Or completely reverse your routine. For example, if you lift large muscle groups to smaller (like you should have been doing to begin with), lift smaller muscle groups to larger from time to time. You'd be surprised how different it feels.

It doesn't take much, as you can see — just be sure to try anything you can think of to successfully and safely keep your body off-balance.

If you have questions or suggestions, leave them in the comment section below. Let me know how this works for you.

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