4 Signs It’s Time To Change Up Your Program

By Bryan Smith (@Catalyst_SPT)

As David Bowie advises in his catchy single, “Changes,” it’s time to turn and face the strange. Embracing so-called “strange” workouts — exercises outside of your current routine — is a great way to push your body to that next level. Here’s how to tell if it’s time to change it up.

You Aren’t Seeing The Results That You Want

“My New Year’s resolution was to lose 10 pounds. Only 14 more to go.” If this sounds like you and you’ve been sticking to the same routine at the gym since the beginning of the New Year, it may be time to switch. Too many people find a workout that they like and stick with it for months on end. Granted, the workout may include a lot of movements that you enjoy, which is likely why you chose it in the first place, but don’t get comfortable. The body enjoys change when it comes to activity, and if you look in the mirror after months of dedicated work at the gym and see the same person you did in December, you’re due for something new.

You Still Had Windows 98 When You Found Your Workout On Ask Jeeves

If you used dial-up Internet to find a workout, it’s time for a change. There is something called the SAID principle, which stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand. Simply put, this means that over time, your body will eventually adapt to whatever stress you put on it (within reason). Think of the postal workers you see delivering the mail. They walk for hours upon hours every day, yet some of them are still overweight. When they began their profession, however, they probably found the work to be difficult, and perhaps even noticed tangible health benefits like weight loss. Unfortunately, over the course of a few years, their bodies adapt to the regimen so that they no longer derive much — if any — physical improvement from their activity at work. It’s become the act of daily living as opposed to a challenge that pushes their bodies to the next level. Not to say it still isn’t good for them, but if they want to experience noticeable results, they would have to add in another stimulus and even switch that up again when their bodies have adapted. Another thing to consider is that exercises actually can expire. The fitness industry and health sciences in general have evolved so much since the ’90s that advice and instruction from back then is arguably not even relevant today. In other words, if you have a routine that Richard Simmons whole-heartedly endorses, it’s likely as out of style as his shorts.

You Are Thinking About What To Eat For Dinner During Sets Because Your Workout Is That Predictable

Focus during your workout is key in achieving proper muscular activation and providing safety to your joints. Have you ever driven your car home from work while thinking about what you’ve got to do later that night, what to make the kids for lunch tomorrow, or what you are going to wear this weekend to the barbecue that your neighbour is throwing, even though you don’t really like his wife? His kids are great, though, and he seems to be a great dad. What does he do for work again? He dresses in a suit, right? Maybe he’s a banker? Yeah, that sounds right. Wait — what? You’re home already? But you don’t even remember driving! Were you speeding? Did you run a red? You genuinely have no idea. That’s because you’ve driven the same route so many times that it has become second nature. Don’t let your workout be the same way. You need to be sure your muscles are working properly, you aren’t using momentum, and you are paying close attention to what your body is saying to you. Singing along to Taylor Swift is fine, but when you pick up those weights, that’s where your focus should be. Your muscles and joints will thank you. Sticking with the same routine will bore the mind, which will make your focus change, ultimately impacting form and potentially causing injuries. By the way, am I the only one who sings along to Taylor Swift during my workout? (Don’t judge me.)

You Are Noticing That Aches And Pains Start To Show Up During And/Or After Your Workout

Repetitive strain injuries are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society. Producing the same movements over and over, week after week, is just asking for some sort of issue. If you are someone who doesn’t perform regular maintenance of your soft tissues through foam rolling or massage therapy, or someone who doesn’t work on their dynamic joint mobility and are continuing to go through the same workout every time you go to the gym, just be ready for the aches and pains that go along with it. If you sit at a desk during the nine-to-five, rounding your upper back as you stare at your computer screen, holding some pesky deadline tension in your neck and shoulders, then later that night go to the gym to do the same overhead presses you’ve been doing for months, that change in static posture affects your movements. Press overhead too many times with faulty mechanics and the potential for injuries increases dramatically.

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