You go to the gym every morning, you put on your headphones, crank up your book on tape, turn on the iTunes or just zone out to the tv screens around you as you hop on the treadmill and start walking your way to fitness. You do the same routine, every morning, five mornings a week and you’re starting to wonder where all your progress went. Sure you were crunching away the miles when you got started, but where are you now?
Recently, my daughter was really excited because she gets to do the dishes after dinner every evening. She loves to scrape off the extras into the leftover container or into the trash. She loves to rinse them off. She loves to put them into the dishwasher. In the morning, if there’s time before we leave for school, she loves to empty the dishwasher out too. She does as much as she is able and I help with the rest.
Of course, your body probably responded to a new routine the same way. Sure you had muscle aches and pains, but soon your muscles were repairing, your fat was burning, your heart was getting stronger and your lung capacity was improving.
So why is it now just a few weeks later and you’re wondering what happened to all that wonderful momentum? The most likely culprit is muscle boredom. That’s right, boredom. You can tone and shape muscles, but they adapt faster than you think and if you’re not asking them to stress a little harder or pushing it a little further, chances are you’re going to still be getting a workout, you just won’t continue to get results.
The same thing that happens to you over routine tasks happens to your workout. Most of us can do dishes in our sleep, that doesn’t mean we’re more efficient at it nor that we’re gaining anything by it anymore other than we clean the dishes and the counters are much nicer for it. Your body does the same thing with the same routine.
Step It Up
You can jazz up your routine by stepping up the intensity, changing the focus or even just mixing up the order you do your workout in. You might isolate upper body from lower body, creating a more intense workout in the time you have for that particular area of your body. You can also switch cardio routines, for example, if you walk, try jogging or swimming or riding your bike. Different activities challenge different muscle groups. Another possibility you might explore is partner training.
How is your buddy challenge working out for you?