Why workout routines are bad for your fitness

Tuesday 21 July 2015
  • Empty bike machines

We humans are amazingly adaptable. 

We learn things quickly, we get bored of things quickly and our bodies get used to doing certain things, pretty darn quickly.

Especially when it comes to exercise.

Now let’s be honest, we all have certain go-to exercises. Whether it’s playing a particular sport, hitting a select few machines or doing our favourite group fitness classes every week, it’s easy to fall into a routine with our workouts.

But does it ever start to feel a bit same-y? A bit monotonous?

It could be that you’ve been doing the same thing for so long, you just hop on the treadmill out of habit now. 

And that’s great; exercising regularly is awesome. But doing the same thing over and over again – not so much. It can even become detrimental to your fitness.

Here’s why workout routines just don’t work…

Routines are a massive bore

No one tends to get excited about the routine stuff in life. This includes doing the same-old workouts.

Although a new gym membership may get your motivation revved up initially, it’ll soon lose its novelty if you start doing the same thing week after week. Then it’s see ya later abs and hello CSI re-runs. 

So what do you do?

Well, research indicates that people who vary their workouts and don’t stick to a set routine, enjoy exercise more AND exercise for a longer period of time. 

FIXES:
Try cross training

The trick is to move onto something else as soon as you get that niggly “nah CBA’ed…” feeling.

Instead of always opting for the treadmill, or bike, or whatever you usually head for when you go to the gym, mix it up! Otherwise known as cross training.

It’ll no doubt make a welcome change, and challenge different muscles to the ones you’d usually work. Win, win!

Do supersets

Supersets are variety’s best friend. 

What are they? 

Supersetting is where you team up two exercises and do them back to back several times before moving on to your next superset match up. 

For example, you can pair a weighted exercise like a deadlift, with something cardio based like burpees (#killmenow), or alternatively you can team up two strength exercises. 

No more slogging it out doing one exercise at a time. Double up your exercises and cut the rest time for an extremely efficient workout.

Routines don't challenge you

Sure, when you’re starting out, everything seems tough.

If you keep at it though, your body will adjust and you’ll soon be breezing through the once-tough exercises. 

But then that’s where most people stop.

Sticking to a routine will ultimately give you the same results with your fitness, and if you’re happy with that, then that’s cool. But where’s the challenge? Where’s the sense of achievement?

If you want to keep seeing change and keep smashing your PBs, you’ve got to push past what you usually do.

FIXES:
Up the weights 

It’s pretty simple. If you’re lifting and getting through all your reps with less effort than before, it’s time to take it up a notch. Just a notch though. 

Gradually add a kilo (or even half) on each end of the bar or on each dumbbell to get your muscles training at the next level up.

Increase the intensity

For your cardio workouts, try a HIIT workout – they’re insanely effective.

Whatever machine you’re on, instead of staying at a set pace, use intervals to challenge yourself. Keep your heart rate up with high intensity blasts, and you’ll be scorching calories by the second.

Routines (eventually) lead to the infamous fitness plateau

Now this is the big, bad, ugly side to routines.

At some point every exerciser has the revelation that doing the same thing over and over is not going to help you get fitter. It’s a hard pill to swallow.

A fitness plateau is like hitting a wall with your workouts. No matter how hard you try and how often you exercise (it could be every day!), nothing is changing and your fitness isn’t improving. It’s massively frustrating!

Firstly, you’ve got to remember that your rate of progress will slow down. That’s fact.

Next you’ve got to ask yourself, are you reeealllyyy doing all the right things? ‘Cause let’s face it, eating that Mars Bar every day won’t be helping. But if you’re trying your damned hardest and you’re still stalled at plateau station, then it’s time to up the ante.

THE ULTIMATE BIG FIX:
Seek a professional’s advice

We’ve got an awesome line up of friendly PTs who can help take your fitness to the next level. No matter how hard you’ve tried before, a PT will always find a way to push you harder.

With challenging exercise progressions, new techniques or even a total overhaul of your workout regime, with a PT’s expertise, you can forget plateauing. 

And here’s the great news…

Gold Membership holders get a free fitness consultation with a PT every six weeks as part of their membership. 

Yep, that’s right! You can literally get a new workout plan tailored to you every six weeks.

So are you ready to face palm your fitness plateau?

 

Amy Cox

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AMY COX
Amy is UQ Sport’s resident blogger. She’s a peanut-butter loving Brit, who exercises to eat whatever she wants. You’ll find Amy either in the gym, playing badminton or doing the wrong moves in group fitness classes.