One of the most crucial factors in a successful workout routine is that of variety. Like anything in life, the more you do something, the better you get at it, the more efficient you become – eventually what was once a challenge is suddenly easy. If you do the exact same exercises every day, week after week, eventually your body will grow bored … meaning you will start burning fewer calories, and stop making progress toward your goals.
I’ll admit to being a person who gets bored easily, so cross training and mixing things up is pretty normal for me. I don’t like to do the repeat any particular exercise or class more than twice a week if I can help it, and I try to adjust my weight routines ever 3-4 weeks (most people can go about 6 weeks before they need a change). As you get more fit, you may find that you’ll need to make modifications even sooner in order to avoid that dreaded plateau.
So, that said … how can you ensure variety in your workouts? The most important part is simply planning ahead, and making a conscious effort to try a number of different activities throughout the week.
For example, this is how my schedule currently looks:
Monday: Weight training, cardio*
Tuesday: Cardio, abs
Wednesday: Instruct two classes – Piloxing, Pilates
Thursday: Weight training, instruct one class – Piloxing
Saturday: Weight training, Cardio, abs
Sunday: Instruct two classes – Spinning, Pilates
*Depending on how I’m feeling, I go for 45-60 minutes running, on the elliptical, ArcTrainer or stairmill (a stairmill looks like an escalator with three steps. And it’s HARD.) Also note that sometimes I have to trade days for my off day – meaning I’ll just replace my off day with whatever day I have to miss in the schedule.
Bottom line, do what you like, but mix it up! Variety truly is the spice of life, as they say – and by keeping your body guessing what is coming next, and you’ll continue to see the results you want to see. It’ll have you on the right track to continue getting stronger and more fit!