“New year, new me!” That’s a popular motto as many of us are determined to kick off the new year in the most optimal way. Who wouldn’t want to start the new year happier, healthier, faster and stronger?
The question is: How to do that exactly?
- How to hone your workout routine to deliver the optimal results?
- How to find fresh workout ideas that will allow you to unleash your full potential?
Here’s how to do all that, but first, let’s quickly recap why it’s a good idea to shake up your fitness routine.
Why should you vary your workout routine?
It’s easy to get caught up in doing what you know, repeating the same familiar exercises. We all find ourselves stuck in the comfort zone from time to time, but there comes a point where routine starts to get not only boring but even risky – harmful for your body and detrimental for your fitness results.
Alternating between working different muscle groups, while allowing other muscles time to recover, is much healthier for your body, not to mention more motivating mentally.
In the long run, monotonous exercise increases the risk for injury as repeating the same exercises over and over again inflicts continuous physical strain on specific muscle groups and tendons.
So, if you’ve been repeating the same old for a while – and not seeing results – it may be time to try something new… If not for the sake of better fitness, then do it for pleasure – you know, just for fun.
Here are the three key elements you can tweak to spice up your workout routine.
3 WAYS TO TWEAK YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE
One of the easiest ways to change your workout routine is to increase the amount of training sessions per week (or sometimes, decrease the frequency of workout sessions).
But, if you decide to workout more frequently, make sure you work different muscle groups to avoid overstraining only a few specific muscles.
Also, make sure that your training load doesn’t go overboard and that you also leave time for recovery.
One way to add variety to your training without stepping into a completely unknown territory is to change the intensity level of your current workout routine.
If you do strength training, try to increase the amount of repetitions or the number of weights in your set. If you run, try to spice up your run with short interval spurts in the middle of a steady intensity run. Adding intensity can speed up progress and increase your anaerobic performance.
However, remember to warm up and cool down properly when increasing the level of intensity drastically to minimize the risk for injury. Also, remember to leave enough time for recovery between sessions as intense exercise causes increased strain on the muscles.
The duration and intensity of the exercise go very much hand-in-hand. The human body should not – and often cannot – perform at the highest intensities (i.e. over 90 percent of maximum heart rate) for long periods of time.
Therefore, when it comes to high-intensity training, both the high-intensity spurts and the overall sessions should be kept relatively short.
The length of the session does not only apply to high-intensity sessions – it also plays a role when training at low intensity. If you do steady low-intensity sessions, such as jogging, try to increase the length of your session by 10 to 20 percent.
Long steady-state cardio sessions bring several health benefits, such as lowering the risk for many cardiovascular illnesses. Faster isn’t always better –sometimes it’s the slow and steady that wins the race.
If tweaking isn’t enough, try a new workout
If mixing up your workout routine with these three elements – frequency, intensity and duration – doesn’t offer you enough variety and/or you’re still not seeing the fitness results you were hoping for, you may need to try something completely new.
- What if you tried a high-intensity mobility session instead of your usual strength session at the gym?
- Does your workout routine include enough variation between cardio, strength and mobility – with high and low intensity?
- Is it possible to combine cardio and strength training in one workout session?
The fitness world is full of options and new workouts to try, but it may feel daunting to start the search and find the best options for you. That’s when it’s all too easy to fall back into old habits and just stick to what you know. But, doing the same old is boring and fitness is supposed to be fun!
To save you the trouble of looking for new workout ideas and choosing between them, we created a workout generator that offers you fresh easy-to-apply ideas to mix up your workout routine.
Try the workout generator and get moving! 👇
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.