ClassPass is a fitness startup company based in New York City and their philosophy is to bring variety into your workout routine. According to them, your sweet schedule should look something like this; On Monday you need to run, on Wednesday you do some strength training. Then on Fridays, you do an exercise class. And it’s a big plus if you add another HIIT session somewhere in-between.
That would be a perfect plan, mixing things up. Well, not exactly. While doing only one thing will not get you the body you want, you are also waisting workouts if you are constantly “keeping your body guessing.”
“Too much ‘muscle confusion’ doesn’t allow women to truly get better, stronger, and more athletic. The goal becomes lost in the process,” says Baltimore-based strength coach Erica Suter.
Of course, you burn calories at the gym but you don’t build your muscles or become significantly better at any given exercise.
“If you program hop, or head from class to class, you’re not giving your body a chance to adapt and get stronger, which ultimately leads to results,” says St. Louis-based trainer Kourtney Thomas. “It might sound slightly counterintuitive, but we do want the body to adapt to your workouts. We just want it to adapt in a slightly more systematic way.”
This is called a progressive overload. “Progressive overload equals ‘doing more of something over a period of time’ and it is the most important law in training,” Suter says.
When you push your body with new challenging exercises, it will have some issues but also it will adapt little by little. After that, once you dial up that workout, your body adapts once again and you keep doing this until you see the results you want.
It will be better if your workout program remains pretty consistent for a minimum of six to eight weeks.
“To burn fat, build muscle, or get better or stronger at an exercise, your workout program should remain pretty consistent for a minimum of six to eight weeks,” Suter explains.
If you get bored doing the same thing over and over again for a prolonged time, you can increase the intensity or workload and push yourself even more. According to Thomas, if you are currently doing 2 sets of 20 pushups, next week you can try doing 3 sets of 20 pushups and so on, Thomas says. Don’t be afraid to add up weights or slow down when you’re doing squats. This makes them way more difficult and challenging.
You can try these squat variations, too:
But, how will you know when is the time to push your body even more? It’s actually pretty simple. If you can do the sets of exercises and still feel good and energized, you are ready to do some more.
However, you won’t be able to this every week. Sometimes, it’s recommendable to slow things down. If your quality of sleep or energy levels are suffering, it’s important to listen to your body
There’s still good news for those who don’t want to get stuck in a routine. “Depending on your goals, your exercise routine may only involve three to four days of structured programming per week. There’s no reason why you couldn’t frequently change up what you do the rest of the week,” Kourtney Thomas says. “Maybe your strength workouts are focused on progressive overload, but you go to yoga once a week and kickboxing or cycling another day. That’s a great way to make sure you are focused on your results but also engaged and loving your workouts. That’s when real progress happens.”