Earlier today, at the gym, I noticed something that I’d like to share. Typically my visits to the gym are pretty routine and partly just a diversion from my normal chaotic day. Usually I hit the recline bike, where I can sit down and pass the time with my iphone and always interesting Civilization app (I’ve beaten this game more times that I can count, but always enjoy it). I stop after nearly to an hour of pedaling, go shower, then spend 10-15mins in the pool taking laps.
Today, things were a bit different. I got to the gym a bit early and decided to spend a bit more time on the bike then normal. After a while, busy playing my game, all of a sudden I began feeling fatigued, as if I turned the corner and all of a sudden noticed getting tired. It was a surprise, I had not felt that sensation in a long time. When I looked down at the bike, I noticed I was at 65minutes and about 800 calories, just beyond my typical routine. At that moment I realized that due to the content routine, my body had adjusted to handle only as much as it needed. By not demanding more of myself, my visits to the gym was hardly a work out, more like just maintenance mode. However once I went beyond routine, I was in a zone my body hadn’t yet adjusted itself to.
To really get the benefit of a workout, or any other activity, you need to increase the challenge rather then simply doing what you’ve always done. I know, you’re thinking, “I cannot always increase demands between every workout, after a week, let alone a month, it’s just not sustainable.” Yes, you’re right. Try to mix up other things as well, for example, increase the time between workouts as well to give your body time to recover. Or work out other body parts/exercises where you can again start at the bottom, and build up.
When do you switch? Continue to increase one activity until you begin to plateau, once noticed, it’s time to find a new challenge.
Btw, this applies to any area in which you want to increase your aptitude but have fallen into a routine. Increase the challenge, add variation, or simply replace it, starting something new gives you lots of room for improvement 🙂