Are you someone who only sticks with a workout routine or cardio exercise that you are comfortable with? If so, how long have you been doing the same workout? These are great questions to ask yourself because after about three weeks your body begins to adapt to specific exercises and repetitive movements. You probably remember the first time that you went to a group class and it was REALLY difficult—or the first time you hopped on a piece of cardio equipment and didn’t think that you would make it the full 30 minutes—maybe you did lunges or a chest workout and you were so sore you could barely get out of bed the next day. Sure, you are in better shape now, but your body has adapted to these activities as well.
Whether your goal is to lose weight or build muscle, your body gets used to exercises that you do over-and-over again; this can slow-down your progress and lead to plateaus. Essentially you can end up outworking your workout, since it no longer provides the same results that it did when you first started.
Challenge your body, and though you don’t need to feel the same soreness and exhaustion you did when you first started working out, you should feel fatigued at the end of a good resistance or cardio session. You are in better shape, so your body will adapt faster, and instead of feeling sore all over, you will feel your workouts target specific areas as you change-up your routine.
So why do our bodies adapt? I know it sounds like adaptation is a bad thing, but it is really an amazing, and GOOD, thing that our bodies can do this. Without the ability to adapt, we would be limited to the range of movements—strength, power and endurance—that we started with. Today you might be able to step outside and run a 5k, but could you run a marathon? There is a big difference between running for 3.1 miles (5k) and 26.2 miles (marathon distance). The ability for the body to adapt over time allows for us to achieve these physical demands.
The same holds true for the amount of weight you can lift. As you repeat movements and increase the demand or stress put on your muscles, your body adapts by building stronger and denser muscles. If you keep lifting the same amount of weight with the same amount of reps, the need for your body to develop will slowdown…and so will your progress.
Educate yourself or speak with a fitness professional who can teach you how to reach your specific goal. We are all unique individuals with bodies that work and are built in slightly different ways—knowing how to workout for YOU and YOUR goal is important information that will have you running faster and further, getting stronger and losing more weight!
Let us know what topics you would like to know more about in our comments section so we can provide blog posts that help you and keep you LIVING HEALTHY!