Do you really need to change up your workouts?

05.06.19 Learn, Play Blog SumoSalad
Woman running outdoors

So many of us are creatures of habit – both in life and when it comes to workouts. You might run every day, smash multiple spin classes or live in the weights room, but shudder at the thought of pilates, barre or boxing. Or perhaps you do the same combination of classes every week without fail. But is finding a workout you love and sticking to it really such a bad thing? Surely just getting moving is always a win, right? We asked experienced trainer Timo Topp whether you should really change up your workouts on the reg.

Are there any issues with running every day, for example, but not doing any other kind of workout?

Firstly, you should not do the same exercise every day. Muscles need time to rest, so if you do prefer one type of exercise, such as running, incorporate rest days into your routine. Also look to mix up the style and intensity. So, with running, mix it up with longer, slower runs and shorter faster runs or interval sessions.

It is important to diversify exercise for better results, motivation and interest levels and to prevent injuries. The whole point of exercise is adaptation. Exercise is a physical stress. The body adapts to that physical stress. Specific muscles adapt to the exercise you are doing and others that aren’t used get neglected.

Therefore, doing one type of exercise causes an imbalance in the body as some muscles get stronger and others weaker. A classic example is the preference of guys doing chest work and not balancing it out with appropriate pulling and rowing movements. Not only can it lead to a shoulder injury it creates an uneven ‘rounded shoulders’ look.

What if you do a combination of workouts, but do the same combo every week? For example, spin and barre class? Is that any better?

Absolutely. I recommend a mixture of sports and exercise. For example, a great mix of exercise would be a couple of both strength training sessions and cardio workouts, than add variety with yoga, pilates, swim and/or a team sport. It is important to mix up the types of exercise you do. Exercise is exactly like investing. You don’t put all your eggs in one basket, you diversify to minimise risk and optimise returns. So, by diversifying exercise you get better results, look better and lower your risk of injuries.

Why is it important to change up your workout and incorporate strength work, rather than just doing cardio?

It is quite common to find – mostly – guys on the weights floor and girls on the cardio machines. Everyone needs to do both. It is important to do strength training for that very reason – to strengthen muscles. It is equally important to do cardio exercise to improve fitness. It’s not one or the other. Strength training will help improve cardio results and vice versa – cardio will help your strength gains.

On the topic of exercise balance, another overlooked area is flexibility. Almost everyone skips stretching or at the very best, only spends a few moments on it. Flexibility and range of motion helps to keep you younger because you get stiffer as you get older. It also helps to optimise exercise, improve performance and reduce injuries. So please, don’t skip stretching at the end of your workout.

How do you find a balance between regularly changing up your workouts, but also ensuring you’re learning exercises correctly and keeping the correct form?

The only way to learn how to do exercise correctly is to work with an exercise professional, either one on one or in a group fitness class. Personal attention will always ensure correct technique because in a class you can get lost in the crowd. A trainer is so important for learning correct form, a balanced approach to exercise, adding fun and variety, doing things you can’t do on your own like boxing, as well as motivation and accountability.

Are there any advantages to doing the same kind of exercise? It must be better than not doing anything at all, right?

The first step to exercise success is doing something you enjoy. The next step is diversity. Start to add in other forms of exercise so you don’t get bored or burn out. Routine is critical for success, but add variety by changing your program, adding new exercises and mixing it up from time to time.

Timo Topp is a fitness and wellness coach with 25 years international experience. It is his mission to help busy people live a better quality of life through fitness and wellbeing. In a world of conflicting, confused advice and complex fitness programs that can be too hard to follow, Timo offers down to earth ‘workable’ advice that you can incorporate into your busy day and it is proven to ‘work’ – to help you look, feel and perform at your best. He is a published author and speaker on workplace wellness and loves to share content, so please get in touch here: Website | Facebook | LinkedIn.

For more ‘Topp’ exercise tips and a free workout program, join Timo’s Facebook page!

Photo by Andrew Tanglao on Unsplash

POSTED BY: Anthea England

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