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Mix It Up

Posted September 19, 2012 in Advice Column, Downtown

When was the last time you walked into the gym and tried something different?

If you are like the majority of gym-goers, it has been a while. Whether you always head to the treadmill or find yourself starting every weight routine with the same stretches, mixing up your routine is extremely important for muscle stimulation. Here are a few reasons why:

 1. Avoid a plateau. Adding variety to your workouts will keep your exercises from becoming ineffective. If your body does the same thing over and over again, it will eventually become complacent and less efficient. If you have hit a plateau already, try mixing in cardio intervals, increase your weight or try supersets to stimulate the muscles in a new way.

    2. Your body needs time to repair. If you work the same muscle group every day you’re not giving that muscle group time to repair. Try switching cardio routines between running, biking and swimming to allow your body to recuperate. Don’t lift the same muscle groups on consecutive days either. It will also help you avoid overuse injury from not giving your muscles time to repair themselves.

   3. Prevent burnout. Have you ever listened to a song so many times that you get sick of it? Your body is the same way with exercise. You will eventually get sick of doing bicep curls, chest press and lateral pull-downs if you don’t mix in decline chest flys, hammer curls and tricep press-downs. Challenging your body in new ways will keep your mind in the game and prevent burnout.

    4. See more progress. Think about it — every time your boss gives you a new task at work you learn something new, right? Similarly, when you give your body something new to do, it’s going to learn how to do something new as well and become more efficient, allowing for muscle growth, increased power and greater endurance.

Not sure how to mix it up? Try new weight routines, add in speed work or simply add in time to how long you run or decrease time between weight sets. Doing even one thing differently during every workout will challenge your body and help avoid a plateau, avoid injury, prevent burnout and help you see more progress.

Information provided by Julia Steggerda, Fitness World 24 – Downtown, 418 Sixth Ave., Suite 110, 288-1111.

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