It is an incredible thing to find someone committed to working out on a regular basis for years and years of their life. Hats off to this rare breed who has chosen a life of fitness, wellness and health. BUT… I always have one question for these folks. ‘Are you doing the same workout you have been doing since college?’ And sadly the answer to this question is often YES!
Our bodies are incredibly smart at adapting to external stimuli. So if given the same type of exercise for years, months or even too many weeks in a row, our bodies will quickly learn how to handle this workout and plateau. Therefore it is vital that each person’s fitness protocol include a commitment to renewing your goals, re-assessing your body every 3-6 months and periodizing your program and exercises based on this reanalysis.
First, often our goals for our body have changed, so your workout program and fitness exercises must change as well to match these new goals. For example, if you have decided that you want to start doing triathlons for the first time in your life, then you definitely need to alter your workouts to include more exercises that match the function of your new sport. A body building workout matched with training for a triathlon will lead your body on 2 totally different paths, leaving you with less than optimal results for both directions.
Secondly, depending on your daily activities, changes can also happen to your body which require a change in your exercise or fitness program. For example, let’s say your work load has increased greatly and you are doing overtime at a computer more and your sleep has been reduced to less than 6 hours a night at times. Then you definitely would need to add some corrective postural stretches to your routine to help realign your body before workouts. You would also need to reformat your workouts so that you were only working out when your body has adequate rest, while on the unrested days, using your workout time to do energy rebuilding work such as a yoga class, stretching to relaxing music or a meditative walk.
Last, let’s say your goals are the same as they have always been and your body has pretty much stayed in the same alignment for a while, then you still need to alter your workout every 4-8 weeks (depending on your fitness level) in order to continue challenging your body to improve and to avoid a plateau in your results.
If you have never had the chance to work with an experienced personal trainer, then I highly recommend locating an individual who can help walk you through an in-depth assessment, help you design goals to meet your needs and design a specific program aimed at helping your achieve your goals.