Today I wanted to discuss when to change up your fitness and nutrition routine because it's something I'm currently playing around with. I have been adding in some cross fit workouts to my routine lately and am really enjoying them! It's a whole different focus than I've tried before: heavy weights, very few reps. I'm doing this to build some larger muscles and to see how my body responds to some more weight on my frame. I love the new challenge and really love continuing the study of 1: that is, the study of how MY body responds and reacts to fitness and nutritional changes.
Let's talk about two extremes it comes to changing things up:
1. Those who want to do what they've always done because it's comfortable and it has gotten them results at some point.
2. Those who change things up every week because it's "not working."
Let's start by talking about type 1. Once you've found something that has gotten you RESULTS, helped you make a transformation, increased your confidence, and has you feeling really good, it can be SUPER hard to leave that strategy or workout behind. I understand this. I found Body Pump (a barbell workout) about 4 years ago and was convinced that it is what changed my body. When I needed to take a break from it over the winter, I was terrified I would lose my muscle. But I didn't because I was doing other things to keep me on track. Upon closer analysis of my transformation 4 years ago, I didn't just add Body Pump to my life. I changed EVERYTHING at once: my nutrition, my workouts, the frequency of my workouts, my water intake, my vitamin intake, etc. So while my brain wants to link Body Pump to my transformation, it was likely just one component of my transformation.
As you build your fitness, your body will be able to respond faster and more effectively to new workouts. So don't be afraid of changing what you're doing because "it won't work the same." Honestly guys, it's so important to change up your workout routine every 6 months or so because your body will stop responding at the rate it did when you FIRST began and first started seeing change. One thing you can do if you really love swimming, for example, is to add weight training in. It doesn't mean you have to stop swimming, but just consider changing the frequency of swimming for training and adding in some additional work.
I also like to teach my clients to change their nutrition strategies occasionally too. For those who complete my Carb Cycling 101, I like to advise trying the carb cycling for 3-4 weeks on, taking a break for a week or so (note: I do not advise them to eat whatever they want on their "off" week, just to mix carbs and fats) and then starting back up again. Anything you do for an extended period of time will cause you to plateau, so keep your body guessing!
Now let's address the 2nd type of person: the person who changes things every week or two. I also understand this point of view because I am a pretty impatient girl! But when we are trying a new approach, we should really get rid of that 4-week mentality. 2-4 months is a better range to aim for to really see results and to let your body work through changes. My Carb Cycling 101 program is 3 weeks so that I can keep my clients accountable (much longer than that and they start to drop off). But we talk a lot about how 3 weeks is just the start and that once the program is over, they need to make some decisions about what parts of the program they want to continue and which parts they need to adjust. It is always based on the study of one (how each individual's body responds to different changes). So if you're trying something new, give it a good collage try for a few months before you abandon it completely and change directions.
Let's always strive for being open to change when we need it, and also being patient enough to let change happen :)