Variety is the Spice of Life

Is that the same you doing curls in the mirror as a few months ago? After a bout on the elliptical, do you represent the same form that you did last year? When you first started working out people probably came up to you and said things like, “WOW have you lost weight,” or “You’re looking fit.” Now, nobody even realizes that you’re going to the gym anymore. It’s not that they don’t care. If there was any change occurring they’d probably go back to complimenting you. But there are no changes to admonish. Like a lake without a river, you have become stagnant.

There can be no life in a riverless lake. Without a fresh, new, and changing water supply the fish will die. Likewise, if our workouts never change we will become stagnant. I know what you’re thinking. “But I work hard when I go to the gym.” I believe you, but do your results agree with what you’re claiming? There is a difference between breaking a sweat, and achieving progress. I can sit in my yard during the blazing Texas summer heat and break a sweat. I can get my heart rate up by staring a filet mignone cooking on a grill. Both of those things are also occur during work, but that doesn’t mean I’m progressing.

No. Getting results arrives when we overcome adaptation. Adaptation is the body’s ability to reach a level of competence under certain stressful conditions. If you run one mile every day, your body will eventually adapt to running a mile. If I squat 100 kg every week, eventually I will properly adapt to squatting 100 kg. We’d like to believe that doing the same mind-numbingly monotonous thing every week will produce the same results. Unfortunately, exercising like this will only make us better at doing that particular thing.

You have to have variety. Variety is the change applied during a workout by altering, the weight, the intensity, or the volume. So, if you want to get stronger bigger muscles, you have to increase the weight every week. If you want to lose weight and get in better shape, you have to run faster and harder each time. If you’re not getting better by doing a light weight a lot of times, drop the reps and do more weight (or vice versa).

When I train athletes for their sport, I make sure that they lift differently every week. Some weeks we will do more weight with fewer reps, other weeks we will do lighter weight faster, and some weeks we will do less weight for greater reps. Variety is the spice of life.

This applies to exercises as well. Have you ever learned a new exercise before and thought, “wow this sucks” but then after a few weeks it becomes relatively easy? This happens when you get better conditioned to doing that movement. The first time you do a new workout your muscles don’t know how to work together. This causes that movement to cost more calories and be harder. So, if your goal is to lose weight doing the same exercise over and over again will add up to diddly-squat.

The next time you find yourself roaming the gym, wondering why you’re doing the same thing as last time, remember VARIETY.  Don’t get embarrassed for awkwardly learning new exercises, because they will only help you reach your goals. Change it up endu.

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.