When you first start any new exercise regimen, it can be a little rough until your body begins to acclimate to the new demands. On the upside, with regular practice you can see immediate and gratifying results.
Over time your gains will decrease little by little. However, until you may feel like you’re making very little progress – or none at all. What went wrong? Your body simply got used to the demand placed on it and adjusted.
All this means is that you need to modify your routine in order to continue working toward the results you want. Naturally, our bodies have limits. However, when you try something new or push a little harder, you could take your workout regimen (and your results) to the next level.
If you’re not sure how to implement safe, appropriate, and effective exercise upgrades, you can always speak with a professional, such as your doctor, a physical therapist, or a personal trainer, depending on your particular needs and limitations. There are a few strategies that are likely to help you along. Here are some exercise upgrades that should improve your results.
1. Increasing Time, Intensity, or Reps
Our bodies are designed to adapt, and they will do exactly that when you begin a new exercise routine. After several weeks of the same activity, however, your routine will stop challenging your body and you’ll stop seeing progress.
The best way to continue seeing improvement is to raise the stakes. Increase the amount of time you exercise, the intensity of your activity, and/or the number of reps you perform. These exercise upgrades will challenge your body in new ways and continue to spur performance and results.
2. Adding Weight
If you’re drawn more to cardio than weights, you might not realize the benefits you can gain simply by adding weight training to your regimen. You can either do this by adding stand-alone weight training sessions to your schedule or by incrementally adding weights to your regular cardio activities.
This could help you to lose weight, increase muscle tone, and improve cardiopulmonary function, all of which are excellent results. You might also try adding instability to your routine.
You might prefer the aid of specialty exercise equipment, or you could simply do 1-leg squats or 1-arm pushups in lieu of traditional forms. Any time exercise upgrades challenge your body in new ways, you stand to see improvements in your results.
3. Cross Training
When you find yourself stuck in an exercise rut, bored with your routine and maxed out on time and reps for your scheduled workout sessions, the obvious solution is to try something different. Cross training can reignite your passion for physical fitness and challenge your body in new ways. Plus, when used in a supplemental capacity, it can drive results in your primary activity.
For example, many runners have found that adding yoga or Pilates to their routines can increase strength, flexibility, and focus. These changes improve running performance and helping them to get past a plateau. Body builders intent on bulking often add cardio for the purposes of cutting as a way to improve muscle definition as they put on weight.
Cross training serves the dual purposes of improving your results in one activity by giving you the benefits of different types of movement, while also sparking your interest in new and exciting ways to alleviate the boredom that is part and parcel of repetition. Not sure what to try? Join a few classes or work with a trainer to figure out which activities you enjoy and which show the best results.
No matter what motivates you to improve results, pushing yourself can get hard after a while. One great way to get the boost you seek is to compete. Consider joining a club, asking friends to work out with you, or signing up for races, triathlons, or strongman competitions, just for example.
5. Change Your Diet
Technically, this wouldn’t fall under the category of exercise upgrades, but your diet can definitely affect the efficacy and overall results of your physical fitness activities. Dieting is an essential part of losing weight or bulking, but the average person seeking exercise upgrades might not immediately connect the dots between diet and continuing results. Speak to a nutritionist about how your diet can help or hinder your progress.