Are fitness goals at the top of your list for 2021? If so, being strategic about how you spend your workout time will put you on the road to success. Experts agree that the best strategy for achieving fitness goals is mixing up your workouts. This keeps your mind entertained and your body guessing, challenging your muscles to adapt, and building fitness along the way!
If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you’re wondering what mixing up your workouts looks like exactly. How much cardio, strength training, flexibility and mobility work should I include and what’s the right balance? There are different schools of thought on the specifics but one thing I hear from trainers across the board is that strength training should take the lion’s share of our time.
“Weight training is like putting money in a bank with compound interest. Results are small in the beginning but with consistency, they start to skyrocket.”Kristi Major, Certified Personal Trainer
How many days a week do you exercise? Your answer helps determine how much mixing you can do to achieve the results you want. Also, how you mix up your workouts depends on what you like to do for fitness and if your goals include getting better at a particular element of your fitness activity. For example, you practice yoga and are hoping to both master your headstand and hone stress-busting strategies. The only way you will grow these skills is through regular practice.
Speaking of mixing it up, it turns out, you can mix up your routine too much which compromises your workout results and can also make you more vulnerable to injury. Resist the urge to try some new class every week and instead incorporate new challenges into your existing fitness activities. It takes a certain level of commitment and consistency to get better at any one thing, so mixing it up while staying consistent with your chosen mix is important.
Most of us have heard about the “fitness plateau” — the concept that the body adapts to its regular fitness routine, essentially putting the kibosh on further workout results. Once this happens, you must continue to make adjustments that force your body to move and work in new ways in order to continue getting results. “You want to create muscle confusion since the body is super effective at adapting to the last change you made,” advises Kristi Major, a San Francisco-based personal trainer. For example, if you’re engaged in weight training, switch up your exercises for each muscle group and/or increase resistance or intensity.
So take a page from the experts’ playbook, and mix up your workouts with a combination of the things you like to do for exercise plus a healthy dose of strength training. Plan out your personal mix by considering the number of days a week you exercise, what you like to do, and add in strength training if it’s not already one of those things. For me this might look like 3 days a week of strength training, two days of dance and a day or two of Pilates or yoga. Depending on how much time you have, you can combine two complementary modalities like strength training and cardio, or cardio and yoga to keep your mind and body challenged. Find balance between consistency and variety, do things you enjoy, and keep your fitness goals front-of-mind.
How do you keep your workouts interesting while still reaching for your fitness goals? Share your advice and ideas in the comments below. Be sure to come follow Blendtopia on Facebook to stay connected, and follow us on Pinterest to get even more ideas for maintaining our mental, physical, and emotional wellness.
Nikki Pearl, Blendtopia Editorial Contributor