You've developed a workout routine that helped you meet your initial goals. It has served you well, maybe for years. However, there comes a time when you outgrow that routine. Or, maybe when you realize it isn't right for where you are at in your fitness journey and life. Following a few simple steps can give you a whole new workout in a relatively short amount of time and with minimal extra effort. The only things you have to lose are those extra gains you were hoping for.
1. Evaluate What Is Working (and What Isn't)
Just because you need to take a workout to a new level doesn't mean the whole thing is bad or ineffective. Take time to evaluate what is working and what isn't before redesigning the whole routine. If there is a part of your body that could use a bigger challenge, then focus on changing the exercises that impact it first.
2. Consult With a Trainer
If you are at a plateau that you can't seem to break through, it can be a good idea to seek the advice of a qualified trainer. Bring all of your questions and be prepared for the answers. You may not always like what you hear, but a reputable trainer will give you information backed by science.
If you want to go from asking "What is hypertrophy?" to seeing real gains in muscle size, then scheduling a few sessions with a personal trainer is probably a great idea.
Personal and athletic trainers go through specialized training in nutrition, exercise design, and anatomy and physiology. They are experts at developing workouts that help people meet fitness, sport, and health goals.
3. Set a Regular Routine
With that refined workout in hand, make heading to the gym a regular part of your weekly routine. You will need to exercise at least a few days per week. Current recommendations are to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise over five or more days each week. If you can fit in 300 minutes (that's five hours), you'll see better results in improved health and fitness levels.
Be sure to include a variety of different exercise modalities into a comprehensive workout plan. That means working to increase strength, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility. Exercises that incorporate multiple muscle groups are great because they simulate real-world movements you will encounter in daily life.
4. Up Your Fuel Intake
If you want your car to run correctly, you'll need to give it the proper amount and type of fuel. Similarly, you shouldn't expect to see gains in the gym without the proper fuel for your body.
A balanced and well-rounded diet can meet most or all of your nutritional needs under normal circumstances. Add in a food allergy or other restriction and an increase in intense activity, and that may not be the case. Find out how many calories you need to consume and what an ideal blend of nutrients looks like for your body. Then work to get that from whole food sources. If you can't make it work, add supplements to make sure you are getting what you need to achieve your goals.
5. Leave Time for Rest
The time you spend away from exercise is often just as important as the workout itself. The human body is an intricate machine that does a tremendous amount of repair work and balancing. Much of that is done while you are sleeping. Maximize the restorative power of sleep by getting seven to eight hours each night.
Not all rest is sleep. Active rest includes exercising alternate body parts on consecutive days. Cross-training activities are an excellent way to include active rest into a workout routine.
6. Track Your Progress
Keep track of how things are going to help put a quantifiable number on your progress. Using a fitness app and wearables makes this easy and convenient.
Workouts need to be changed over time as your body grows stronger and more fit. Luckily, developing a new one doesn't have to be difficult. Following a few basic steps can have you seeing gains again in no time at all.