Changing Workouts – When, Why, How

For those of you that are currently working out, there is one question I am sure you ask yourself. How often do I change my workout? This is a great question and often a confusing area to those that workout on their own. I am sure that those of you that have spent any time in the gym have seen the person working out year after year with the same weights, doing the same exercises over and over. And, probably wondering why they don’t see any improvement.

I think this is typically an area that confuses most women when they begin an exercise program. Most men are the opposite – they will quite often increase the weights too fast resulting in injuries. But both are often seen performing the same exercises workout after workout with no variation.

The body must have a stress to respond to to improve. Exercise is a positive stressor to the body (muscles, bones, tendons, etc). In response to the exercise the body gets stronger, leaner and healthier.

The big question comes up when you have been exercising for a while and wonder when do I change exercises, weights, etc.

You should go into the gym each workout with a plan. That is #1. If you have no plan, you have no structure. No structure = no results. Once you have a plan for each gym visit, you are halfway there. Each workout should be a review in your mind. You should be constantly striving to improve.

Vary the number of sets, reps, and rest intervals frequently. Combine exercises into circuits, perform supersets or giant sets. Adjusting your rest intervals is an excellent way of increasing the intensity within a workout without necessarily increasing the weights used.

Each workout should be reviewed, and the next workout you should see where you can make some changes – no matter how small to force more adaptation. The key is when the body has learned to adapt to one particular stress it no longer responds. No response = no results.

Program changes should be done about every 3-4 months. That means the whole program needs to be re-evaluated. New goals may need to be set. New exercises, set and rep scheme, and training tempos should all be addressed.

Take a look today at your workout program. Are you still doing the same program you were doing last month or even last year? When was the last time you increased the weight of specific exercises? Have you tried adjusting your rest intervals? Maybe it is time to take a look at your gym program and come up with some new exercises or some new weights. Change is good – embrace it and see the results!

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About the author

Narina Prokosch, RN, CPT

Registered Nurse National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer Functional Movement Screen Certified Level I Functional Movement Screen Certified Level II Owner Victoria Wellness Professionals Ltd. Growing up in the Fraser Valley, Narina spent her teenage and early adult years showing horses. Competing as a bodybuilder from Novice to National level, she has always valued and appreciated fitness, and her ability to train and enjoy an active lifestyle. As a registered nurse, Narina worked in the operating room at Royal Jubilee Hospital, and spent five years on the open heart surgical Team. With over thirty years of strength training, Narina has always been disappointed in how many people, especially women, attempted to start a fitness program only to become discouraged and quit. Her vision is to encourage men and women to pursue a healthy lifestyle through incorporating fitness into their lives. Narina has united her passion for fitness and nursing background to provide clients with professional assistance to guide them.