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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Success Strategy #3: Keep your body guessing

Ever fallen into a rut? You know, when you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again? Well when it comes to fitness, this is a VERY BAD THING.

When my quest for fitness began, I couldn't run a mile. So my neighbor and I went out and walked for 3 minutes, and then ran for 1, over a course of about 2.5 miles (from our doors to the stop sign at the main road and back). As the weeks wore on, we shortened how long we walked, and increased how long we ran. I was getting great results the whole time! About 6 weeks into our plan, I joined a running club, and went for my first run with them. You could choose 2.5 miles or 5 miles. I decided to try 2.5 miles and just see how far I could run without stopping. Well, it took me 28 minutes but I did it!

But here's where it got complicated. The distance of our morning run was around 2.5 miles. Now that I could run 2.5 miles without stopping, it was going to be difficult to change things up enough to continue my progress. If I added distance, it would increase the amount of time I spent exercising each morning, making it harder for me to get the kids ready and get to work on time. So as much as I wanted to keep changing it up, I fell into a rut. I ran 2.5 miles every morning, did the same tired stability ball workout three times a week, and...sure enough...hit a weight loss plateau. Frankly, I just couldn't think up new routines to do.

So when I was looking for new workout routines, Susan from Catapult Fitness Blog recommended I try Turbulence Training. I'll talk more about my success with these workouts in the future but the key point for this post is that each workout plan lasted about 4 weeks. So with dozens of workouts in hand, it was easy to change what I was doing every month and keep my body guessing. It got me over my plateau last September, and continues to help me see results today.

No matter what workout strategy you use, DON'T fall into a rut. If you have a personal trainer write your routines for you, it will be worth the time and money to go back to them periodically (monthly or every two months) and get a new program. If you're using a routine you purchased or found on-line, remember to increase your weights or intensity each week, and when you have mastered the routine...move on to a new one.

Just a final note -- we all have favorite exercises, the ones that make us feel strong or accomplished or just overall fantastic. Maybe your favorite exercise in the gym in bench press. Well, you might be surprised how much your bench improves if you take a break from it for a month and do incline chest press, push-ups, or floor press instead. So look for new ways to work the same muscles, new routines to challenge yourself, and learn to love a new way to work the same old muscles.


  1. Right on, Liz! I honestly couldn't remember what I did at the gym before TT. I guess I was one of those people who just used whatever available equipment they had at the gym without any rhyme or reason. This made my gym time a complete waste of time because I wasn't seeing any results.

    Great post!

  2. Liz, congratulations on the launch of your blog! You look fabulous (and NOT just as a "Mom"!) and I know that so many others will benefit from you sharing your journey with them.

    As an FYI, the TT Mass At Home workout yesterday - just brutal (in a good way, of course) :)