How often should you change your workout routine?

Research has shown that changing up your workout routine is important to improving your fitness levels. The simple fact of the matter is your body is very resilient and very adaptable. If you keep doing the same kind of workout week in and week out not only will you get bored you will also begin to see results plateau. So let’s start to shake things up OK?

The question is how often should you change your routine? I have the answer and I am emphatic about it: Change your routine every two weeks.

For people seriously wanting to get fit and putting in the time to do so, two weeks is a magical number. Here is my logic:

Your body is VERY adaptable. It creates billions of new cells each day and is in a constant state of repair. You begin to plateau sooner than you think. Fourteen days represents a massive amount of cellular change.

Two weeks is also not a random number. Ever try to quit smoking? After two weeks without nicotine life gets better. The same is true for just about any addiction. Your body is much different after just two weeks of change from both a physical and a mental perspective. Two weeks even has a special name. It is called a fortnight.

Two weeks is an easy number to remember. Without a plan you will forget and change too often or not enough. We are all very busy and we forget things. What did you have for breakfast yesterday? See my point? You should get in a habit of selecting two workout cycles (more on this later) at the start of each month. Cycle one is the beginning of the month and after the 15th you switch to the second cycle. Ta da! It is that easy to remember.

After two weeks and you will be begging for a change. You get bored very easily (we all do…). Three to four weeks of the same routine will drive anyone bonkers. A two week routine is much more palatable.

What about your goals, objectives, plans, changes in your attitude or your ability to workout? Shouldn’t your routine adapt to this? To this I say “NO!” Remember, you are in this for the long haul. Sure you are going to have setbacks but a routine is a routine! You need to have one.  When you are ready to get back to work look at the calendar. If it is before the 15th it is cycle one, after the 15th it is cycle two. Now you are suddenly back on track and no longer confused.

OK. I think I hammered on the two week thing enough so now you are asking “What is a cycle?” A  cycle is a focused set of workouts that either isolates muscles under load to strengthen them or muscles under load to condition them. You alternate these types of workouts bi-monthly.

Cycle One workouts places emphasis on resistance training with light cardio sprinkled in to allow the muscles to heal. When you perform a Cycle One workout you attempt heavier weights but less repetitions. Cycle Two workouts place more emphasis on higher repetitions, less weight, longer cardio workouts and high intensity interval training.

Example of a Cycle One routine with repetitions in the 4-6 range:

Day 1) Arms and shoulder weight training

Day 2) Rest or light cardio

Day 3) Lower body weight training

Day 4) Upper body resistance workout (arms and chest)

Day 5) Rest or light cardio

Day 6)  Abs and back resistance workout

Day 7) Rest or light cardio

Day 8- 14) Repeat above

Example of a Cycle Two routine (repetitions in the 10+ range):

Day 1) Max cardio

Day 2) Rest

Day 3) Core (abs and back) focused HIITS

Day 4) Upper body focused HIITS or Max cardio

Day 5) Rest

Day 6)  Lower body focused HIITS or Max cardio

Day 7) Rest

Day 8- 14) Repeat above

It is tough enough to maintain a workout routine. Don’t complicate things but keep in mind change is good.  What day is today? It just happens to be the 10th and therefore I am off to go work on my manly chest with some heavy iron. Happy fitnessing my friends!

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