Having a varied training schedule is one of the best things you can do to keep your mind and body on track. Ellie McInerney reports.
No-one wants to eat the same food every day, so why hit the gym to do the same workout every day? It’s bland and boring, yet so many of us do it, and then wonder why we lose motivation.
To keep progressing towards your goals, it’s essential to keep your body guessing. Shocking your muscles with different, unexpected styles of exercise will get you seeing results, and your brain health will improve, too. If you’re not getting the results you want, perhaps it’s time to switch up your training and get into some classes.
Varying your workouts will not only boost your health and fitness and have you seeing results, but your mindset will also benefit.
When your routine gets boring and your results start to suffer, you can be deterred from going to the gym altogether. After all, if you don’t feel or see any changes, are you really going to put in all that effort?
Exercise physiologists believe in the power of switching up your workouts. Not only will varying your workouts make training more fun, but committing to a regular schedule of activity is easier than going to the gym at random.
Try to include several types of activity every week. You’ll see better results and have a lot more fun doing it. Weights one day, Pilates the next — why not?
The benefits of doing a new form of exercise every day go far beyond the typical fitness goals of weight loss or increased strength. Take Wendy Suzuki, Professor of Neural Science and Psychology at New York University’s Center for Neural Science. She went on a river raft expedition and realised how unfit her sedentary life had made her.
She joined a gym with the mission of “never feeling like the weakest person on a river rafting trip ever again”. In a recent TED Talk, Suzuki explained how she went to every single class the gym had to offer. “I focused my type A personality on going to all the exercise classes at the gym, I tried everything! I went to kickboxing, dance, yoga and step class. At first it was really hard, but what I noticed was after every sweat-inducing workout, I had this great moodand energy boost, and that’s what kept me going back to the gym. I started feeling stronger, I started feeling better and I even lost 11.4kg.”
A year and a half later, Suzuki says her ability to focus and her long-term memory have improved due to her commitment to hitting the gym and showing up to a variety of gym classes. The power of adopting a new workout every day was enough for Suzuki to shift her research from memory to the power of exercise on the brain.
Her conclusion: “Exercise changes the brain’s anatomy, physiology and function. It’s the most transformative thing you can do for your brain today.”
If you’re the type of person who enjoys being accountable, a gym class is the perfect place to meet a training buddy! Why not partner up with another member and become accountability buddies? Knowing that someone else is counting on you will make it easier to get yourself to the gym. Better yet, with group classes, all the programming is done for you and you’re working with an instructor the whole time, so your form will be quickly corrected if your technique is off, reducing the chance of injury.
If you need to shake up your workout routine, a class might be exactly what you’re looking for. Michael Cunico, National Fitness Manager of Fitness First Australia, explains that “if you’re after reduced body fat, increased lean muscle or improved aerobic capacity, there are plenty of class combinations that can get you these results and more”.
Cunico gives an example of a routine you could try. “You could attend Body Pump to focus on muscular endurance and building lean muscle. You may be a little sore the next day, so a core class to focus on strengthening the mid-section of the body would be great for recovery.
“Two days later, FGT HIIT or Athletic would be great to improve your movement and aerobic capacity.” To round out the week, pop into a flow yoga class to help aid recovery and prepare your mind and body for another big week ahead.
- Body Attack is a sports-inspired cardio workout that combines athletic and aerobic movements with strength and stabilisation exercises.
- Body Pump sculpts and tones your body with a high-intensity workout that focuses on low-weight and high-repetition movements.
- RPM is a member favourite — an indoor cycling workout that lets you ride to the rhythm of upbeat music.
- Body combat is a martial arts-inspired workout that targets your legs and tones your arms and back. Your core will get an intense workout, too!
- H.I.I.T. (High-Intensity Interval Training) uses work/rest intervals to elevate your heart rate and maximise calorie burn. A quick yet intense class, perfect for before or after work.
- Strength does what it says on the tin by building total body functional strength and muscular endurance to promote the growth of lean muscle mass.
- Boxing is a super-fun cardio and strength workout that helps improve endurance, coordination and stamina, and is perfect for couples.
- Body Balance is inspired by yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates that builds flexibility and strength, and leaves you feeling centred.
- Hardcore is not for the weak of heart! It improves the strength and definition of your glutes, lower back and abs. You’re guaranteed to feel this one for days.