The body is an extremely efficient machine when it comes to exercise. Initially, we might have to work very hard to perform a workout or complete a spin class.
Quite rapidly the body will adapt to that volume and intensity of exercise and you’ll soon find it much easier and quite a bit quicker – particularly with cardiovascular exercise. Running is a great example, and back when we used to personal train clients, we’d often try and get them running as quickly as possible, even if it was just for short distances. You’d see some really quick wins in terms of the cardiovascular adaptations.
The body adapts very quickly to exercise and that means, if you were to hit a plateau, you need to do something different. If you’re looking for additional strength gains, you probably need to start lifting weight, irrespective of if you’re male or female, lift something heavy. But also cross-train – start to introduce different aspects of fitness into your routine.
For me, I box twice a week, but it’s not just boxing. We also do some weights in that session, some cardiovascular and some sprinting – it’s a real mixture. I also go to a spin class once a week, and that is the same thing week on week, but you can adjust the intensity – we do increase the resistance on the spin bike.
I also like to do a workout at home, I’ve got a pull-up bar and various other bits of equipment which I’m really happy to share with you if you’re interested – kettlebells, sandbags. I’ll do a workout at home, but really cross-train, a mixture of burpees, into kettlebell squats, into kettlebell swings, into pull-ups.
I constantly vary it, so that my fitness doesn’t plateau but I’m always making small or marginal gains if that’s my goal. If you’re looking to maintain, you can probably stick with what you’re doing. But the body needs variety, that’s the real takeaway message from this. We adapt really quickly to exercise, so if you want to shift off that plateau and gain more strength and better fitness and more specific fitness, you need to do something different. Add in some variety to your routine.
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Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit www.bodyshotperformance.com or email [email protected] to register your interest in our services and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.