If you had a boyfriend who slept on your couch all day watching Judge Judy, and you kept saying “Please get a job. Please get a job. Hey babe, did you get a job yet? How about you go get a job? Can you get a job? Are you going job hunting yet?” I would hope you’d realize you need to do something DIFFERENT!
Changing your workout routine is like telling the loser boyfriend “get off of my damn couch!” before hitting him in the head with a frying pan (that would certainly get a different response, right?)
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I’ll say it again. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over (and over) while expecting a different result.
If you’ve been running six miles every day, or riding that elliptical for an hour, or doing lots and lots of endurance cardio but your body isn’t changing, then this may be the perfect time to change things up.
Humans are creatures of habit. We do things without considering why we’re doing them. The gym is the PERFECT place to observe this phenomenon. Hundreds of people riding the same treadmill every day, grinding away, with little results to show for it.
Don’t get me wrong. I am NOT bashing runners! I love running, and feel there is a definite time and place for every type of exercise. But the mode of exercise you choose on a daily basis should be in line with your goals, individual biochemistry, and body type!
There are some people who were born to be long distance runners. They can run 6-10 miles every day while looking and feeling great. Their bodies are type I muscle fiber dominant. Their bone structure supports this sport (narrow hips, great arches, knee joints that hold up well, their adrenals can handle this stress etc). They gravitate towards running because it is what their bodies are most efficient at.
Side note: Structurally, many women aren’t the ideal candidates for long distance running. Our wide hips often lead to something called “valgus knee” and an increased Q angle. Over time, marathon running with valgus knee can lead to various issues, including ACL injury.
Then there is everyone else, who would look and feel much better using a variety of weight training, plyometrics, balance & stability training, and some conditioning. I include myself in this category.
What are you trying to accomplish?
Before you start any workout, consider what you are trying to accomplish.
Are you trying to be a better, more efficient marathon runner? In that case, get on that treadmill and run.
ON THE OTHER HAND
If you want to look and feel “athletic”, you might consider what your exercise of choice is going to do.
Weight training & body weight training increases lean muscle mass. Muscle is hormonally enhancing tissue. It also lends a toned appearance to the body. Having muscle allows you to eat more, while staying lean because muscle tissue is calorically expensive. Weight training in a circuit style fashion can increase your metabolism for up to 2 days afterwards!
Stability training (using the swiss ball, bosu, or training in any way that challenges stabilizers), can strengthen the stabilizer muscles. This can help prevent injury, reduce muscular imbalances, enhance functional ability, and much more.
The effect that exercise will have on your hormones SHOULD be your number one concern.
Running is an excellent form of moving meditation, and is good for your heart, and in small doses, it’s a GREAT fat loss tool. But chronic long distance running can have a negative impact on your hormones. It increases cortisol, and can be very very tough on your adrenal glands. This puts your body in a hormonal state that makes it hard to maintain muscle.
Women would get more out of their gym time by adding in two-four days of circuit style weight training and/or/with stability training and/or/with interval training and conditioning.
Many women assume traditional cardio = fat loss. This may be true. But the down side is that cardio is such a time suck. And while cardio certainly can make you smaller, it does NOT change the shape of your body.
For example, if you want to tighten up the back of the arm, or “lift” the glutes, the last thing I would recommend is an elliptical or treadmill. What I would recommend instead is boxing in between sets for your arms, and jumping in between sets for your glutes.
Or even just doing an entire cardio session of boxing, bear crawls, crab walks, or of some type of jumping/jump roping/jump squats etc.
If you perform functional cardio on your cardio days, you’ll be getting the heart healthy benefits of cardio with the added benefits of changing the shape of your body.
Many people assume weight training and cardio are mutually exclusive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The best use of your time, and the best way to get fast results is to treat cardio and weight training as interchangeable tools.
For example, consider setting up a circuit in the studio of your gym or in your home:
- Station one might be a kettlebell swing for one minute,
- station two might be crunches on a swiss ball
- station three might be pushups
- station four might be jump roping for one minute.
Each station enhances a different muscle group, and a different level of cardio. Hopefully you can see that your body gets more variety and a rainbow of stimuli from this form of training, rather than 45 minutes of a repetitive machine like the elliptical or treadmill.
The options are endless really! Bottom line, if you want different results, you have to do something DIFFERENT!
Now get out there are make all your dreams come true. I’m rooting for you 😀
P.S. Don’t forget to grab a copy of my e-book The LeanSecrets Fat Loss Program for more info on nutrition and exercise for fat loss!