Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Perfect Routine for Great Results???

I often have magazines and newspapers calling and asking me for the perfect routine. I have to laugh, because that is like telling someone that to be a world renowned mathematician, there is a perfect grade 3 math class. To determine how effective your work out routine is, you need only to answer a few questions:
Are you bored with your work outs? Do you come in to the gym and complete the same routine day in and day out? Do you do the same exercises with the same repetitions and the same weight that you have been using for several months or even several years? Are your work outs relatively easy? Can you read a book while you are on the bike and not miss a sentence?

If you answered yes to these questions, I have a second set of questions for you:

If you took grade three math classes for five years in a row, would your math skills improve? If you live on the south side in Edmonton and you never stray across the river, will you ever be able to navigate very well downtown or on the north side? Of course the answer to these questions is “not likely.” How can your math or navigational skills improve if you never take them to the next level? Fitness works the same way. I am delighted to see the keeners in the gym every day diligently working out. The problem is that many people’s routines never change. Now there is nothing wrong with keeping the same routine if you are really happy with your flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning and your over all muscular conditioning and don’t ever want to improve anything, but what if you aren’t satisfied? Unfortunately, if you aren’t happy with your physique, flexibility and cardiovascular conditioning and yet you are doing the exact same routine that you have always done, then it may be argued that you are insane. The Chinese define insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. I tend to agree. How can you do the same thing every day this year as you did every day last year and yield different results? The answer is of course that you can’t.

 So, how do you change? And what do you change? Change everything. Mix up which cardio machines that you are using. If you usually spend a leisurely 30 minutes on the bike before you hit the weights, try doing intervals on the elliptical. If you already change up your cardio routines by regularly using the bike, treadmill and elliptical, learn to play a sport. Squash and racquetball are great sports to learn. They only require one other player and you can play them all year long. Recreational soccer, basketball, softball and volleyball teams can be a lot of fun also and regardless of whether you feel like working out that day, when you have a commitment to your teammates, it will be easier to get a couple more work outs into the week.

 At the end of the day, if you don’t change your routine regularly, your results will plateau and you will likely get bored of working out and you will be less motivated to exercise regularly. To keep those results coming try different things.

  • Exercise with a friend.
  • Hire a personal trainer.
  • Join a sports team.
  • Train for a sport.
  • Join a running club
  • Challenge yourself, train for a half or full marathon.
  • Join a regular aerobics, yoga or pilates class to supplement your work outs.
  • Learn a new sport.
  • Treat yourself to a relaxing massage at the end of your work out or at the end of a succession of work outs as a reward for your hard work. Massage therapy is a great way of loosening up tight muslces and generally make you feel like a million bucks! Our massage therapists recommend regular monthly treatments  as part of your body's regular maintenance program to stay healthy and pain free.
At Fit 'N' Well we invented our own sport. We call it 'tennis ball soccer' . We play soccer in a racquetball court three on three. Our sport combines the strategy of hockey and the skills of soccer to provide a very challenging work out! The best part of our sport is it involves all of the important aspects of exercise to attain great results:
  1. Change
  2. Intensity
  3. A social aspect to keep people coming
  4. Fun
  5. Challenge
  6. Learning a skill set
For more ideas, visit Alberta’s sporting associations, visit  for more information on each of their programs.

Greg Harvey-PFT

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