How to rethink your fitness routine (and get better results)

If your exercise routine has become a little formulaic (read: boring), then it might be time to rejig your approach to fitness in the new year.

By incorporating small tweaks, flipping your mindset and embracing smart adjustments to your training regimen, you may just find yourself getting the results you’ve always wanted.

Embrace whole-body workouts

“I would love to see people focusing on making every workout a full-body workout to get the most out of every session, and fewer split routines such as ‘leg day’ or ‘back day’,” says Adala Bolto, founder of ZADI Training.

Adala says it is still possible to target key areas such as the core and glutes within a full-body workout, without having to single out a part of the body.

This, she says results in a look that’s “lean, toned and in proportion”.

Get some expert guidance

If you’ve been going it alone for a while, but you’re just not achieving your goals then consider investing in a session with a professional, says exercise physiologist and Chief Bar founder Veronika Larisova.

“You don’t have to see them regularly as that can get too costly, but you can get a one-off session where they can tell you what to do to achieve your goals,” she says.

“You can then do it yourself and just check up with them whenever it’s needed.”

Mix up your exercises

In a 2015 East Tennessee State University study, people who did deep and full squats in their workout had greater results than those who did only deep squats.

“As an exercise physiologist, I would change at least one variable every session,” says Veronika.

“For example, if you keep doing deadlifts every week and do the same reps, sets and the same weight you won’t be getting any stronger.

“Increase weight each session a little bit or do more reps or sets or do a different exercise altogether.”

She suggests looking at your current routine – while also keeping your goals in mind – and changing things such as exercises, reps, sets, volume, load, intensity and frequency.

Go harder – for shorter

If you’ve got a regular 60-minute date at the gym you may want to consider throwing a shorter workout in the mix too.

“Absolutely, the length of time (of a workout) needs to be taken into account, but longer sessions don’t always mean better results – when the workout time is modified, the intensity will also need to be adjusted,” says Adala.

“For example, a short session with frequent bursts of intensity could be as effective as a gruelling endurance session.”

Make it a long-term habit

While different workout challenges of varying lengths abound, Veronika says it’s important to think of fitness as being a constant—something that you do to for your health and a habit that’s for life and not just in short bursts.

“Being fit and healthy is a lifestyle choice and smashing yourself for eight weeks while being on a strict diet is not sustainable,” says Veronika.

She also says it’s time to think of fitness in the same way you would think about brushing your teeth.

“It’s something you do every day habitually and it’s non-negotiable,” says Veronika.

Written by Tania Gomez.