They say that variety is the spice of life — and when it comes to workouts, that saying rings very true. Your body simply cannot change by doing the same thing over and over.
Sometimes people will come to me complaining about a plateau they are stuck in, despite very intense and regular workouts. When I ask them to walk me through their training program, I often find out it’s a lot of repetitive routines with very little (if any) variance. They do the same five moves in their back/biceps workout on Tuesdays, the same five chest/triceps moves during their workout on Thursdays, and the same five leg exercises every Saturday, and so on.
Another example is my father. Growing up, my dad would always run and never do anything else fitnesswise. And that became his routine. But guess what? Over four years, his body didn’t change at all.
Why Variety Is Necessary We want to vary our workouts so we can tax other muscles in the body. We don’t want our bodies to adapt to a specific workout. Our bodies are smart. So with a predictable routine, our bodies simply stop adapting and remain status quo.
Variance is key so that you keep shocking your body and new muscles with unexpected combinations of movements. By changing things up, your body becomes more athletic and your brain becomes more in tune with your muscles. It makes you fitter because you don’t overuse one muscle or the other, and it keeps your brain working hard (which is a proven way to fight aging).
Variance is how you become an athlete and not just someone who looks good (or someone who doesn’t see any results, or someone who is always getting hurt) — it’s how you apply your fitness.
Programming With Variance When I create my own workout programs — specifically muscle-building workouts — I’ll only do that routine once a week and stop after three weeks. After three weeks, I’ve noticed that the benefits rapidly decline. So then I’ll move on to something else for the next three weeks. For example, I’ll do pull-up drop sets for three Mondays in a row, but I never repeat it in the same week.
When I created The Oxygen Challenge 5 90-day program, I stayed true to my methodology. So if you easily get bored with the same routines or are really looking for some quick results, you’ll love how we are constantly switching things up. In fact, the only reason we repeat any workout is so that we can assess our fitness and see what progress we’ve made.
One important note: It’s definitely OK to do low-impact, full-body movements (like high-intensity interval training workouts) more frequently. Why? Full-body movements give you the most bang for your buck. But you don’t want to do the same strength-building moves over and over (like daily squats) because you will end up overusing one part of your body with the load.
So make sure you are challenging your muscles and your mind with a varied workout schedule — it’ll pay off in spades through faster progress toward your goals and reduced risk of injury.
Now in its fifth year, The Oxygen Challenge 5 has helped thousands of participants all over the world transform their bodies and their lives. This summer, we are bringing you two of the most badass coaches of all time: Lifetime athlete and CrossFit Games champion Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and All-American track competitor and body-positive trainer Amber Dodzweit Riposta.
So what are you waiting for? Start transforming your life and body now with this 90-day training and nutrition program designed exclusively for Oxygen — it’s guaranteed to awaken your inner athlete, buoy your spirit and empower your life! Join the Challenge today.