The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) theory, developed by Hungarian-Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye, explains why adhering to the same fitness regime for long periods of time can actually work against us. In a nutshell, you start a new workout routine - a daily walk, working out your favorite muscle group at the gym, tap class, a bike ride, etc. Once you’ve done this for awhile, your body starts to adapt. What was hard, is now easier. Then, you notice your body has stalled - your no longer sore, no longer losing weight, and no longer feeling like this workout is doing anything for you.
Hence, this weeks challenge.
Here are some frequently asked questions about how to take on this challenge and apply it to your routine:
Q: How often should I change my fitness routine?
A: For general fitness, every 4-6 weeks is ideal; however, if you have a longer term plan, like training for a marathon, about every 12 - 16 weeks is best.
Q: How should I change my routine?
A: The answer to this is really up to you. You can make some small changes to your normal routine, or change the routine altogether. Small changes you can make would include changing the route on your daily walk, adding sets, changing the weight, increasing the intensity, changing the number of days you workout, etc. If you’re interested in changing up your whole routine we’d recommend trying out something you’ve always wanted to! Love your daily walk? Try the same route on a bike! Crazy about Zumba? Try a new type of dance like salsa or tap!
Q: It’s taken me so long to find something I actually like. I don’t want to give that up. What can I do?
A: We totally get that. The heart wants what it wants. So if you absolutely cannot live without your daily walk or run, your trip to the gym and the workout routine you’ve developed for yourself - no problem. Try adding something small to your routine to help your body move just a tad differently than before. Try lifting weights while sitting on an exercise ball. Try some ankle weights on your next walk or run. Add in a new, quick warm-up or cool down routine.
Remember that all of these — frequency, weights, reps, sets and method of training — are related. Changing one facet of your training may require you to change others to make it work. Keep things simple - change one component and allow your body to respond to that. Over time, you'll learn more about your body, which will allow you to make changes more easily.