7 Signs You Need to Switch Up Your Workout

Updated: Feb. 10, 2017

It's a good feeling when you get into the habit of consistently working out, but when you no longer feel like you're getting much out of it, then you've got a problem. Doing the same workout every day can be easy and convenient, but it can also cause you to plateau, and no one wants to put in the work everyday only to get no results. Here's when it's time to switch up your workout.


You’re not getting stronger

“Remember at the beginning when you found muscles you didn’t know you had?” asks Sarajean Rudman, a certified personal trainer. Maybe you felt stronger picking up your kids and doing work around the house or yard or you cut 30 seconds off your mile time—and now you’re stuck in a rut. “If there is no progress happening anymore it is a sure sign of an exercise plateau,” he says. Challenge your body to grow stronger every day by revving up intensity, changing your technique, or increasing the time you spend working out. Need motivation? Try these 11 tricks to get moving again.


You’re not balanced

“If you can deadlift three times your body weight but go into cardiac arrest running a mile, you have worked too hard in one area of fitness and definitely need to change it up,” says Rudman. “A well-rounded fitness routine leaves you feeling strong all around, all muscle groups worked, and your cardio activity in check.”


You’re never sore

As much as we hate the feeling, sore muscles are a sign that your muscles are getting stronger. You don’t have to feel sore after every single workout at the gym, but if you never feel the sensation anymore, you’re likely not challenging any of your muscle groups. You might need to try heavier weights, exercising for longer, or even switching to a whole new routine altogether to get your body working harder. And if you are sore and need relief, you can try these at-home remedies to alleviate muscle pain.


You spend a lot of time socializing when you should be sweating

Working out with friends or a partner can have great benefits, but if you’re spending most of your time talking, you’re not going to get an effective workout. “If barre class ends and you literally don’t remember anything you just did because you talked to your girlfriend the whole time, that’s a clear sign you aren’t pushing yourself,” Rudman says. Maybe you’re bored, the class isn’t challenging enough, or it’s just the same old and has become total muscle memory, but whatever the reason, it’s time to switch it up. Try these hacks to make your workout more fun.


You’re getting injured

“Many people who do the same workouts get repetitive strain or overuse injuries,” says Meghan Kennihan, a certified personal trainer. This type of injury often occurs from doing lots of repetitive motions, such as running, cycling, or performing the same swimming stroke. If you mix up your workouts, you give those overused muscles, joints, and ligaments a chance to rest and recover.


You’re not getting your heart rate up

Raising your heart rate during exercise is important, as it can keep your resting heart rate lower, which in turn helps protect against heart disease and even keep your weight down, according to research from the American Journal of Epidemiology. By using a heart rate monitor, you’ll know to change up or intensify your routine, and ensure that you’re working in your target heart rate zone. “For a HIIT routine, your heart rate should be 80 percent of the max,” says Kennihan. “For an aerobic routine it should be around 65 to 70 percent of your max. If it is lower than that, time to switch up the routine and challenge your heart.” Ready to test your fitness level? See if you can pass these 10 everyday fitness tests.


It feels like a tedious task

If you feel like your workout is just another item to tick off your to-do list, it might be time to start doing something new. “Workouts should be inspiring and leave you feeling strong and empowered, not as if you just finished brushing your teeth or making your bed,” says Rudman. Choosing another activity you enjoy doing is not only good for your muscles, but for your mind as well, and there are plenty of unique exercise programs to try if you want something different.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest