Why does variety really matter?
If you only have two minutes, then read the five top reasons for why variety matters in exercise.
But if you have more time, then I would love you to read my story on why variety really matters to me.
WHY? BITESIZE VERSION
- Break-up your routine to keep it fun and interesting – and combat boredom!
- Breakthrough a weight loss plateau – trying new things means your body has to work harder!
- Prevent the over use of muscles – by switching up muscle groups
- Build (new) muscle –ever heard the saying “never skip leg day?”
- GET EXCITED – trying new things means you may find something new to enjoy
WHY DOES VARIETY MATTER TO ME?
I like to think about variety in a similar vein to meals when it comes to exercise.
We've all heard about a balanced palate when it comes to our food - e.g. our plate needs to be made up of a mix of carbs, fats and protein. Exercise is no different! We need to have a well-rounded exercise routine in order to stick to it, in order to make it fun and in order to work all parts of our body!
When I first started my “get fit or die tryin” journey in my early 20s, most days I would spend an hour on the cross-trainer. Initially, it was okay – I would stick an episode of Netflix on, and the 45 – 60 mins would pass by. But once I finished my series (or worse – forgot my headphones! *insert crying emoji*), I realised how incredibly tedious it was. I needed a change – and FAST – otherwise the gym trips probably would have died out…
So what did I do to switch it up? I needed to do something. I battled against the demons in my mind and decided I was going to try some classes at the gym. I started off doing Zumba, then progressed to Les Mills classes (a mixture of HIIT, weights and kickboxing type classes). I cannot stress how this changed my trips to the gym. Because each class was so different, it didn’t feel so much like a chore, because I was doing something different every day. It also meant that because I had a few days e.g. between doing my weights class (Body Pump to you fellow Les-Millsers), as I was doing my Body Combat or Attack classes in between, I would positively get excited for my next Pump class!
AND THE WEIGHT CAME OFF.
Note – this is not a weight loss story. Yes – my journey began as a weight loss story (and I lost loads!). But the point is that because I was switching it up, I didn’t fall off the bandwagon (due to boredom) and I kept at it. What began as an aesthetic goal…well, let's just say I now skip evening dinners to go to the gym (yes, I am now that person…). The variety made exercise not feel like a chore and instead, it became something very different. I train for such very different reasons now – and this comes down to the variety in my training schedule.
I’m aware of how new age, millennial I’m about to sound right now… but training has turned into a hobby for me. Literally – I will tell my friends that I’m busy so I can attend a gym class with some of my favourite instructors. IT IS THAT DEEP.
These days, I do a mixture of running and HIIT classes, boxing, and weights. This variety in my training schedule means:
- I can let certain muscle groups rest when they are sore whilst I use others e.g. when I am positively dying from leg day, I go to a boxing class (to the vibiest tunes – Kobox and Victus Soul in London are my favesss!). It means that I can still train but still give those other muscles a rest (active recovery to a whole other level…). I have specific muscle group days which helps with not overusing muscles!
- The variety has improved my confidence both in the gym and beyond…because I am constantly pushing myself out of my comfort zone (by working different muscles, by trying different workouts and classes), I’ve become more confident in myself. The girl who used to be scared to say 'hello' to her colleagues in the morning is NO MORE….
- I actually feel the excitement when I haven’t done a certain class in a little while! I kid you not…when I have a bad day I genuinely look forward to a boxing class so that I can go and punch the cr** out of something. It makes me feel better, and I’ve burnt hella lot of calories in the process!
- I get to meet some of the coolest and best instructors…I now know what good form looks like…because I’ve attended so many different types of workouts and classes…(y’all think I could go for a career change…feel like I could totally be a PT…)
- Fun fact… I switched up my workouts about a year ago after falling into a little plateau… and since then I’ve lost 14% of my body weight… and I like to go around asking people to feel my bicep because I feel that DAMN STRONG these days
I will leave it there for now…but…
Hit us up if you’d like to know about my fave classes, instructors, and support on how to mix up your schedules!