Humans are creatures of habit. I’ve written about this before, and it’s no less true than it was when I wrote specific posts about it. And despite this truth, habits can often have a nasty HABIT (see what I did, there?) of leaving us in a slump.
Take your fitness as a prime example. Remember a time when you found a workout that suited you. Maybe it was the style of workout. Maybe it was the specific exercises involved or the amount of sets or reps that were included. Maybe you started jogging or cycling the same route, day after day. No matter the reason, you enjoyed this workout and started doing it regularly.
The problem with this type of habit is that it can lead you into a slump. I know someone who always used to warm up with the same number of push-ups. Every workout, the exact same number of push-ups… His claim was that always doing the same number of any exercise allowed him to know his body well enough to realize if something was wrong, if a muscle was pulled or something in his body wasn’t quite right, he could compare it to the last time he did that specific number of push-ups. Although this sounds like a good theory, it is inherently flawed. You can’t grow and progress without pushing yourself beyond the limits you’ve imposed on yourself.
Imagine that every morning you wake up, have your coffee then head downstairs to your workout area to get a sweat on. You grab some 25-pound weights and do bicep curls for 3 sets of 20 reps. You do this same routine, every morning. Maybe you get a light sheen of sweat on your brow, maybe you don’t. The problem with this sort of a routine is that it doesn’t have the results that weight exercises SHOULD have.
When you weight lift, it causes microscopic tears in the muscle tissue. These tears cause the healing process of your body and encourages your body to develop to prevent that same damage in future workouts. This means that once you’ve gained everything you can out of those 3 sets of 20 reps, you either need to increase your weights, increase your sets or reps or start doing something different.
Routines can be a good thing. They’re constructive and can help you in many ways. Habits, however, are a different story and are what can cause a slump.
Don’t be afraid to change it up. If you’re a weightlifter, go take a bike ride. If you’re a marathon runner, do some light weights. One of the most difficult aspects of challenging yourself is being able to step outside of your comfort zone and do something different. ☯