In the age of fitness membership platforms such as ClassPass, which offers consumers access to hundreds of studios, high variability in workout routines for a single individual is more common than ever. You’ve heard it before:
Friend 1: “what do you do for workouts?”
Friend 2: “well on Mondays I do HIIT, Tuesdays I do yoga, Wednesdays I go to Pilates, Thursday I do spin, Fridays I do boxing…”
This phenomenon has also been labeled as “studio hopping”. Now don’t get me wrong I, like everyone else, like variability too. It’s nice to mix things up and keep things fresh and interesting. But if you’re also like me and like to see results, well I have some news for you: all that switching up of workouts each week is likely hindering your progress. Here’s why…
Getting stronger and fitter faster all comes down to one key element: progressive overload. Progressive overload refers to regularly and systematically increasing the demands you place on your body and it’s what training adaptations (aka results) are all about. So while switching things up keeps working out fun and interesting, sticking to a regular strength routine 3-4x per week for at least 8 weeks is where you’ll find the best results.
Now as simple as this concept might seem, it’s often overlooked and many sacrifice progressions in favor of novelty. So the result is, the benefits of your workouts end once you walk out the studio door and you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, never seeing the results you desire. The brain mistakes movement for achievement. Movement is great, but wouldn’t you like to see some tangible results for that hard work?
So how do you incorporate progressive overload exactly? All it means is that when an exercise becomes easy, you make it harder. We talk about this in Lagree all the time - we call them advancements. And those advancements are easy to make on the Megaformer because all it takes is a simple change in hand/body placement or an extra spring and voila, that lunge you’ve done 100 times just got a heck of a lot harder.
The other great thing about focusing on progressive overload? Mastering form. Form too is often overlooked in today’s group fitness era, but it also plays a huge role in obtaining results and preventing injury. If you only go to a studio once a week and do that lunge or deadlift once or twice in a month, how do you manage to master the form? In order to become better at any particular thing, you have to practice it regularly and consistently.
In addition, folks who hop from class to class are also often not in tune with their muscle imbalances. So continuing to exercise and reinforce those misaligned movement patterns can lead to problems, and ultimately injuries.
So what’s the answer? Do one type of workout only?? The general consensus among fitness experts is to streamline your routine by sticking to 3 days a week of strength training and 2 days of cardio. Simple as that. And that’s just for a minimum of an 8 week period. By that point your body will have had time to make physiological adaptations and if you feel like switching it up you can always opt for an alternative strength training program for another 2-month period. Not only that, but as long as you stay consistent with your strength training 3x per week you can still mix things up on the other days and switch up your cardio a bit.
So take it from me, someone who has tried nearly every workout under the sun and is a recovered studio hopper - if you want results, you gotta stick with a routine. Consistency isn’t just the key to career success, it’s the key to RESULTS in all aspects of life including fitness.