I want to share a fundamental truth of training. One that’s as true of the athletes I coached at the Under Armor Performance Center ten years ago, as it is for the recreational trainees I coach now.
Chasing novelty is the fastest way to sabotage your progress and spin your wheels.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve taken on a frustrated new client, usually a program hopper, and helped them finally see progress by sticking to the same program for a significant amount of time.
Look, I get it. Following the same training program for months on end isn’t always exciting. We all like shiny new things, and it’s tempting to program-hop, or change your routine anytime it feels stale.
In fact, when I was coaching over a decade ago, I used to change their training programs every 4 weeks to keep things interesting.
I didn’t realize I was only slowing down their progress. 🤦♂️
Here’s the deal.
👉 Every time you perform a new exercise, it takes a few sessions before your body gets used to the new movement.
Your brain needs to learn how to perform the movement pattern, and the first few sessions will be spent simply adapting to your new program. Once you get a new movement grooved in, then you can start adding weight and tracking your progress over time.
If you’re changing your routine every four weeks, you’re resetting the cycle every month, going nowhere. 😬
To make things worse, tracking your workouts can make you feel even more confused.
After all, during that initial adaptation period, it’s common to be able to add more weight each week, so it feels like you’re getting stronger every week when you really have no way at all to tell what’s actually happening.
Anytime I add a new exercise, the first session feels awkward and I have to use lighter weights. I’m able to quickly add weight each session (for a few weeks) as I get used to the movement…
But that doesn’t mean I’m building more strength or muscle. 🙅♂️
👉 Constantly changing up your exercises every few weeks only leads to confusion and suboptimal results.
- Follow your program for as long as it keeps producing results.
- Use an appropriate progression model.
- Tweak it only when necessary to break a plateau.
Some of the best gains clients have made came from following the same base routine for a year. This may be true for you also.
Stop chasing novelty; you’ll start seeing progress.