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Breaking Out of Your Exercise Rut

Jackie Wright / The Fitness Trail
Grand County, CO Colorado

It happens to just about everyone eventually – the dreaded exercise rut. And, in many cases the rut may lead to poor exercise results, lack of adherence, and eventually to dropout.

The key is to head off the rut at the pass by adhering to these rut-prevention strategies. Consequently, over the next two weeks we will highlight several strategies to help you avoid exercise rut. As always, consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program.

Exercise Rut-Prevention Strategies



S.A.I.D. Principle – Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands states that your body will generally adapt to the demands imposed upon it. Consequently, to be good at something, you must do it regularly, and once you have been performing that activity for a period of time, you may need to modify it since the body will generally adapt. Once adaptation occurs, you may actually begin to lose your edge (i.e. fitness level), unless you incorporate the following strategies:

Cross Training – Variety is the spice of life and exercise programs. Therefore, create a varied program that incorporates cross training concepts enabling you to perform different training modalities within each program.



An example of cross training would be performing a different activity in conjunction with your primary activity. If your primary activity is cycling, then perhaps you will cycle M/W/F, go for a run on T/Th and alpine ski on Saturdays. This provides your body with non-weight-bearing cardio on M/W/F, weight bearing cardio on T/Th and Saturdays which “shakes” up the mental/physical aspects to your program helping to prevent exercise plateaus, overuse injuries and ruts.

Periodization – The basic concept of periodization simply means that you periodically change the frequency, intensity, time or type of exercise (i.e. F.I.T.T. Principle). This can become more detailed by creating macrocycles, mesocycles and microcycles of training. However, you can keep it simple by changing one of the F.I.T.T. principles at a time throughout the course of the year. However, if you are preparing for an endurance event, you may want to enlist the services of a certified, qualified fitness professional to assist you in preparation for the event, and they will certainly employ the concept of periodization as it is critical to ensure peak performance.

Progressive Overload – This principle states that you must progressively increase overload on the body to continue improving your performance (i.e. S.A.I.D. Principle). An example of progressive overload during muscular strength training would be to increase the number of repetitions and then the increment of weight lifted over a period of time. The general rule of thumb is to begin at a weight increment which will momentarily cause the muscle to fail in eight repetitions, then 10, then 12. Once you have mastered 12 reps at that weight increment, it may be time to increase the increment by approximately 2.5 percent and begin the progression again (i.e. eight, 10, and 12). This may enable the body to adapt to each level of load, safely progressing to the next, more challenging level.

Stay tuned for next week’s column with more rut-prevention strategies.

– Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness LLC in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net and her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com


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