Specificity - Don’t Let Your Exercise Go Stale

We are very adaptable creatures. Part of our success as a species lies in the fact that we have been able to adapt and live in differing conditions and climates over all these years. As a health and fitness blog and you may be thinking, this has nothing to do with you going to the gym or your regular spin class, but I’m afraid it does…

The reason is a little thing called Specificity.

In order to make us better acclimatised to our surroundings, the body responds to external stresses by making physical adaptations to make our life easier and make us more efficient in the energy we expend. The same is true when we exercise, as exercise itself is a stress.

Just think about the first time you did that spin class, it felt like you were going to die didn't it?! You were out of breath, sweating and for the next 48 hours. You were sore as hell…

Now what about the second time? Or the third time? My guess is that they were nowhere near as bad and the more classes we do post that first session, they have become progressively easier.

The reason is that your body has made the required changes to make the activity easier for you. Things such as increasing the amount of blood your heart pumps per beat, the efficiency of your lungs, the strength of your legs. These have all led to you having to expend less energy each time as your body becomes more familiar with the activity.

You may tell me that the calorie counter on your spin bike still reads the same but I would argue that they have some preset average settings that just doesn't cut it here. So that's the bad news, how do we use it?

Being efficient is great for calorie burn and therefore weight loss.

Instead of mindlessly doing the same workout or exercise class, keep things fresh. Try different workouts and classes that challenge your body in new ways.

This will lead to your body having to make a new set of adaptations and therefore make you more efficient in dealing with the new stress. What does this mean? More calories consumed and more fat burned. Great news!

So if you’re feeling like your routine has all gone a bit stale, don't be afraid to switch up your training and you will make some real headway.