I think the biggest issue with fitness programs today is the lack of periodization. You may be asking, what is this? Periodization is basically breaking your workouts out into periods. For example, when just getting started you may have a 3-6 month foundation cycle. This is where you will build your foundation skills, like balance, proper technique and routine. In the beginning you will see major improvements, however if you continue with this, improvements will decrease and you will plateau. You must transition to another cycle or “period”. This may be a 3 month endurance strength training program for example. This goes on and on, forever.
The reason is so you are always challenging yourself. My programs are all 3 months long for this reason. Each time you finish a program, you choose a new program that’s just a little bit harder. By doing so you gain strength, speed, cardiovascular endurance, or whatever else you are trying to improve. You may also choose to go back to the same program with heavier weights and that is good too.
Athlete’s use this technique to prepare on and off seasons. It is proven to work and it’s also proven to be necessary. It makes sense, right? If you do the same workout all the time, you will get the same results. You have to keep switching it up.
It’s also important to have a rest cycle. No, this does not mean you take 3 months off and do no exercise. It is important to take that time to do some light exercise though. Take a break from strength training and do some yoga, or Tai Chi for a couple months. You may think you will lose some strength and initially you may lose a little, however, in the end it will make you stronger and faster and you will far advance where you were when you took a break. Your body needs rest. The last thing you want to do is over-train and not be able to do anything until you recover. This happens to people all the time who try to do too much for too long and never rest.