Adapt Your Training as Your Body Adapts.

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Question: I have been using a “Crossfit” routine for my cardio for a few weeks now and in the beginning it was very effective in reducing bodyfat and burning calories. I use a “BodyBugg” like you have written about to monitor calorie burn and my readings continue to drop lower and lower. Why is that? I run the routine with the same intensity and actually have reduced my time while getting the same amount of work.
Answer: These bodies we live in are amazing in their ability to adapt to stress, survive or even thrive in adverse conditions whether it is real life or in a training routine. The workout, when you began doing it, was something so completely different from what you were used to doing that you had to find a new gear to complete the routine and you burned a ton of calories doing it. Now you train even harder, completing the required exercises in even less time and you don’t feel like you were hit by a truck when you finish. I suspect that the number of calories you burned when you began training with the routine was at least 10% higher than you burn now. You have adapted to the stress load and are able to do the workout more efficiently. The same thing happens to runners and anyone training in the gym. Unless you change the applied stress load you will get diminishing returns in the form of calories burned or muscle built for your efforts.
That is why lifters, strength coaches and trainers use Periodization, rotating training, or training cycles to insure that you can get the most results for your efforts for as long as possible. The key to whichever routine you use is variety. What is very difficult and exhausting the first couple of times you do it will become challenging but not so overwhelming as you adapt to it. In your case, with your training you could do a couple of things. If you enjoy the exercises you do and they are working for you then consider shuffling the order of the exercises in your routine. A second option would be to change the rep ranges. A third possibility is to find similar exercises and substitute them for some or all of the exercises you currently do essentially creating a second routine you can rotate. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
For the runners who run for fitness try running a long course for your first run. Your second run could be the same course but with sprint intervals spaced through the workout. For your third run challenge yourself with hill sprints. Change the course of your run frequently and enjoy continued results for your efforts. For football players use intervals set up as 10 second sprints followed by a 20 second rest spaced into sets of 10 sprints with a 3 minute rest. The workout would consist of 50 sprints total. Your next conditioning workout would be a one to one and a half mile run. A third workout would be stadium steps or hill sprints.
Whatever your training routine includes continually change it or get a trainer to change it for you. You will continue to get the results you want for the effort you are putting into it.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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