I have DVD programs for cardio, strength training, and yoga, and I’ve relied on these for years. On running days, I wake up and I jog the same trail, albeit different distances, on a regular basis. There are good reasons to avoid the same routines and paths, but I embrace the repetition.
Today was a strength day, so I whipped out my barbell set and selected a DVD from my strength program. The workout was surprisingly easy. When I am well, I can finish the hour-long program in an hour. I compare that to two days ago, when I was in the early stages of recovering from a cold. Fatigued, and probably a little behind on calories, I had to stop every 5-10 minutes for a short break. Tuesday’s hour-long workout took more like 75 minutes.
I like doing familiar routines because it allows me to objectively assess how I’m doing that day. Am I phoning it in, or am I doing my best, even though my performance is lacking? Did I eat enough, did I eat the right foods? Am I doing too much? Should I stretch or rest tomorrow because my body needs a break?
I can ask myself these questions because the routines leave mental space available for contemplation. I think it’s important to tune in daily and assess how you’re doing – mentally, physically, and in all areas really. Since I typically exercise early in the day, I can adjust my plans based on what I’m discovering in my early morning movement.
Do I ever bring in new programs/routes? Yes, whenever it’s time! After all, the point of the sameness is listening to what my body needs. And every once in a while, it asks for something new.