Have you ever found and started doing an exercise routine that you feel good doing, feel great afterward and can tell you are reaping big benefits?

Ah, you finally found it! The exercise routine of your dreams. You’re going to finally achieve the strength, flexibility, range of motion, great posture, and the toned, svelt look you always dreamed of. You always knew this was possible. And now you know what to do.

So every day — no, twice a day — for 30 minutes, you are going to repeat this very routine. And make your fitness dreams a reality.

And every morning you set your alarm for 5 am to make sure you do your routine first thing. And then you do it the second time right after work.

And you stick with it. But after a few weeks of disciplined routine, instead of feeling exhilarated and like you are very close to realizing your goal….. you don’t feel great like you did initially.

You don’t even feel like you are getting much benefit anymore. And you are starting to dread doing it…

Hey, what happened to those feel-good sensations and post workout benefits?

Your expectations are just not getting met anymore. It worked so great initially, why not now?

Guess what? There’s a reason. And it has to do with your brain and habits and learning.

You see, once you (and your brain) gets used to doing something a certain way, it becomes a habit. Meaning you have memorized the way you do it.

So you have been doing your memorization of the exercise.

This means that you are not available (and your brain’s not available) to be present to the YOU NOW. Which can be completely different than the YOU Yesterday.

What’s so bad about that? 

Well, it’s really the novelty, the newness and freshness that helps create the highest level of fitness — for your body and you guessed it — for your brain.

Once you get used to it, this means your brain is also used to it. And your muscles are used to it. Then your improvement plateaus.

You have basically squeezed every last drop of improvement that you could get out of that routine. And guess what?

That routine of your dreams can’t take you to the next level.

You see, the mistake you are making is in assuming it is THE Routine — the exact moves or exercises — and maybe even their order that are giving you the benefits and feel-good sensations.

But really, it has been the newness of it.

The newness of the routine called upon you and actually demanded from you, to move in a way you hadn’t moved recently or possible ever. So your muscles were able to get stronger, your range of motion and flexibility could increase.

Also note that when something is new and different, we are interested in it. And we are more likely to notice and pay attention to our experience while we are doing it. This means your brain is actively involved. (In neuroscience terms, your brain is making new connections.)

So how can you stop plateauing and instead continually increase and improve your fitness level?

  • Or try doing a whole new routine (but don’t let it become routine). Keep it fresh and alive with variations or different exercises each time.

To learn more about how to introduce more variation into your fitness and what your brain has to do with your movement health, read Anat Baniel’s book, Move Into Life. Variation is one of Anat Baniel’s Nine Essentials.

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