6 Signs it's Time to Change Up Your Workout Routine

Learn how to identify the different signs that your body might be showing when you need a new and different workout routine.

6 Signs it's Time to Change Up Your Workout Routine
Photo by Alonso Reyes / Unsplash
María Rubio María Rubio
7 min read

If you’ve been on a fitness journey for quite some time, you might already know the importance of changing your workout routine as you go to make sure you’re getting closer to your goals. Maybe you need to use heavier weights or do completely different exercises, but change is something that needs to happen at some point.

Now, it can get tricky when it comes to knowing when to change your routine. It’s not as easy as choosing one specific day each month and just changing your whole setup, because everybody’s different. Some people might need more time with a routine than others, and that’s perfectly fine!

So, how often should you change your workout routine?

In order to know, you need to look for signs that your body needs it. We’re going to show you the six most common signs, so you can identify them early on and change your routine on time to avoid hitting a workout plateau!

You get through your workouts easily

Workout programs are supposed to be a challenge for you and your muscles, leaving you tired and sweaty after each session. But what if you finish your workouts with ease? Are they still effective for you? Well, the answer is no!

Each workout session should get progressively more difficult from start to finish as your muscles move during your different exercises, and the goal should be to finish your workouts exhausted. If by the end of your session you feel like you could keep going because you still have enough energy in you, that means that your current routine isn’t working for you anymore.

There are levels to fitness, ranging from beginner all the way up to advanced, and not everyone’s going to be at the exact same level – some might be able to do more push-ups, but others might get through a set of squats more easily. But what every person with a fitness goal has in common is that the workouts need to be challenging enough for them.

The idea behind a fitness routine is to challenge your body in a way that works for your goals so you can push it toward that goal and achieve it eventually. If you’re not pushing your body, you’re not getting to that goal. So, if you notice you’ve been having an easier time at the gym than before and your last reps don’t feel as difficult, it’s time to switch up your workouts!

You’re getting bored

This is a fairly common one and the reason why so many people give up on the gym after a while. They think that it’s boring because it might get too repetitive, but it doesn’t have to be!

A huge part of a successful fitness routine is variety and keeping your workouts fun for yourself. What’s fun for some may not be fun for others, so it’s important to make sure that your workout has what it takes to keep your attention. This doesn’t mean that you’ll find the perfect workout and stick with it forever – that’s also part of the problem.

Getting too comfortable with your workout and being used to doing the same movements every day can also get boring at some point. If it works for you and it still gives your body a good challenge, that’s great! But if you’re becoming more irritable or moody each time you have to work out, it’s probably because you’re already bored of doing the same routine over and over again.

A good way to prevent this is by writing down all your favorite exercises along with their variations and doing a healthy rotation of those exercises. This way, you don’t have to say goodbye to your favorite movements forever or risk getting bored of them. Instead, keep your workouts fun and fresh (and well-rounded!) by adding enough variety to them.

Additionally, try changing up your workout space! Your workout routine is mostly what exercises you do, but your environment also has a big impact on your mood. If you usually work out at the gym, try changing things up a little and exercise at the park one or two days per week, or try working out from home on the weekends and see how you feel!

You have a new fitness goal

Naturally, during exercise, your body is constantly changing. Sometimes you get closer to your goals, sometimes it’s the opposite, or maybe you were in the middle of your journey and realized you don’t want that goal anymore and want to change your fitness perspective. Everything’s valid!

This might be the most obvious sign that you need a new workout routine, but it can also be the reason why people go so long without reaching their goals. For example, if your goal used to be to grow a stronger upper body, but now you want to focus on your lower body instead, adding a couple of lunges to your routine won’t really do the trick.

When your goals change, your whole routine should change with it. To have a well-rounded workout routine, you shouldn’t neglect any areas of your body, but you also shouldn’t overtrain those areas where you want to get stronger. It’s all about balance, so if your goals have changed for any reason, make sure you stop for a moment to completely rethink your routine so you can reach your new goals faster!

You’re not seeing any progress

Maybe you love your workout style, enjoy all the exercises that you perform, and the environment you’re in is comfortable… But what if it’s not getting you anywhere?

If you’ve been going hard at the gym and still feel like you’re not making any progress toward your goals, maybe you’ve hit a workout plateau. Hitting a plateau means that your body has gotten used to your workouts by now, so they’re not challenging your body anymore. This happens over time, with your workouts being less and less effective each time and slowing down your progress until you’re not making any progress at all.

And it can also go backward! When you hit a plateau and stay there for a while, not only you will be stuck without making progress, but you’ll also risk losing the progress that you’ve made so far. Your muscles need constant stimulus to grow bigger and stronger, and if they’re not getting any, they will regress to the way they were before.

Now, just because you don’t see any progress in the mirror doesn’t mean that you’re not getting anywhere. Progress starts slow and from within, so be patient if you’re just starting with a new routine and getting used to it. But if you’ve been doing that routine for a while, eventually made progress, and then suddenly stopped advancing in your journey… Then it might be time to change some things! Whether it’s the volume, the intensity, the load, or something completely different, changing your routine will help you get out of that plateau.

Your appetite is low

There are two reasons why you might be eating less than usual, or craving food less often than usual, and both could be a sign that you need a new workout routine.

The first reason is overtraining. If your routine is too tough for your body and your muscles specifically, not only will you risk an injury while working out, but your metabolism will suffer. Fatigued muscles mean fatigued muscle receptors as well, and these receptors are the ones in charge of responding to calories. If your body is too overtrained to be able to respond properly, you lose your appetite, and not eating enough isn’t good for any goal!

The second reason, and one that has a lot to do with previous signs that we talked about, is not having a challenging enough workout. So, the complete opposite, but it has the same results… Why?

Well, our bodies need three macronutrients to stay healthy, which are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. When it comes to working out and building muscle, protein is a key player because it’s the one in charge of repairing damaged muscle. And carbs are the ones that provide your body with energy, which should get depleted almost completely during a workout.

If your workout isn’t challenging enough, your muscle fibers and energy won’t suffer as much, so your body won’t need as much protein and carbs as if you were training really hard, causing a decrease in appetite. Your diet is equally as important as your workout routine, so if one is affecting the other, consider changing things up so you can keep making progress safely!

You’re not sore after your workout

Lastly, but not less important, feeling sore after a high-intensity workout is the universal experience of all active people. It’s almost an indicator that your workout went well – unless the soreness turns into pain, which can also be another reason to change your workouts!

But if you’re not even feeling sore, or you are but just slightly, after what’s supposed to be a complete high-intensity workout, then your routine probably isn’t doing it for you. More specifically, it means that your muscles have not suffered enough damage, which might sound bad, but that’s actually the goal of any strength and resistance training journey.

Damage, repair, growth. That is the muscle-building cycle, and a common sign that you’re going through that cycle is soreness post-workout, maybe right after you’re done, a couple of hours later, or the next day. But soreness eventually comes, and if not, it might be time to turn it up a notch at the gym!

We know that growing attached to workout plans might happen more often than not, maybe because it’s a really fun routine to do, or because it has helped you make a lot of progress in the past. But there comes a time when you need to change it, and while it could be for a variety of different reasons, you just need to embrace change so your muscles can have the opportunity to keep progressing!

Need a completely new workout routine or ideas to spice up your current one?

Try the Fit With Iulia app! The app offers new goal-focused workouts every week created by Iulia herself so you can get closer to your strength training and weight loss goals in no time. Try your first workout for free by downloading the Fit With Iulia app, choosing a goal, and trying the first workout of any goal – no subscription required!