5 Tell Tale Signs to Break Up With Your Routine

change workout routine

Dec 5, 2014

We all find ourselves in situations where we stop growing.

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Regardless of our training status (beginner or advanced) we all come to a grinding halt at some point in time and for whatever reason, we can't seem to get our bodies back on track. It's frustrating because no matter how hard we train or how much we eat, our bodies refuse to grow. What's the problem?

I've got some news for you; the problem may not be you but rather your weight training routine. That's right; your precious routine that once performed magic on your muscles may now be sabotaging your efforts and keeping you from reaching that next level of muscular development. Here are 5 tell-tale signs that you're routine has stopped working and is now sabotaging your development (break up time):

1) You Stop Improving

Build lean muscle mass is all about improving. It doesn't happen overnight nor does it happen in linear fashion. It happens by making small improvements workout after workout, week after week and month after month. The number one progress marker for improvements is strength gains . If you stopped making strength gains for any period longer than 3 weeks, it's time to break up with your routine. Save yourself a lot of time and effort and switch your routine up and try something new and exciting. Perhaps try a giant set type workout for 4 to 6 weeks to jump start your gains.

If you've stopped making strength gains, try taking a week off and head back into the gym with a brand new routine. I personally enjoy trying doing something different like a 20 x 20 routine , down the racks , or pre exhaust type routines .

2) You're Bored

To build muscle you need to be pumped and excited. You CANNOT show up to the gym and simply go through the motions and expect results. Getting strong and improving is all about excitement and if you're bored out of your skull in the gym, you're not going to improve and therefore build muscle.

If you find yourself getting into the habit (any longer than 2 or 3 weeks) of thinking about anything other than attacking your next set, it's time to break up with your routine. If you're not excited and looking forward to hitting the gym, you're most likely bored with your routine. It's time for a change.

As with above, try something totally different. In addition, try listening to different music (invest in an .mp3 player) which gets your blood going. Gym music tends to be bland and repetitive. You may want to try something totally different that really gets you excited at the prospect of growing. Try this cool trick here for something different.

3) You're Tired and Exhausted

When it comes to weight training, one of our goals is to feel better about ourselves. We want to feel strong, confident and energized. It's one of the perks about getting into shape. However, building muscle is hard work. It takes a lot of time, effort and patience but remember a good routine will rejuvenate the body. Sure, you're going to feel a little tired and sore after a workout but that should only last a few hours. If you find yourself constantly sore, tired and exhausted (for any longer than 2 or 3 weeks) you may have bitten off a little more than you can chew.

Let me give you a personal example. Back in the day, I used to try and do all the top pro's training routines. I remember following the Arnold routine that had me performing 20 to 25 sets per body part and going to the gym 6 days a week. It was crazy because I was this skinny 17 year old kid trying to use a training routine that was meant for a seasoned, steroid enhanced bodybuilder. The routine tore me down physically and mentally. I was in a constant state of exhaustion and I actually lost strength and muscle mass. Only after I drastically changed my training routine did I start to grow again. I started to enjoy training again and once that happened, I started to get stronger.

Being tired, exhausted and sore most of the time sucks and it'll only be a matter of time before you either quit, get injured or start losing muscle mass. Get a routine that is more in line to your lifestyle, goals and training level. Remember, recovery is the key to building muscle and if you're always in a state of muscle breakdown, you're going to start losing muscle.

If you're routine is killing you, it's time to break up with that routine and try something that you enjoy.

4) Your Routine Doesn't Offer Anymore Challenges

This is an easy trap to fall into. We often find ourselves in what is called the “training comfort zone” where we lose the zest to try anything new and exciting. For a lot of us, we've been using the same routine over and over until it becomes a part of who we are as weight trainers. We've become complacent with our routine and it just doesn't offer the same challenge that it once did.

If your routine doesn't challenge you, it's time to end it and break it off. Believe me; you're not doing yourself any favours by sticking with an unchallenging routine. If you're absolutely in love with your old routine, you don't have to completely change it up, simply add in some intensity boosting elements.

Try racing the clock where you perform your normal routine in a half hour instead of an hour. Or try using drop sets after your compound movement. Perhaps even doing 20, 30, or 50 rep sets which will have your begging for mercy after each set (works like gang busters on squats!). The point is to get out of your comfort zone and try something that will offer a challenge. Remember, the harder you work at improving the better your chance at building additional muscle. The only way to do this is to use a routine that challenges you.

5) You're Living in the Gym

If you're spending two or three plus hours in the gym on a daily basis, you may have a routine that is way too long. Muscle growth is a direct result of progressive intensity. This means brief and hard workout sessions. Spending three hours in the gym simply isn't productive and may be working against you. Muscle growth happens when you're recovering and the sooner you get out of the gym the better.

If your routine has you in the gym for two plus hours, it's time to break up with your routine.

If your routine is too long, try the following:

•  Cut down on the sets - try doing 3 or 4 sets with one main work set

•  Do two to three exercises per body part (no need to do anymore)

•  Do one main compound exercise for each body part preferably at the start of your workout session

•  Rest about one minute in between sets

•  Cut out the chit chat - save it for after your workout

•  No phones and NO TEXTING - save it for after the workout

•  Watch the clock and make sure you're keeping your weight training time to one hour or less

The fact of the matter is that we're all built differently. There is no such thing as “one-size-fits-all” type routine so it will be well worth while to try and customize a routine that fits:

•  Your lifestyle and personal schedule

•  Your age

•  Your gender

•  Your training level (beginner, intermediate or advanced)

•  Goals

•  Body type (skinny, medium or stocky)

Try heading over to Kyle Leon's site called “Somanabolic Muscle Maximizer”. It uses a neat piece of software that customizes eating plans, menus and weight training program according to your body type, gender, age, weight, and metabolism. It's pretty cool. I think the price tag is about $47 but well worth it since it will save you a lot of time trying to figure all this stuff out. Click here to go to his site or read my review here.

If you have any questions, please let me know at:


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As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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