Hate to break it: But your workout might not be helping you as much as it could. Truth here is, you cannot go through the same exercise program over and over again and expect to see a change in results – it’s important to change your training routine periodically to give your body the progressive stimulus it needs to recover, grow and strengthen.

Thankfully, there are common signs that show its time for a workout change. If you ignore them, you could get bored, plateau, get poor results and even quit altogether. But if you pay attention to the signs, you’ll overcome previous boundaries and make continual improvements toward your goals.

1. You’re losing interest in your workouts

Let’s be realistic: If you’re doing the same routine, same exercises, same load, in the same order – its only a matter of time until your mind and your body will get bored. And since losing interest in working out is one of the main reasons people quit their exercise regime, you need to address what’s losing your interest, fast.

If someone is bored with their workout, it can be because they have no incentive or goal they want bad enough in the first place. A suggestion could be attach yourself to a performance based goal where improving your lower body endurance will complement your preferred sport, if hiking, being an example. This will can give you purpose in your training and make working out less boring.

2. You’re not seeing the results you want

If you’re not seeing the fat loss or muscle gains you’re wanting, you’ve probably reached a plateau and its time change things up.

As the saying goes, “The proof is in the pudding”.

There’s a process that happens with your body when you start a new training plan (its called the “General Adaption Syndrome”). First, the new workout routine is a shock to your body, which forces it to develop and grow, at the same time getting stronger and burning more calories as a result. Over time, however, your body gets accustomed to training within its comfort zones, and you’ll need more stimulus for both muscle gain and fat loss.

To avoid going in circles, change your workout program every 8-12 weeks. That’s enough time to get the most from and develop through your program without worrying about staying the same or getting bored.

3. You’re losing strength

Reasons to Change Your Workout Now

Nothing’s worst than hitting the gym for a period of time and actually seeing hardly any difference in strength. If you’re logging your training and there’s no increase in volume, meaning: repetitions, weight or sets, good chance is you’re likely doing too much and not allowing enough time to recover. Guys are often quick to ask me about the latest supplement they should take to get to their goals – save yourself some £££ and take a look at your exercise program, nutrition and get some decent sleep.

4. You’re doing what you “want”, not you “need” to be doing

If you write your own exercise program, chances are you’re doing the exercises you like and will avoid the ones you don’t like. Yet it’s the exercises that you don’t like doing that will probably get you best overall results over time. Leg exercises, back exercises, functional movements and short cardio blasts are usually top of that list.

Make sure your workout program includes at least two of the following:

  • Squat variations
  • Pull movements or row variations
  • Lunge variations
  • A deadlift
  • An upper body press or push variation

If you work on these essential exercises, you’ll be well on your way to real, total-body results.

If you reckon strength training is only for athletes or bodybuilders, it’s time to challenge that assumption. Strength training can offer many of us a heap of unique benefits, whether you’re lifting heavy barbells, swinging kettle bells or cranking out body weight moves at home.

Here are seven benefits you can get from strength training:

1.  Healthy, strong bones

As we age our bones gradually weaken, making them more susceptible to breaks or fractures. To keep your bones strong and sturdy, you need to keep challenging them. Strength training is one of the most effective bone-strengthening weapons according to a  research review in clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism.

“[Strength training makes] the muscles pull on the bones, causing them to slightly bend and ‘squeeze,’” says Michele Olson, PhD, FACSM., a senior clinical professor at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. This “squeeze,” she says, increases the process of turning over and laying down new bone.

2. Improved balance

Of course so many people experience bone breaks from falling. Some of strength training’s benefit in protecting against osteoporosis may be improved strength and balance, resulting in fewer falls. Indeed research suggests that various resistance routines can reduce an older person’s rate of falling by around 30 percent.

3. You can do it under 30 minutes

Adding strength work to your regular exercise routine doesn’t have to eat up the tiny bit of free time you had left in the day. In fact, lifting is one area where more is not always better – between 30 to 60 minutes twice a week is plenty.

4. Curbs anxiety

New research from the University of Limerick, Ireland, reveals that lifting weights can ease anxiety, especially when done in group settings. After analyzing 16 studies on more than 900 subjects, researchers discovered that resistance training 2–3 times per week significantly improved anxiety symptoms. To keep anxiety away, grab a buddy for a group lifting session at least two times per week.

5. Boosts sports performance

Just as strength training can help you stay injury-free, it can also elevate your performance in your sport or activity. “Strong muscles will be better able to produce greater force, generate greater power and sustain for longer duration before fatigue or failure,” Hamilton explains.

How you structure your strength programme depends on your sport or activity. For example, if you’re an endurance athlete, you’ll benefit most from higher-repetition exercises (15 reps or more). If you prefer to play basketball or rugby, aim for lower-rep exercises in an explosion motion (6 reps or fewer) to build power.

6. Injury prevention

If you take part in recreational sports, bike or like run, strength training regularly can keep you healthy and injury-free. Many running and sport related injuries are caused by muscle weaknesses. For example, if runners experience knee injuries, this can be traced to weakness in the hip muscles. Strengthening this and other sport specific muscles can lessen the impact on your joints, tendons and ligaments, keeping your running, jumping and lunging safer.

If you’re currently injury-free, you can maintain adequate strength with a couple of workouts per week. On the other hand, if you currently need to address any weaknesses, plan on doing specific rehab exercises 3-5 times per week.

7. Strength adds to muscle quality

A stronger muscle has more potential to do everything better. It’s capable of generating more power, building up more stamina, and taking pressure off your joints and connective tissues. And nothing builds strength like the progressive overload offered by strength training. It’s simple—get stronger and your performance potential instantly goes up.