If variety is the spice of life, why does routine make me so darn happy?

In my roles as a fitness trainer and healthy lifestyle coach I frequently talk to my clients about the importance of cross-training and eating a wide variety of healthy foods each day.

Cross-training, or the inclusion of a number of different types of exercise in your fitness plan, confuses your muscles, prevents boredom and reduces the likelihood of repetitive strain injuries.

Similarly, including lots of different colors, textures and food types in your diet ensures that your body gets all the nutrients it needs, keeping you healthy and providing you with the energy you need to get through your busy day.

Clearly, variety in both fitness and nutrition is good! Yet despite the benefits of a varied diet and exercise routine, many of us are more successful at reaching our health goals when we limit our options and stick to a schedule.

How can we reconcile the two? Why not plan your variety?

I’m fortunate, that in my job as a group fitness instructor, my weekly schedule includes teaching a variety of class types; spinning, step aerobics and muscular endurance training (lighter weights, lots of reps). The days that I do each type of workout are rigidly scheduled. Typically, I add an extra couple of pure strength training sessions in the gym (heavy weights, few reps). Lots of variety, but a schedule that I religiously adhere to.

Planned variety.

In the kitchen, I’m also fairly consistent (some would say ‘boring’ 🙂 ) in what I eat for breakfast, lunch and snacks. I have several options for each meal that I swap out from day to day.

For example;

  • Breakfast is always either overnight oats with fruit (berries, banana, apricot, pear or apple) and nuts or nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew or pumpkin) or eggs with leafy greens (spinach, kale or swiss chard; all from my kitchen garden) and sauteed veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms or tomatoes).
  • Lunch is a salad with protein (chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, shrimp or eggs) the specific ingredients vary with what’s in the fridge (and what needs to be eaten before it’s past it’s prime or picked before it bolts!).
  • Snacks are either fruit and nuts (only a handful) a whey protein shake or a homemade protein bar.
  • Dinner is always some sort of lean protein and a bunch of veggies, either steamed, roasted, stir fried or served in a salad.

By choosing from standard options I know that I’m meeting my daily protein, fat and carbohydrate goals. By switching up the specific ingredients in my standard options I know I’m getting a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.

Again, planned variety.

Knowing ahead of time what my day will look like in terms of exercise and nutrition helps me keep my health and fitness goals on track. For me, planned variety is the spice of life.

Do you keep a strict exercise and nutrition schedule?
Do you plan for variety like I do?

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Comments

  1. I LOVE my routine but also plan in some variety with both food and exercise.

    I worry about falling into that body adapting thing with exercise. I ran a lot last year with absolutely no change and realizing now diet was probably a part, a trainer friend also helped me realize my body probably adapted to my diet and exercise routine….so in fear of that a little, I always shake it up here and there.

    My lunchtime salads are a mix of greens with added whatever I need to eat up too! HA.

    Waste not right???

    Have a great weekend my friend!

    • I hear you about the whole plateauing thing.
      Even though I do lots of different types of exercise, I like to mix up the specific weight training exercises I do every couple of weeks AS WELL AS changing my rep and set numbers. It’s amazing how fast your body adapts to 10 reps of exercise Y. Try doing 15 and see how hard it is! It’s like your brain says ‘sorry, done already’ at rep 11…

      We had a quiet weekend. Some walks, a kids movie and lace knitting for me!