When most people go to the gym, they spend the majority of their time on a single machine, usually a cross-trainer, exercise bike, rowing machine, or treadmill. Using those machines can certainly improve your health, but you should really think about adopting a varied workout routine.
Exercise revolutions such as CrossFit have developed workout routines which involve multiple different exercises, so you're never doing the same thing for more than a minute or two. It's an approach that comes with some very compelling benefits, and here are just four.
1. Improved Overall Fitness
Probably the most important reason to adopt a varied workout routine is that doing so will give you a more well-rounded sense of fitness. It only really makes sense to spend all your time rowing, cycling, or running if you're an athlete who needs to focus entirely on that sport, but most people just want to be healthier. Continuously switching up the exercises you perform trains all your muscles, joints, and ligaments equally. This has the added benefit of making you fitter for everyday life and preventing balance issues between opposing muscles. You'll even keep your brain fitter by making it adapt to new movements.
2. Hard to Lose Interest
It can get pretty boring on a traditional cardio machine because you have to be on them for quite some time. In fact, many modern machines include inbuilt TVs to prevent boredom – that's nice, but it really only draws attention to the problem. When you vary your workouts constantly through a single session, you don't have a chance to get bored – it's very hard to lose interest in what you're doing.
3. Freedom to Push Yourself
Traditional cardio machines work more through endurance – if you go on a running machine, you probably jog fairly evenly for around 20 to 40 minutes. You can't really push yourself because you need to keep doing the same exercise. With a varied workout regime, the intensity is much higher, and you're generally encouraged to push yourself as hard as you can. That might sound tough – and it is – but it's also more enjoyable than simply working at your comfort level.
4. Time Efficient
Because you're driving up the intensity during a varied workout regime, you'll be able to complete your workout faster. Performing a circuit of different plyometric exercises for 15 minutes, for example, is almost certainly going to burn more calories and use more energy than jogging on a treadmill for 30 minutes. In today's busy world, that's an advantage you can't really afford to ignore.