Whether you sweat for an hour a week or an hour a day, there are a lot of factors that affect how much you’re really going to gain from gym. One of the most important: Consistency and timing. You have to stick with a routine to see results—but not for too long or you won’t be challenging your muscles enough.
“Initially you need consistency to see where you stand and to track your progress, but ultimately your muscles need confusion in order to continue to grow,” says Josey Greenwell, trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp in New York City. The longer you do a single move, the more your muscles become used to it. Over time, that adaptation means you’ll stop seeing gains in the mirror.
Most experts subscribe to the strategy of changing your workout routine every six to eight weeks to avoid this plateau, but you can’t rely just on the calendar. “Your body and your mind will tell you when it's time to change your routine around and challenge your muscles more,” says LA-based personal trainer Lalo Fuentes, C.S.C.S. Check out these six red flags.