Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training and is what makes your muscle grow bigger, stronger and faster. And it is the core of any successful training or fat loss program.
The following are the three basic ways to make gym progress:
1. Increase reps: Many workout programs suggest for example 8 to 12 reps. This means you start your sets with 8 reps and every workout you should add reps until you can do 12 reps. Once you reach 12 reps, you raise the resistance and start the cycle all over again.
2. Increase resistance: This can be done as above or you can stay at the same number of reps and raise the resistance each workout. You should add resistance in the smallest jumps you can, try for only 2.5 or even less. You can even add resistance while lowering the number of reps over time.
3. Increase sets: This method gives you a range for your sets, for example “3-5 sets of 10 reps”. You start by doing 3 sets of 10 reps and each workout you add one more set. When you can do 5 sets of 10 reps you increase the resistance and go back to 3 sets and work your way back up again.
4. Increase duration: With your aerobic training, for fat loss, NOT cardio training, for strengthening your heart, it is best to start at 15 minutes during your first week and only increase by 5 minutes per week up to 50 minutes. Any more is a waste of time and your body will use muscle for energy and increasing your duration any faster will prevent you from reaching your fat loss goal.
Now that you know how to progress, take a look at your own workouts and analyze them. Are you progressing in at least one of the three above? If not, you will have to make adjustments to your training so that you will make progress.
The following is the golden rule for achieving whatever goal you want in the gym:
You must increase at least one of the following each week if you want to make progress in the gym. Do not try to make these increases with EACH workout and DO NOT change your workout more than once a month. Just because some change is good does not mean more is better. These are specific steps you must adhere to in order to continue to make progress in your workouts.
Think of it as climbing a set of stairs. Your body gets a result from each step you take. If you skip a step in the attempt to gain quicker results you lose the result you could have made by taking that next step. This brings you to the top of the stairs quicker but you will NOT see that much change in your physical appearance. This is why most people give up after 90 days of starting an exercise routine. It’s physiological, not psychological. Please understand that If your trainer will let you jump into the latest fad or gimmick exercise routine, and you are NOT already in the shape you would like to be in, this trainer is uneducated on the basic fundamentals of fitness and is ONLY telling you what you want to hear so you will like them and pay them to train you.
Stay healthy my friends.