Have you ever wondered why you can be exercising like crazy, consistent with classes or jumping on your treadmill, but your body just doesn’t seem to change or your weight doesn’t seem to want to budge?
Regardless of the latest workout trends, new gadget or product or this diet or that, you need to apply the Progressive Overload Principle. In all my years of teaching, this principle remains true when it comes to getting results and getting stronger.
The Progressive Overload Principle: In order for a muscle to grow, strength to be gained, performance to increase, fat to be lost, or for any similar improvement to occur, the human body must be forced to adapt to a tension or stress that is above and beyond what it has previously experienced.
Go back and read that again. It’s pretty important and the key to getting results.
And what it means is, if you lift the same weights, for the same number of reps, the same way for the next 20 years… nothing will ever happen. If you go to the same class and your instructor does the same routine your body will never change or improve in any way. Same goes with your diet. If you regularly eat at fast food restaurants, you will continue to look and feel like you eat at fast food restaurants.
You will only maintain your current state, otherwise known as a plateau.
However, if you increase the demands you are placing on your body by increasing the weight being lifted, lifting the same weight for more reps, or just doing something that increases the demands that your body needs to meet, then your body will have no other choice but to make the necessary changes and improvements that will allow it to adapt to this environment and remain capable of performing these tasks.
And these “changes” and “improvements” and “adaptations” come in the form of more muscle, more strength, less fat, more tone, better performance and just the overall results you are looking to get.
Does That Mean I Need To Progressively Overload Every Single Workout?
Absolutely not. And doing so would not only feel impossible but is not very realistic. As long as you’re forcing progressive overload to take place in some form over time, then your body will continue to build muscle, increase strength, appear more toned, or improve in whatever way you are trying to get it to improve. Whether that happens every workout, or every other workout, or just once per month or less depends on a ton of individual factors specific to you and your goal.
So before I go any further and leave you with a new challenge to add to your workouts, I want to share a little science behind the theory when it comes to getting “toned”.
THE MYTH OF “TONING”
The firming-up or toning of our bodies is due to an increase in muscle tissue as well as a low enough body fat percentage to see the definition and shape of the muscles and get rid of the “jiggle”. I know that I use the term “toned muscles” when describing how a class can benefit someone, and the reason for that is because if I said your muscles are going to “grow”, many woman would be turned off, not understanding the science of what it takes to have the look they are after.
Muscles do not go from soft to hard or hard to soft – they either shrink or grow in size. Muscles themselves do not “firm-up” or “tone”. That is the “look” most of us are after.
STRENGTH TRAINING & FAT LOSS FOR TONE
There are no two ways about it – In order to achieve the look of a toned body you need to engage in strength training as well as shed the layer of fat covering your muscles. Think of your body as you do your vehicle’s gas tank. The tank doesn’t get any emptier if you don’t run the car. Same goes for our bodies. You have to move, stay active and exercise in order to burn off those fat stores, and you have to refuel it with healthy foods and adequate protein to support muscle growth. BONUS: the more muscle we build, the higher our metabolism, and the more calories burned. Plus more muscle helps contribute to stronger bones 🙂
One way to progressively overload your body is by adding in an AMRAP training. Here are 4 different AMRAP workouts for you to try.
AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) is a simple way to shake up your workout and keep those muscles guessing and getting stronger. You are going to complete a circuit of 3-5 exercises for 15 minutes (10 if you are a beginner) with as little rest as possible.
Add this in to your normal routine for one circuit, or combine 2 or 3 of these workouts to get a total body routine.
Click here for you printable AMRAP workout.
Workout 1 Total Body:
10 x push ups
10 x jump squats
10 x plank suicides
10 x lunge kick per leg
Workout 2 Cardio:
10 x Burpees
20 High knees
30 Jumping Jacks
10 Suicide Sprints
Workout 3 Core:
10 x Supermans
10x Side Plank With Hip Drop Right
10x Side Plank With Hip Drop Left
10 x Dead Bug
Workout 4 Total Body:
10x Travelling Lunges
10x Burpee With Push Up
10 x V- Ups or Star Abs