Progressive overload is defined as ‘the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during training’. Which basically means you should perform better in each training session than you did in the previous session. The combination of progressive overload, rest and nutrition then leads to ‘adaptation’ and this means that physiologically, you are now a better athlete. Many athletes take this principle so seriously that if they turn up to train and they cant perform better than they did in the previous session, they go home and rest on the basis that they have not fully recovered so have not fully adapted. Progress isn’t always linear, especially for the recreational athlete. There are so many influencing factors that effect our speed of recovery such as: sleep, stress, illness, nutrition, and toxicity. However, sometimes its none of those factors and it just comes down to good old fashion ‘motivation’. When you are trying to get that extra rep out, sometimes you just don’t feel like giving it that extra umph! There are days when you just don’t feel like breaking out your comfort zone and you cant wait to finish the workout but you also know that if you quit your going to regret it and hate yourself! So here is a little technique I use with my clients, my training partner and on myself. It works when I’m lifting weights, sprinting or doing circuits training but I’m pretty sure you could just apply to any area of your life where you were lacking motivation. Whenever I have negative self talk that says run a little slower, or says to stop squatting a couple of reps short then I ask myself this simple question: If there was a suitcase with one million pounds in it, and all you had to do was stick to your pace or compete those two extra reps on your back squat to be awarded the suitcase could you manage it. If the answer is a definite yes, then you know your just being a wimp and you need to drink a large glass of man-up and get the job done! Try it. It works for me and I know it works for others. Now lets finish this with a nice motivational quote!!
When you are trying to get continuous improvements in your fitness, whether its improvements in body composition or muscular strength, one of the principles you must apply is ‘progressive overload;.