I remember my first day of personal training school like it was yesterday. I walked in confident in my personal physique and fitness capabilities, eager to learn more. My education was pretty hands on, so half of our class time was devoted to working out, training other students and being trained ourselves, learning how to form program designs, and practicing gym etiquette. I mean, after all, no one wants to hire an out of shape personal trainer, so it made sense when our teacher had the alumni train the newcomers (that was me.)
And let me tell you, I WAS READY!
As a natural athlete, competitive tennis player, and marathon runner this was my time to show off and impress everyone, especially my teacher. Well, I did manage to catch everyone’s attention, but it wasn’t in the way I had hoped. Boy, was I humbled! In less than 5 minutes, I was racing to the nearest trash can to vomit…and I have progressive overload to thank for that.
Progressive overload is the principle that continually makes demands on the musculoskeletal system to increase muscle size, strength, and endurance. This can happen a number of different ways in your fitness routine by increasing the weight, reps, sets, or even changing the pace in which you perform an exercise. Progressive overload is all about getting comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable in the gym, challenging your body to reach new limits, and forcing it to adapt in order to provoke change. Now, before I scare you off, let me make it clear: Every workout does not have to be a brutal one and you most definitely shouldn’t be training to the point of making yourself sick like I did in my rookie years. You should, however, push past your comfort zone where your mind is telling you to quit, but your body is still capable of going. That is, after all, where all the magic happens.