Gym lore says you’ve gotto ‘keep your body guessing’ if you wantto make progress.
While this old nugget does have a kernel oftruth in it, it’s not quite as simple as that. In reality, patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to training your body. It’s importantto understand thatthings don’t have to change with your workouts as often as you might think.
Keeping atitis key: if you’re putting in the work,the results will come. That said, if you have specific goals, it’s less about switching up your training than levelling it up.For example,if you’re looking to build strength, you’re not going to ditch lifting in favour of daily treadmill sprints and hope for gains. When I’m working witha client,we aimto stickwith a plan, applying progressive overload – more on that below – as and when they’re ready.
The same could be said of cardiovascular fitness goals, like running a 10k. Whenever you get comfortable at a certain speed, distance or duration, it’s time to level up, be it by adding mileage, or pushing to beat your usual pace. On the flip side, if you’re just exercising to be fit and healthy,then moving your body is the mostimportant thing.
IfClassPass is your jam and you wantto pick and mix your workouts because that keeps you interested,then, by all means, switch it up. Butfor those of you with a specific goal in mind, know this: random training = random results. You need a plan and you need to track what you’re doing in each session. Most importantly, if you’re after results, progressive overload is your friend. Read on…
Progressive overload essentially involves asking a bit more of your body whenever what you’re doing stops feeling challenging. There are lots of ways to do this: with more weight, less rest, or increased volume (more reps or sets). Basically, your aim is to challenge your body enough to force the muscles to adapt and grow.
Track your progress by making a note of your reps, sets and rest times on your phone’s note-taking app or in an app like Strong (strong.app), to see how far you’ve come.
While some plans enforce set progression each week, I’m not too regimented. Taking a flexible approach is important, especially for us women, as we have to listen to our bodies. If it’s your time of the month, PBs and progression most likely won’t happen. And that’s okay – as long as you’re progressing the rest of the time, you’ll hit your goal with time, patience and hard work. You’ve got this.