Have you ever done endless hours of cardiovascular exercise, decreased your caloric intake through dieting, maybe even to lower-than-healthy levels, and yet your body stubbornly seems unwilling to change? Can you say frustrating! Has this ever happened to you? If it has, what you have experienced is known as adaptation. Yes, our bodies are amazing creations that have the ability to adapt to any external stress placed upon them.
The body is very lazy and will only respond according to what you make it do.
WHAT DO I MEAN?
Allow me to paint a clearer image of adaptation. When we first begin exercising and our body isn’t used to the particular activity we are performing the body is required to increase the amount of effort or energy required to perform that particular activity. As a result we experience increased heart rate and calorie burn allowing us to lose weight and make gains in our strength.
However after a certain period of time (adaptation period) the body requires less effort to perform the same task and you expend or exert less energy doing the same exercise as before. Let’s use an example. When you first begin your weight lifting program you may only be able to perform 5 modified push-ups.
Six weeks after you begin your program, you can complete 5-15 modified push-ups with minimal effort. What has occurred is what is known as neuromuscular adaptation. Your nerves and muscles have become coordinated and you have become stronger making your movements more fluid with less energy and coordination requirements.
So, what’s next? I’m glad you asked.
In order to get even stronger and challenge your body on a new level you have to overload your body. Overload means you will have to increase the amount of weight, sets, repetitions and intensity of each one of your exercises. The body is very lazy and will only respond according to what you make it do. Yes, what you MAKE it do.
Therefore once you start your fitness training program and reach a point where you no longer see changes to your body, say to yourself “It’s time to overload my body!”
When overloading your body be aware that this process must be a gradual process. In regards to increases in the amount of weight you lift, it is recommended that you go up in 2-5 pound increments and use the Rule of 2. The Rule of 2 states that if you can perform 2 more repetitions at the end of your set, then it is time to add more weight.
When adding more weight, ensure at all times to keep proper posture.
In the areas of cardiovascular activities try adding 5-10 minute increments and increase your intensity while performing these activities on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. It is also advisable to perform your cardiovascular activities on different machines in order to avoid overuse or movement pattern injuries.
Having this information will allow you to have a better understanding of what really happens inside of your body and what’s required to make the necessary changes in order to see your body continually make changes.