In my last post I talked about three very important training principles (principle of readiness, principle of individual response and principle of specificity) and explained how in order to achieve your fitness goal you need to apply these principles regardless what your goal is.

The next two training principles are where, I believe, most of us make major mistakes.

4. Principle of Adaptation/Variation (these are really two separate principles, but, I group them together because they go hand in hand) refers to the body’s ability to adapt to imposed demand (Adaptation). For example, if you start lifting weights you’ll be sore for the next few days but, over time if you continue with lifting weights, your body will heal and get stronger. Same with running. If you go out and start running it will be hard the very first day but, over time if you continue with running, your body and your cardiovascular system will adapt and  it will not be as hard.

As the body adapts to the newly imposed demand it becomes more efficient and progress at a slower pace. This means that in order to make more improvements we need to change something about our training (Variation). This is the part where many of us make major mistakes. There is NO need to change the ENTIRE training plan in order to continue with improvement. Changing one or maybe two variables (#of sets/reps, or pace of your tempo run, or the order of exercises in your plan) of your training is enough for most of us. If you apply too much variation to your training you may have a hard time adapting to that new, imposed demand, and you won’t improve  your fitness level. You may be ENTERTAINED, but,  your fitness will stall.

5. Principle of Progressive Overload states that greater than normal stress or load is required in order to achieve an optimal training adaptation. Basically, if you want to be stronger than last month, you may want to lift a little more weight than you did last month. Or, if you want to run a 1/2 marathon, you may want to run a little longer than your usual  5K  loop. You need to OVERLOAD your system, however, it needs to be PROGRESSIVE. Do not lift 100lbs today if you could only lift 50lbs last month. Lifting 55lbs would be a more appropriate option. Do not go for a 10 mile run today if the longest you ever ran was a 4 miler yesterday. Running 4.5 miles would my advice. You need to develop a system  when and by how much to overload your training.

Stay tuned for Part 3.