If your goal is to change your body shape, hitting the treadmill in the gym or doing random home workouts simply won’t deliver the results you’re looking for. Of course, both are great options for losing fat over time if you are overweight, but if you’re looking for definition and shape, progressive overload is king.
Simply put, Progressive Overload is when you slowly increase the stress placed on the body during your workouts over time. For example, increasing the weight on the leg press in the gym every other week.
Why is Progressive Overload so important?
If you don’t progressively overload during your workouts, your body has no reason to adapt or change. After a while, the body adapts to the load or exercise you are doing, and no longer needs to exert the same amount of energy to complete the exercise. This is where plateaus occur and results begin to dwindle. By adding progressive overload to your workouts, your muscles are challenged again, causing new changes, whether that’s muscle gain or fat loss!
How Can I Progressively Overload?
There are many ways you can progressively overload, the below THREE being the most common:
- Increasing weight (such as moving from a 5kg dumbbell to a 6kg dumbbell)
- Increasing volume (such as adding an additional set to your workout)
- Increasing Time Under Tension (adding a 1 second pause at the bottom of your squat)
Make sure to track your workouts and log your weights, time and volume using the notes on your phone, a pen and paper or one of the many apps out there such as Rep Count. Aim to progressively overload every week and you’ll be surprised how much more you’ll gain from your weekly workout. You may not be able to progress in every single session, but as long as you are improving volume, weight or time under tension over time, your body will adapt.