Five Simple Principles for Your Next Workout
I have am a former basketball and volleyball player, dancer, athlete and have run a women’s gym for more that 8 years. I teach all kinds of small group classes and train many private clients from people that need corrective exercise to super athletes training for a specific sport. Whether your goals are to lose body fat, gain strength or balance, or train for a specific sport, these 5 simple workout principles will help you get the MOST out of your programs.
The Principle of Overload
The first simple workout principle I want to discuss is the principle of overload. The exercise principle of overload states that a greater than normal stress or load on the body is required for training adaptation to take place. So in order to increase strength or endurance- you have to challenge the body to do more accordingly.
If you want your muscles to get stronger (and let’s say even your heart at pumping blood more efficiently) you have to work against a greater load, then you are used to. The same rules apply with endurance. You have to work at a longer period of time or at a higher intensity to get better. Many of us, especially women, operate under the myth that lifting heavy will only make use bulky- which is soooo far from the truth. Load those legs and watch them become sexy, strong and lean.
The Principle of Progression
The principle of progression is the next simple workout principle to be discussed. The principle of progression states that you should increase overload, which can be achieved by using FITT (frequency, intensity, time, and type) when your body adapts to its present routine. This means that you would not expect to just walk into a gym, pick up a 200 lb barbell and start squatting. Unless of course you are a superhero. Or you wouldn’t expect to run just run a marathon easily after maybe jogging a block outside your home the day before. We have to progress our fitness levels in the correct way with proper rest and recovery in order to get better. It is best to gradually increase the amount of weight you lift and to do it consistently to get maximum results.
The Principle of Adaptation
The principle of adaption is the third simple workout principle. Adaptation refers to the body’s ability to adjust to increased or decreased physical demands. Adaptation explains why beginning exercisers are often sore after starting a new routine, but after doing the same exercise for weeks and months they have little, if any, muscle soreness. You have to continue to vary your routine so that you can continue to improve and seek results. If you do the same exercises at the same time with the same amount of weight, you will plateau and not reap the benefits of a balanced program. Variety is the spice of life, so add some flavor to your fitness.
The Principle of Use/DisUse
Have you ever heard the term “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” That holds true when it comes to fitness too and that is where the fourth simple workout principle comes into play. Let’s say you used to exercise pretty vigorously or used to play competitive sports, or even actively attended Yoga classes. When we stop, our muscles will quickly atrophy, we can lose our endurance and quickly we become deconditioned. Staying active is so important. Don’t worry if you miss a day, because …ya know LIFE. But do your best to train consistently so that you don’t lose all that you worked so hard to gain.
The Principle of Specificity
The last simple workout principle is the principle of specificity. Specificity is the principle of training that states that sport training should be relevant and appropriate to the sport for which the individual is training in order to produce a training effect. For example, for basketball you should be on a basketball court for some of your training and focus on speed, agility, and distance vs being a dancer, you should dance, runners should run, and so on. The term ‘Practice makes perfect” applies here to the fullest effect. Every athlete needs flexibility, mobility, balance, and a strong core. But to get better at your sport, you should always do sport-specific training.
In the end, give yourself credit for incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Now that you have learned these 5 principles you have the tools to train with purpose. Go get it!