Two Keys to Long-Term Success—Progressive Overload and Consistency
Here we are with Lesson #9. Today, we are discussing your two keys to long-term success, what they are, why they’re important, and how to use them to the greatest effect. Whether you’re new to the fitness game or a seasoned vet, you must apply these two principles in everything you do to reach and indeed, exceed your fitness goals.
The two key principles are progressive overload and consistency, and they’ll determine your success above and beyond anything else you do. Without these principles, you’ll struggle to make meaningful progress toward your goal.
Let’s take a look at each in turn.
Progressive overload is best described as the act of increasing volume, intensity, frequency, or time to put the body under tension above and beyond what it has previously experienced, so it adapts by becoming bigger, stronger, faster, etc.
There are number of ways it can be applied:
• to increase the weight lifted
• to decrease your rest periods
• to increase your sets
• to increase your reps
• to train more often
Each method of progressive overload can work, but perhaps the most effective is intensity, or the amount of weight you lift.
We’ve seen time and time again that muscle is a byproduct of getting strong, because your body must continue adapting (by getting bigger) to allow you to get stronger. By manipulating intensity, you get all the benefits of progressive overload without needing to increase volume or frequency, which means you can keep your workouts from becoming too long or too frequent.
Then there’s consistency. The Cambridge English Dictionary describes consistency as, “the quality of always behaving or performing in a similar way, or of [something] always happening in a similar way.”
Consistency sounds like a simple concept—and to be honest, it really is—but you’d be surprised by the number of people who fail to apply it. Not only that, but then they wonder why they’re not seeing any progress or at least, not the progress they would like.
If you’re asking yourself why, it’s for this reason: If you don’t hit your calorie and macro goals or work out consistently, you can’t expect to make regular progress. You have to train as many times as set out by your training program and eat as many calories as your diet dictates. It’s that simple.
If you can’t do that, then get a new training plan and diet to follow.
Jumping from one training plan to another will see you stagnate and make limited progress at best. Equally, missing workouts on a regular basis is a quick-fire way to prevent you from being able to apply progressive overload and will lead to minimal progress at best.
Whatever your fitness goals are, you MUST apply principles of progressive overload and consistency for optimal results. It’s not about one or the other. They come as a pair and must be applied together in order to give your body the stimulus it needs to continually adapt. It is this that will make you lose fat, build muscle, gain strength, or fulfill any other training goal.
Work hard and stay focused, and you’ll give yourself no choice but to succeed.
Tomorrow brings us to the final lesson of the course, where we will wrap things up, recap some of the most important takeaways, and look at what’s next.
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