How to get BETTER - The Principle of Overload
Pressure makes diamonds. Pressure also collapses stars (both the galactic and human). A gradual increase in exercise stimulus over time is regarded as one of the most important principles in exercise and training.
For our body to continue to improve and achieve results, our exercise must be increased above our current ability.
The Principle of Overload should always be specific to the individual human.
This is because we are all at different levels of strength, fitness and endurance. A person who has trained for 4 days per week 1 hour a day may benefit from increasing their sessions to 75 minutes whilst another person may look to increase their 20 minute aerobic workout to 30 minutes. A very fit human may need an increase in their training which is significantly more than someone just starting out. The fit person's body has experienced so much more volume and training that certain intensities just simply won't challenge the body to change.
Note that progressive overload does not include the idea of "keeping the body guessing" by continually throwing different exercise genres at it until its changes… Or gets injured!
Progressive overload is calculated, small and steady increases in either Frequency (how long we exercise), Intensity (how hard we exercise), Time (How long we train) or Type (What type of exercise).
You can progressively overload by accident
This is a common occurrence for people starting out a new type of exercise. The body changes, we feel fitter, stronger or better balanced. And at some point, usually a few weeks or months later, progress stalls. So do we choose to go harder, go longer or go more often? Tracking our results and measuring our progress will mean that we can better understand how we got where we are, and how to get further.
Progressive Overload is both simple and individualized.
To get better we must do more, do it harder, do it for longer, do it heavier or faster and do it according to our current fitness level.
If you're looking to improve your running, you may need to vary your length of time, speed or both. If you're trying to get stronger than you've ever been, you may need to lift heavier than you've ever done in your life.
If what you're currently doing with your training is not changing your body, its not just by bad luck. You may even be able to reframe it as an achievement. You've outgrown your current exercise routine, clocked it.. And it is time for something more that will force your body to adapt once again.