You finally made the executive decision of setting yourself a goal and choosing a way to get there. This could be anything: Lose weight, gain muscle, get your fitness up, the list goes on. Then you spend the night before googling different workouts and training techniques, you jot them down in a notebook or your phone, and you go to bed excited to start your new programme in the morning.
And that would be great, but here's the thing: internet is so confusing. Every website will tell you, you need to do this and you need to do that, oh and do not forget about this. So you end up writing down every exercise down, plan an hour long run on your first day and expect to look like a movie star in just 15 minutes!! Because Men's Health said so.
Setting You Up to Fail
If you live, for the most part, sedentary lifestyle, chances are your fitness levels are not great. And that's fine. It's great; you don't need to do that much to see heaps of progress, so following the workout of someone who's been training for 2+ years is just wasting your energy and you probably won't enjoy it, because it's harder than it has to be. And if you don't enjoy it, it won't last very long and you won't see the promised results.
Don't get me wrong, it doesn't take 15 minutes either, but this way, you won't notice because you will actually enjoy it.
This is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training. Whether this be more weight you lift or longer you run (or faster). Let's say along with your weights you do some cardio to lose some fat. Now let's look at two scenarios:
- Scenario 1: On your first day you go for a run. Logically you think more cardio = more fat loss and technically you're right. So you go for an hour on the treadmill. You do it for a few weeks and at first you notice some great results because your body is not used to these loads. But after two or three weeks you notice that you're not losing as much fat as in the beginning. This is your body adapting and it is now much more efficient at preserving energy when you run for an hour or under (exactly the opposite of what you want). So as progressive overload goes, you increase your running time (you could also run faster, but try sprinting for an hour) to an hour and 15 minutes. That is a loooong time to run on a treadmill. And in another week or two you will need to increase it again and no one has that much time to do cardio, especially if you want to lift weights and recover properly (I will do another post about recovery in the near future).
- So let's look at scenario 2: You start your cardio at 20 minutes. In two weeks time, you increase it by 15 minutes. And in another two weeks, another 15. You're four weeks into your programme, and you are doing less than in week 1 in scenario 1. And I promise you your body will respond the same as long as your diet is in check!
In scenario 2 you do much less work, you can slowly start to enjoy your process, you will have more time for leisure and spending time with family and friends, your recovery will be much quicker, and your goals will be achieved just as fast if not faster (will explain in my recovery post soon).