2 + 2 = Progression

What’s 2 plus 2?

Man, that’s a hard one. I know I didn’t tell you there was going to be math this week! OK, we all know the answer is 5, but can you believe there was a time when that problem was impossible for us to figure out?

What does this have to do with exercise? Progression. You figured out how to add 2 plus 2, then progressed to bigger numbers, subtracting, dividing and eventually quantum physics. In the gym, many people have good results initially but never change what they do. The results stop coming and they wonder why, thinking, “This worked before, why not now?” That is essentially like not learning any more math once you’ve got 2 plus 2 mastered.

You see, our body is amazingly adaptable. It’s how we’ve survived centuries of cold, heat, and reality shows. For instance, when you first went to the gym you might not have been able to bench press the bar. If you worked at it, your body realized it was going to have to change to accommodate this new demand that was being placed on it. As it changed you got results, but eventually your body fully adapted to the challenge and the results stopped coming.

What I am getting at is that you must consistently push your body in different ways to continue getting results. This is because in the same way our bodies learned to adapt to changes, it also learned that the best way to survive these changes was to conserve it’s energy by doing the least amount necessary to adapt. Basically, once it’s adapted to new demands it doesn’t need to do anything else, so even though you really want to put another inch on your arms you’ve got to give your body a pretty compelling reason to do it.

How does this apply to you? Well, the crux of it is that if you want to lose twenty pounds, what lost you the first ten might not lose you the last ten. You’ve got to keep progressing to give your body a reason to change in the way you want it to.

How do you progress? There are many ways to do it such as adding more weight, doing more repetitions, more sets, different exercises and so on, but really it’s based on your goals and your own body. What works for someone else might not work for you. Try different things. If you can’t figure it out, get a trainer. The important thing is to continue to challenge yourself and work hard. Don’t be one of those people who do the same exercises, weights and reps week in and week out and don’t forget to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

from the Castro Valley Forum, October 14, 2009
Mitch Rothbardt
MitchRothbardtTraining@yahoo.com
510-754-7113
Discover Your Strength!