Today we’re not just talking about 1 specific topic but 2 different ones, as you will see these 2 will complement each other nicely. Although these are 2 very different topics, they have some things in common, one of the big things they have in common is that they make you better than you were yesterday. Each of these training pillars has the goal of making you better in one way or another, some might be obvious and some are commonly overlooked. To me, these 2 are among the most important training principles out there and it would be foolish to overlook them or not dive into them more. So, Let’s get to it.
Without the goal of progressing in mind there really is no reason for you to be in the gym. If you just want to move around and ”stay active”, you might as well save yourself the money and go for long walks or runs, take up yoga in the gym or online or any other activity that might interest you but don’t require you to be in the gym. I am just going to state again, gym fitness is not the only way to stay active or healthy, there are thousands of different ways to do so.
Alright, now that we have got that part out of the way, I am assuming that since you work out in a gym you’re working towards a goal. Whatever your goal is, you the concept of progression to get there (obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t be there in the first place). So, what does progression in the gym look like? From what I see on a regular basis, people expect progress to just happen without putting in the effort necessary. I am not talking about perceived effort but measurable and consistent effort. Sure, a lot of people think and feel they’re putting in effort but the results show something else. Someone once said: ”the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”. We can’t expect results to come by doing the exact same thing over and over again. We’re expecting results to come without doing more reps, using heavier weights, longer workouts, intenser workouts, shorter rest breaks etc.. Those are all different ways for you to measure and increase progress, by simply sticking with the same weights, time domains and overall intensity you’re not going to progress very far and end up wasting your own valuable time. This is why we as coaches push you to add more weight to the bar or take shorter rest breaks, it’s not for our benefit, it’s for your own. It honestly shocks and surprises me when I hear people in our gym complain about the workouts being hard. There simply can’t be sustainable progress without doing the hard work.
Intensity is directly responsible for long-term progress, without it there’s no long-term progression possible. This shouldn’t discourage you; it should motivate you to push yourself every time you get into the gym, go our for that run or while holding different yoga poses. Yes, it is going to be hard and challenging but what else can we expect when we’re looking to progress? Another great quote to sum this up: ”Everything you want is on the far side of hard work”. That’s it.
Where would we be without rest days? Stuck in the same place or worse, a place where we aren’t as good as we were before. Yes, that’s right, without adding in the proper rest/recovery methods we can actually digress. It would be a great thing if the only option for our body was to progress, but that’s unfortunately not the case.
In the fitness world we have this concept called ”supercompensation”, this is another word for the measurement of our progress. The supercompensation model shows us the way we break our muscles down and by resting properly our muscles, lung capacity and overall body are capable of getting stronger. In the picture below you can see the model of supercompensation, in an ideal world you would start your next training session at the height of your ”supercompensation peak”. The other picture shows you what might happen without recovering/resting properly.
How do you know when your body is recovered enough? There’re different ways of measuring/ knowing this, the easiest way to do is by purchasing a device/strap for your wrist or chest that measures your heart rate 24/7. If your heart rate is significantly higher than the days before, it means your body is still working hard to recover from the last couple sessions. A lower ”resting heart rate” is usually a good indicator of recovery and progress, a healthy heart needs less beats per minute to get the same volume of work done. Knowing how well your body is recovered after a training session also comes with experience, after months or maybe even years you will start to understand how your body feels when it’s recovered sufficiently versus not enough. Taking the time to get to know your own body is crucial, it can save you from taking digressing in the long run.
*Consider buying a WHOOP strap. I have been using mine for about 6 months now and the data it provides is accurate and beneficial to my training.
Rest days are one of the most overlooked things in the fitness world. Without the proper knowledge, physical capabilities etc. you should definitely consider taking full rest days or adding in some active recovery days. There’re people who perform well without taking full rest days but their schedule allows for active recovery/easy sessions. Some people who walk through our doors want to hammer their bodies into the ground by working out hard 7 days a week but as I have shown, that’s a good recipe for disaster in the long run. Take the appropriate rest, that might mean you taking a rest day throughout the week and scheduling in a workout over the weekend (no big deal.)
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