Fitness doesn't get easier. You just get better!
The myth that fitness gets easier over time, is not true.
There it is! I said it.
At least, it shouldn't get easier...
Before you tune out, shake your head, or give up. Let me explain, why this is a good thing.
Do your fitness goals include:
- Wanting to lose body-weight or decrease body-fat?
- Increasing your overall strength?
If you answered 'yes', to one, or both of those questions, brace yourself. Your journey will continue to get harder over time. Not easier!
This is why...
Your body is always looking to return itself to what's called homeostasis, or 'neutral'. Meaning, that it wants to conserve and preserve energy as an organism. It wants to become efficient. For the goals we went through above, this isn't a good thing. You want your body to become inefficient.
To lose weight or body-fat, you need to expend (use) as many calories as the body will allow. Not the fewest.
Does that make sense?
Some key principles on how you can do this:
Weight loss/decrease body-fat
1) Create a calorie deficit, or 'negative energy balance'
This means that the body needs to function on less calories (energy) than is required to maintain your current body-weight. In a nutshell, you have to consume less than what the body requires, or burn calories through exercise to create the deficit. (Learn more about that HERE)
2) The EPOC effect
EPOC stands for, Energy Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. (EPOC is easier to remember!)
This can be achieved by either performing an intense resistance training routine, or an intervals style training session.
The body cannot uptake the required oxygen to keep up with the body's demands, which creates an oxygen debt
This debt then has to be paid back, by burning more calories AFTER you finish training.
NOTE- This cannot be achieved through slow, steady-state cardio
3) Ensure each training session is just slightly harder than the last
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” ― Henry Ford
This one is super important, as the quote above details.
Now, the percentage of increase that will be of benefit to you is 1% or slightly higher.
Think about this
You exercise 3x week for the next 50 weeks and improve 1% each session. That's a 150% improvement to when you first started!!
See how powerful the small improvements are?
Increase your overall strength level
1) The progressive overload system
This is a very simple and easy way to ensure that you make those 1% gains each and every week.
For each exercise, aim to do just a little bit more than you did in your previous session;
- An extra few reps
- An additional 1-2 sets
- A heavier weight
- Shorter rest periods
- Change the tempo, or speed of the exercise
These are all things which challenge your body to worker harder and more inefficiently.
This doubles as a fat loss tool as well!
2) Lift heavier weights
The key to this is to maintain good form, but challenge yourself each set. If you can hold a casual conversation with someone mid-set, you are NOT working hard enough.
Simple as that!
Ladies, this does NOT mean that you will "get bigger or bulky" either. It actually means that you will provide your body with dense, muscle tissue. This is what provides that definition or 'muscle tone' which so many people crave. (This video explains the topic in more detail)
3) Jump off the machine and use the free-weights
Now let me start off by saying, there is nothing wrong with using machines. They can be an effective way to start training, use as an overload technique or perform when injured. But for increasing strength, free-weights are king. This is because you will now be required to activate and use your stabiliser muscles of the joints involved. Another awesome benefit is that you can really switch on your core muscles, to brace the midsection throughout the movement.
The more muscles we use, the more calories we burn!
Pretty cool, huh!
With all that said and done, do you feel like that's really too big of a stretch in terms of 'pushing yourself'?
Remember, we're only talking about that extra 1% each session.
ARE YOU UP FOR THAT KIND OF CHALLENGE?
If you're confident that you are, you are well on your way to long-term success!!
Don't fear the challenge. Embrace it.. Tackle it head on!
Until next time,
Keep challenging yourself.
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