You ever start your fitness journey, excited, energized, and ready to hit the weights or the workout? You start going more than once a week and you’re building up a consistent regimen schedule to ensure you do not fall off from the goals you have set for yourself. After a while, you start getting a feeling like something is missing and you ask yourself “what is next?”
Your body is has a mind of its own. Like your brain, if you keep doing/learning the same things, it will adapt and the information you gain either becomes easier to understand or you reach a standstill because there is no more new information being learned. This leads to you seeking more knowledge which will aid in personal growth and increasing your intellect. The same way you treat your mind is the same way you would want to treat your body. Weeks and months of performing the same exact workouts will set your body up to hit a plateau. It is very important to master your exercises so your body can adapt and hopefully change, but how long until you change it up, is what you are probably thinking.
When it comes to training your body and challenging yourself there are many factors that come into the equation of increasing your intensity. Repetitions: how many times you perform a full movement of the exercise you have selected. Sets: the number of cycles you perform the chosen amount of repetitions. Time under Tension (TuT)/Tempo: the time it takes you to perform one repetition, i.e: executing a squat by taking 3 secs to lower down and taking another 3 secs to lift up. Weight increase: adding more weight/resistance to your workout. Decreasing Rest Intervals: reducing the time you take to rest in between sets.
As you start thinking about increasing the intensity of your workouts think about those factors I have listed above. Increasing your repetitions and sets will add more stress to your body triggering a physiological response in your body and this will lead to new adaptions. Most of the time when people perform workouts they go through movements too fast and by doing that you sometimes use other muscles you do not intend on using, or better yet using muscles that are not your focused target. This leads to either bad form, a waste of a workout, or the combination. Increasing your TuT will lead to better neuromuscular adaptions, increased muscle growth, increased energy usage aka burning more calories, and will help you with your form due to slowing the exercise down & focusing on your movement.
If you are lifting the same weights after a while it will become easier, and just like your brain, it will have no new information but in this case, there will be no new strength gains. With that being said, make sure you safely increase your weights by 5-10% when you are ready to add more resistance. Lastly, another great way to increase the intensity of your regimen is to reduce your rest periods. Reducing your rest periods forces you to take on resistance with lower levels of energy, due to you not giving yourself enough time to recuperate. This will lead to you burning a lot more calories because you are putting your body in a constant state of tension. Typical rest periods last on average for about 60 seconds, unless if you are powerlifting which rest periods would be between 3-5 minutes. By reducing your rest period by 10 seconds or 1 minute you can trigger more adaptions so your body does not plateau.
In conclusion, I want to make it very clear that it is important to get used to the workouts you select, so make sure you spend 3 to 4 weeks performing the same workouts so your body adjusts and learns the movements before going on to more difficult moves. It may take others longer than 4 weeks before they adapt to their current workouts, but always wait a few weeks before increasing intensity, especially for those just beginning their fitness journey.
And do not forget to rest! Rest, rest rest! Without rest, your body cannot recuperate from the physiological stress you put yourself through and you will definitely hinder your adaptions running on an empty tank, so make sure you sleep enough as best as you can. I hope you took some key pointers from my blog and it will help you with your fitness experiences.