Are you a mama with limited time to workout? Are you tired of hitting a plateau in your fitness journey? Do you feel like you’ve been putting in the effort at the gym but aren’t seeing the results you desire? This can be extremely frustrating as a mom already short on time. If this sounds like you, it might be time to dive into the concept of progressive overload and understand its pivotal role in achieving your dream physique. Don’t worry, I’ll make this a breezier than nursing a baby on the park bench in November (IYKYK).
What is Progressive Overload?
Okay mama, this is actually a super simple concept. Nothing to fear! Progressive overload is a fundamental principle in the world of fitness that forms the basis for muscle and strength gains. At its core, it involves gradually increasing the stress placed on your muscles over time. This can be achieved through various means, including lifting heavier weights, performing more repetitions, increasing the volume of your workouts, or adjusting the intensity of your exercises.
What does this look like in a workout?
Picture this: You’ve stealthily left the threenager’s room, laid out your mat, and your music’s softly humming. Or perhaps you’ve seized the kid-free moment and hit the gym with your partner. Either way, kudos! But now, you ponder, “What’s the game plan?”
Well, you have come to the right spot. Hopefully, your workouts mapped out. If you have absolutely NO plan, that’s a bit challenging. I love to break good fitness puzzle. Ping me directly or if you know you are ready, tap below and say hello to your new favorite coach!
Okay, say you DO have a plan? Great!
For each exercise set, raise the weight.
Here’s a sample circuit:
Dumbbell Front Squats: 12 reps with 10s, 10 reps with 15s, 8 reps with 20s
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 12 reps with 5s, 10 reps with 10s, 10 reps with 10s
Plank: 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 35 seconds
Got it? Awesome!
Let’s talk a bit more about the science of progressive overload
The Science Behind It
The human body is remarkably adaptive. For instance, when you constantly challenge your muscles with higher resistance or intensity, they respond by growing stronger and more efficient.
Who doesn’t want that? I sure do!
Lastly, this adaptation occurs in the form of muscle hypertrophy, where individual muscle fibers increase in size and number, leading to improved strength and overall muscle development. Yes, MAMA! This is a win-win.
No more endless hours on the cardio machines!
In the end, that toned physique will peep through before you even know it!
Below are a few more benefits to this progressive overload concept.
Why is Progressive Overload Important?
- Break Through Plateaus: Our bodies tend to adapt to the stress we place on them. After a certain point, the gains you initially experienced might slow down or even stop. Fortunately, by progressively overloading your muscles, you’re forcing them to continuously adapt, preventing plateaus and fostering ongoing progress.
- Muscle Growth: If your goal is to build muscle mass, progressive overload is the key. When you consistently challenge your muscles, they respond by getting larger and stronger. Without this principle, you might struggle to see significant tone.
- Strength Gains: Whether you’re an athlete or simply someone who wants to feel stronger in their daily life (yes, mama, you NEED to be strong), progressive overload is crucial. It allows your body to handle heavier loads, which translates to increased functional strength.
- Time Efficiency: By implementing progressive overload, you optimize your workouts for maximum results. Instead of spending excessive time on inefficient routines, you can focus on quality over quantity.
If that doesn’t sound like music to your overstimulated ears, I’m not sure what would!
It’s the best scenario for a busy mom! Quality lifts will translate to more efficient workouts and steady progress towards your goals. Yay!!
Implementing Progressive Overload
- Track Your Progress: Keep a workout journal or use a fitness app to record your exercises, weights, repetitions, and sets. This tracking will help you monitor your progress and make informed decisions about when to increase the resistance or intensity.
- Gradual Increases: The key is to progress steadily, not drastically. Aiming for a 5-10% increase in weight or intensity every 1-2 weeks is a common guideline. Pushing too hard, too fast, can lead to injuries and setbacks.
- Vary Variables: Progressive overload isn’t just about lifting heavier weights. For example, you can also manipulate variables like repetitions, sets, rest intervals, and exercise selection to continue challenging your muscles.
- Listen to Your Body: While progressive overload is essential, it’s equally important to listen to your body. Adequate rest, recovery, and proper form are crucial to avoid injuries.
To Sum It Up
In conclusion, progressive overload is the cornerstone of achieving your dream physique, especially as a busy mom like you. By consistently challenging your muscles and gradually increasing the demands you place on them, you’ll pave the way for continuous growth, strength gains, and breakthrough results. Before you know it, friends and family will be complimenting you on how shapely your arms look and asking you how you toned up your legs.
And the very best part?
You won’t be living life on the sidelines anymore.
Your confidence will increase as those weights increase.
You’ll have the energy to play with your kids after a long day of work and school.
Most importantly, your kids will say things like “mommy is so strong” in a way that melts your heart and motivates you even more!
Stick to the principle of progressive overload for your lifetime and you will be a strong grandma who can easily take care of her grandchildren unhindered by age. Certainly, you’ll be able to lift them in and out of those pesky baby swings, play tag, and climb the rock wall, inspiring not only your grandchildren but those around you!
Remember, it’s not about overnight transformations but rather the dedication to progress over time that will ultimately lead you to success in your fitness journey (and in life)!