ATTENTION LADIES: You’ve Been Lied To!
Yup that’s right.
I hate to say it but it’s true.
You’ve been lead to believe that lifting 3 pound weights and dancing around the room is going to get you strong, lean, and fit.
Now, yes someone that is new to exercise will benefit from that type of work out but the REALITY is that at some point those RESULTS will STOP.
Your body needs a reason to change . . . .
A reason to get stronger.
A reason to get leaner.
A reason to get better.
Unfortunately, your body will get used to dancing around with 3lb weights very quickly and then the RESULTS will STOP.
Be honest with yourself….How many more hours are you going to spend getting your punch card stamped with no results?
It’s time to make a change and now that I’ve gotten your attention let’s take a look at the science behind why your body changes and how you can use it to your advantage.
The GAS Principle (Understanding How Your Body Adapts)
What GAS? Yup I said GAS – General Adaptation Syndrome.
The General Adaptation Syndrome was first described by Dr. Hans Selye back in the 1930’s as a way to explain the physiology of how our bodies adapt to stress. Now I know that when most people think of “stress” they think of the pressure to meet a deadline at work or take care of some challenging task but there are all different types of stress. Stress can come in all different shapes and forms – emotional, physical, mental, biological, etc. It can be loosely described as a stimulus (trigger) that is different than what the body is used to.
You see in order to understand stress you first need to understand “Homeostasis” or the body’s natural desire to maintain a consistent state. An easy example to show this need is your bodily response to temperature changes. When it’s hot outside your body will sweat to cool itself down or when it’s cold it will shiver to warm itself up. All of these responses are an attempt to return the body back to what is called “Homeostasis” or “normal” conditions.
General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) is the physiological description of how the body adapts to these stressors to maintain homeostasis.
Why should you care?
Well, adaptability and resistance to stress as a whole is a fundamental requirement for life to exist in an organism. Imagine if you weren’t able to adapt to the millions of stressors you encounter each day . . . sadly you’d die.
So, bare with me for a moment and without getting too geeky on ya let me briefly explain exactly how this process works.
There are 3 general stages to GAS:
- The Alarm Stage – This is when the body first recognizes that there is a stressor present and it begins a series of hormonal and physiological events to combat that stressor and return the body to homeostasis. No permanent changes in the body occur, the response is simply to fight off the immediate stressor.
- The Resistance Stage – If the stressor occurs for a prolonged period of time your body will enter the resistance stage where it begins to make actual physiological adjustments to the body and it’s structures for added protection against the stressor in the future. The key here is that actual structural changes occur. (Rest must occur for recovery and rebuilding to fully take place)
- The Exhaustion Stage – If the stressor remains for too long and your body cannot adequately adapt it will be depleted of it’s energy and eventually will lead to exhaustion. At this stage the body is overcome with fatigue and will be forced to rest and recover.
Alright enough with the sciencey jargon, let’s take a look at how this applies to exercise.
When you begin an exercise program you are administering a physical stressor to your body and it will need to adapt. It will go through the stages of general adaptation specific to the exercise you are performing.
Let me explain how it works for lifting a weight:
- The Alarm Phase – When you first start lifting a weight, let’s say 3 pounds to stick with the intro, it can be difficult for you because it’s a new stimulus (stressor) for the body to experience. Your body will respond with a series of physiological actions to make lifting that weight possible.
- The Resistance Stage – If you continue to lift that weight your body will recognize that the stressor isn’t going to stop so it only has one choice – ADAPT. This is when structural changes in the body occur to accommodate that new stimulus so it’s not as difficult in the future (ie: Getting Stronger)
- The Exhaustion Phase – Most people don’t reach this phase because they stop before it occurs. Let’s imagine you just kept lifting that weight, eventually your arms would start to burn and get tired. At some point, you would no longer be able to lift the weight because your body is exhausted.
The great thing about the GAS principle is that you can apply it to just about any physiological process in the body, nutrition, exercise, weight loss, weight gain, breathing, tanning (remember when that was cool?).
Something We Can All Relate To
If you’re a boilermaker runner, just think about your training routine.
When you first start running you may only be able to run a few miles before your body tires out or your breathing is exhausted. Over time and consistently running a little farther each time you will get better.
What if you only ran a couple miles and never any more?
Well, you’re body would never adapt and improve so when it came time for the big race you wouldn’t be able to finish.
When the body experiences a stimulus or stressor it will adapt to handle that stimulus. This means that in order to continually progress you have to CHANGE the stimulus.
So, just to make it clear – If you start a workout program lifting 3 pound weights your body will eventually adapt and those 3 pound weights will no longer stimulate a response from your body.
That means if you continue to lift those 3 pound weights NOTHING WILL HAPPEN because your body has no reason to change.
This is why the last blog I wrote talked about the difference between losing weight and staying lean. The reality is that they are completely two different goals, two different processes and require two different programs.
This is why the contestants on the Biggest Loser gain all of their weight back, the program got them to lose weight but never showed them how to keep it off (it goes a lot deeper than that but that’s a whole different conversation).
Progressive Overload / Sufficient Recovery
The second portion to this equation is understanding what it means to progressively overload your body.
I know it sounds scarrrrry but trust me it’s not.
Progressive Overload is simply the gradual increase in stress placed upon the body during exercise to elicit further change.
There’s that word again, stress.
Every change that your body makes is in direct response to stressor. Not all stress is created equally, some stress is good and some stress is bad. Too much stress leads to exhaustion and burn out but ultimately we need stress to ADAPT.
The right amount of stress leads to progress.
Thankfully, we don’t have to get into too much scientific theory on this one.
It’s pretty simple, in order to continue progressing whether it’s with weight loss, strength gain, leaning out, toning up, getting buns of steel, it doesn’t matter you have to continuously progress or change the stress on your body.
The flip side to this is that when you progressively overload your body you need to have adequate rest and recovery in order for it to properly adapt.
So going back to my original example of the 3 pound dance workout, let’s break it all down:
At first, the 3 pound dance workout will produce results for you but eventually you will adapt to the stressor that is being applied (workout). Once your body adapts to that workout it will cease to progress and the RESULTS will STOP.
Now, once the results stop the natural instinct will be to workout more!
The reality though is that working out more is not going to cause your body to change (it’s still the same stimulus) it’s just depleting all of it’s energy and cutting into your recovery time.
So before you know it, you will be run down, tired and unable to keep up that “intensified” workout schedule.
It’s at that point your results start to go backwards.
Then what do you do?
You can’t workout anymore (there’s no more time), you can’t eat any less (you already cut everything out) and you’re afraid of losing the progress you did make.
Well, then it’s time to make a change.
How Do You Change?
It’s really more simple than you think.
Now that you’re aware of the problem and how to fix it just DECIDE.
Decide that you and your body need a more tailored approach to get the results you want.
Yeah the “workout class” is fun and I’m not saying you have to give it up all together but at some point you NEED more.
You NEED a program that is going to push you to that NEXT LEVEL.
That’s going to take you out of your comfort zone and force you to reach farther than you have been. The science is there and I’m sure if you took a step back and look at your workout history the picture will be clear.
The key is to be able to continuously increase or change the stress on your body in a safe way that allows you to progress without becoming exhausted, injured or fatigued.
That is why I believe everyone needs a coach.
Imagine if you had a coach there to push you every step of the way
A coach to show you how to lift heavier weights safely
A coach to go over your nutrition with you
A coach to guide you towards your goals
Ultimately, that is going to be the difference between reaching your goals and getting the results you want or spinning your wheels with no end in sight.
That’s what our Team Training program is all about . . .
Giving you a fast paced, challenging, results driven program to help you reach your goals.
Why Team Training? Why not class?
Because every Team has a Coach and a Coach is a heck of a lot different than an instructor.
Try Our Team Training Program For 30 Days ——> CLICK HERE
Lorenz, D., & S. M. (november 2015). CURRENT CONCEPTS IN PERIODIZATION OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR THE SPORTS PHYSICAL THERAPIST. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 10(6), 734-747. Retrieved March 14, 2017
Selye, H. (1950). Stress and the General Adaptation Syndrome. British Medical Journal, 1(4667), 1383-1392. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.4667.1383
Siff MC Verkoshansky YV. Supertraining. Denver, CO: Supertraining International, 4thed. 1999.