The Overload Principle will explode your fitness fast. Learn why and how to use it to change your body faster than you ever dreamed possible.
This basic fitness concept is the key to getting into the best shape of your life. Once I understood this rule, I realized why I was still overweight. And why my body never seemed to change, despite working out often.
However, once I applied this foundation of successful training, I lost 30 pounds in 3 months. I had been trying to take off that 30 pounds for 3 years!
Success Leaves Clues
This is why I want you to know about the powerful overload principle and how it can skyrocket your own health and fitness levels.
Application of this pillar, one of the most effective training principles will help you burn fat and build muscle. Better than ever before.
What is the Overload Principle Definition?
Simply put, the Overload Principle states that to change your body, you have to overload. You must work harder.
In order to burn fat and build more muscle, you must challenge your body to adapt to increased resistance or intensity.
This is the first fundamental concept that any training enthusiast needs to know.
If you want to see dramatic body transformation, you must apply this fundamental rule of conditioning.
You will see results if do, I promise.
Muscle is Expensive
Your body does not waste energy. Everything that your body does is for one purpose – to keep you alive. Staying alive is the name of the game for your body.
Having said that, your body does not expend more energy than necessary on keeping you alive. What you ask for is what you get.
So, if you ask your body to support your trips to the fridge and cupboards for snacks, then your body will oblige.
To maintain the muscle you had when you were a teenager is an expensive proposition. Every pound of muscle is going to require additional energy.
Some say that a pound of muscle requires up to 50 or 100 calories a day. That is a stark contrast to the amount of calories needed to maintain a pound of fat.
You only need approximately one calorie a day to maintain an entire pound of fat. One pound of fat is a reservoir of 3500 calories of energy.
Whereas, muscle is not one of the body's preferred energy systems.
As a result, when your body does not think you need the muscle, then your muscles shrink and your body fat increases. When you lay around the house all day, your muscles shrink.
Or, if the majority of your day is spent sitting, then your body will oblige. And just leave you with enough muscle so you can continue to sit.
Sit at the table, in the car, on the bus, on the train, in your office and on the couch. What will happen? As you can guess, your body will leave you with just enough muscle to keep sitting.
This is called atrophy, the wasting of your muscle tissue.
Muscle Is Your Friend
You always want more muscle, because muscle is your friend. More muscle means higher metabolism, better daily functionality and protection from falls.
Not to mention looking and feeling more youthful.
Once you understand that muscle is expensive, and that the body mainly wants to keep you alive. Now, you know why your body is not concerned about keeping your muscle around.
Fat tissue holds thousands of more calories and is one true energy supply system for the body. The other two being glucose and AdenosineTriPhosphate.
The bottom line is that to build muscle, you must start training smarter and more effectively. Here is how:
How to Train
First, challenge your body and force your body to adapt.
Second, get a notebook and a pen, or a strength training journal, and record your training programs. Or use an app or a spreadsheet.
Rinse and repeat.
This is how to implement progressive resistance training.
Start off by figuring out your 1 rep max for a particular exercise.
Let's say that you have heard about the powerful benefits of deadlifts and your goal is to do get stronger in your deadlifts. Now, your 1 rep max might be 100 pounds for a deadlift.
You want to be able to deadlift 200 pounds. Of course, the goal is to deadlift with the best form possible.
And muscle strength is one of the 5 components of fitness:
- Cardiovascular health
- Body Composition
- Muscle Strength
- Muscle Endurance
These are the 5 pillars of fitness. Improving your deadlift is going to improve your muscle strength gains. In fact, deadlifting can add slabs of muscle onto your body.
Start Keeping Records
It is critical to start keeping records of your workouts.
The days of going into the gym, doing a few sets with the same amount of weight as the last five years is over.
From now on, go into the gym, do a few warm up sets.
Then start your working reps and sets. To build strength, 4 to 6 reps for every set is sufficient.
And 3 working sets should be sufficient as well.
Bottom line – you must record your warm up sets and your working sets in a workout log. Read and listen to how Ed Coan attributes his great success to keeping a training log. Ed Coan is considered to be one of the greatest powerlifters of all time,
Training is Hard
Stop believing those who say that they built a great physique without hard work. Training by the overload principle means that you will feel the effort by your last rep.
If you are doing 5 reps, by rep 4 or 5, you are going to struggle a bit to move the weight.
This concept applies to any of your workouts.
In the deadlifting example, let's say that you can deadlift 100 pounds for about 6 reps. Make a note of your sets and the weights that you choose should cause you to max out at 6 reps.
Once you can do 3 working sets of deadlifts of 6 reps, then you increase the weight. Increasing the weight by 5 pounds a week is sufficient to begin to see results.
Do not think that a weight increase of 5 pounds a week is too small. Gradual overload is much safer than attempting to do your maximum lift every training session.
What is the SAID principle? The SAID principle is the result of applying the principle of progressive overload.
The SAID principle is:
- S pecific
- A daptation (to)
- I mposed
- D emand
You challenge your body by using progressively heavier weights. Your body will adapt to the increased load and/or increased reps or reduced rest time. As a result, your body will burn fat and/or build more muscle in response.
You will get leaner and stronger, no matter what your age, even if you are over the age of 50.
How Can the Overload Principle of Training Best Be Summarized?
The overload principle sure sounds like a dry subject. You think you will be bored to death learning about the principle of overload, right? So did I!
However, you will be surprised to know that the dull sounding overload principle will explode your fitness.
To sum up, the principle of progressive overload states that your body adapts to imposed load.
Gradually and progressively increase your resistance load to spur muscle growth. Increase your cardio load to burn more fat.
The fruits of following this simple rule will be more muscle and less fat. And dramatically changing your body.
Stop doing the same workouts with the same weight. That is a sure recipe for going nowhere.
You must get up off of the couch, get moving and start strength and conditioning training. Magically, in the span of 3 to 6 months, you can completely transform your physique.
You can use the overload principle from now on in every workout, for strength training or cardio.
Record All Your Training
Make sure to record every workout. Do a couple of warm up sets. Do 3 working sets of 4 – 6 repetitions. By rep 5 or 6, you should be putting in effort.
You should not be able to do 10 more reps at rep 6. If you can do 10 more reps by rep 6, then the weight is too light.
Once you can do 3 sets of 5 or 6 reps, then increase the weight by 5 pounds and start over at 4 reps. How can you get leaner and stronger? Now you know the answer. Keep a running record of your training adaptations.
Here is a simple strength training progression for you to use in your deadlift or any other exercise program:
Warm up number of sets and number of reps:
5 reps with 50 % of your 1RM deadlift
3 reps with 60 % of your 1RM
2 reps with 70 % of your 1 RMThe Essential Proper Form Deadlift Checklist
Work number of sets using a periodization block of 6 weeks
First week – 3 sets of 6 reps using 75 % of your 1RM deadlift or 3 x 6 x .75
Second week – 3 sets of 5 reps using 80 % of your 1RM or 3 x 5 x .80
Third week – 3 x 4 x .85
Fourth week – 3 x 3 x .90
Fifth week – 3 x 2 x .95
Sixth week – Retest your 1RM using 5 reps at a level 6 or 7 as in the Wendler 1RM formula above.The Essential Proper Form Deadlift Checklist