We’ve all heard insanity defined as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. However, this is precisely one of the most common mistakes I see in the gym. People come in and do the same exercises day-after-day with the same resistance, and then they get discouraged when they don’t see results. But we’re all familiar with the saying “If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” This is simple and common advice, yet many people seem to forget it when it comes to personal development.
The key to positive change or development in anything is progressive resistance, or “progressive overload” as it is referred to in exercise science (a gradual increase in training volume, intensity, frequency, or time). This means that if we want to grow or improve, we have to subject ourselves to progressively greater challenges.
The human body is amazingly adaptable, but it only adapts to the stimuli it is subjected to. If you never do more than 10 pushups, it would be insane of you to think that you’ll be able to do more. Your body is not going to make unnecessary changes. You have to force it to grow by subjecting it to gradually increasing stimuli. If you only do what you’re comfortable with and already capable of, you’re never going to change, you’re never going to expand your capacity or develop your potential. So if you want a nicer butt or nicer legs or nicer arms than you have now, or if you want to run faster or jump higher or lift heavier than you can now, you have to push those muscles harder than you have before. That’s the only way they are going to grow.
The second key to positive change, which goes hand-in-hand with progressive resistance, is tracking your progress. This is essential! How are you going to know if you are making progress if you don’t remember what exercises or weight you did last week? Yet, again, this is one of the most common mistakes I see in the gym. People don’t record their workouts, and those people are wasting their time. The best advice I can give is to track your workouts. And every week, or even every day, your goal should be to do more than you did the day before, whether that’s more repetitions, more resistance, or less rest.
In sum, record your work and push yourself each day to be better than you were yesterday. That is the key to progress!
Author: John Rozmus