One of the fascinating qualities we all possess as human beings is the ability to adapt to the environment we are submerged in. There are shows on TV capturing the lives of people who live in the arctic, and those who must survive in the wild over a period of 21 days without anything but a few survival tools. There are shows exhibiting the strength and performance levels of some of the most “fit” people on the planet in CrossFit and American Ninja Warrior. There are also those detailing the process of managing obesity and weight loss, and documentaries following the effects of what would happen to the body if you ate McDonald’s three times a day for 30 days straight. I say to clients often that the body will adapt to the stresses placed upon it, good or bad. A principle applied in the gym to elicit a physiological response in increased strength, for example, is something we call progressive overload.
The idea behind progressive overload is that by placing the body under incrementally more load or demand, it will adapt and be able to handle the demand placed on it by building a tolerance of more of what is needed. For example, if the goal is to lift more weight, then placing a certain muscle group under more and more load will make you stronger in that area. The same principle can be applied for a sport like running, as well. If your goal is to run 10 miles, but you can’t do that out of the gate on day one, progressively building up to that goal will allow the body to adapt over time. Before long, those 3, 4, and 5-mile runs will seem like a piece of cake.
Our bodies are amazing tools and can be transformed or adapted to do what we need. Through consistent effort and continually progressing (this may mean regressing when necessary – we will discuss in the coming weeks), you will be set up to see improvements in whatever your goal may be. Don’t let your body fall into the trap of adapting to the negative trends today’s world solicits. Get up, be active, and work toward making your body the best it can be; you won’t regret it!