Feeling discouraged from putting in the work, but not seeing continued results? You may have entered the “training plateau zone”! Your body has an amazing ability to adapt to stressors placed on it. Unfortunately, this ability may sometimes work against you.
While you are working out, you are placing stress on your body. While you are recovering from that workout, your body is learning how to better handle that stressful workload. With each workout, you are building less muscle and burning fewer calories. Changing the style of your workouts is essential for success. Generally, these program modifications should take place every 4-6 weeks, although that may not be true for everyone.
There are several different ways to switch up a fitness program to avoid adaptation. The goal is to shock your body and keep it guessing. You can do this by referring to the F.I.T.T. principle, which stands for frequency, intensity, time, and type.
Frequency refers to how often you are training. The frequency of your exercise determines the amount of time you are allowing your body to recover and adapt.
Intensity is how much effort you put into your workout. Like each of the F.I.T.T principles, you must find your personal sweet spot. You want to train intensely enough for the body to need to adapt and recover, but not so much that you are overtraining.
Time refers to the time of day you exercise and how long each session lasts. This will vary depending on your fitness level and if you are focusing on cardio, strength training, stretching, etc.
Type determines what style of exercise you choose to do to obtain your goal. Well known exercise styles include cardiorespiratory and resistance training.
Changing a couple of the above F.I.T.T. principles every time you modify your program will keep you on the right track. This does not mean that you should repeat the same workout every day for 4-6 weeks. It should be a goal to try and add something new, a small change, to each workout.