Fitness is not something you arrive at and, like a drivers licence or a qualification, you can keep it forever and ever. Fitness, in fact, needs to be maintained through consistent hard work, dedication and a regular schedule of workouts that continuously push your body towards its limits.
Personal trainers understand this as the principle of progression, which dictates that a person needs to increase the intensity of their workouts on a consistent basis if they are to be able to maintain their levels of fitness.
This might seem counterintuitive to some who may think that a certain level of fitness requires an equal amount of work to achieve. However, it is through the adaptability of your body that it becomes resistant to hard work, becomes more able to handle it and, therefore, uses fewer resources as time goes on when doing the exact same types of exercises.
So let’s take a closer look at the concept of progression in fitness, and how it is one of the most essential components for maintaining it.
Fitness level maintenance
Working with an Adaptable Body
As your body gets fitter – whether that be through cardio, anaerobic, or strength building – it becomes more adept at using its own resources efficiently.
Initially, completing a hundred push-ups (just for example) can be a real challenge for somebody, and, as such, their heart-rate and breathing may elevate during a routine, while muscles become fatigued, essentially using up more resources and getting very little out of performance.
However, as this person’s fitness levels grow, those hundred push-ups become easier and easier to complete.
Maintaining fitness, at this point, would require that person to increase the workload of their routine.
The reason for this is that the body, having adapted as it becomes fitter, will require fewer resources and won’t elevate its heart rate and calorie consumption in the way that it did when you first had to struggle to complete those sets of push-ups.
This means that those one-hundred push-ups become insufficient to maintain the person’s current levels of fitness; they will have to push harder to do so.
We can understand this phenomenon through what fitness experts and personal trainers call the principle of progression.
What is the Principle of Progression?
The principle of progression states that a person should increase overload as they build their fitness, and is associated with building it further as much as it is for simply maintaining the levels that a person has.
As your body adapts to its current routine and becomes more efficient at it, continuing without change can actually result in lowered levels of fitness.
Therefore, according to the principle of progression, you should increase your workload to ensure that your body is put under enough strain to continually need to adapt to your routine.
FITT & Progression
According to the principle of progression, one of the best ways to ensure you increase your workload once your body adapts is through utilising the FITT formula, which incorporates increases in the frequency of your workouts (how regularly they are conducted), their intensity (how hard you work in a single setting), the time spent on each workout, as well as by changing the types of workouts you do so as to improve their targeting.
The FITT formula is an important one to remember for all types of fitness, whether it be cardio, strength training, anaerobic training or even joint flexibility.
Each one of them causes your body to adapt in unique ways and, as such, each needs to have the principle of progression applied to them if you are to not only continually build your fitness levels, but even when maintaining them.
There are different types of fitness
To be aerobically fit means that you’re able to use the oxygen that you breathe in, in an efficient manner. The fitter you are aerobically, the better you’ll be able to exercise. Aerobic fitness entails that your heart and lungs are super strong and can pump oxygen to where it needs to be in your body.
Examples of aerobic exercise includes:
- Swimming, and
A fabulous exercise that helps you to develop as well as maintain cardiovascular fitness, in addition to developing muscle strength and endurance, is working out with kettlebells. Kettlebell workouts are well known for their calorie-burning properties and they are also great to do if you have a limited amount of time. This is because one 20 minute kettlebell session you can get a strength and cardio workout rolled into one!
To maintain muscular strength, what you need to do is to perform resistance exercises. How these work is that while you’re exercising you resist against an external force in order to develop your muscles.
The most widely known form of resistance training is weight lifting. During this activity, you’ll use either weight machines or free weights to whip your muscles into shape. How this is done is that during the exercise, your muscle fibres tear microscopically. After your session, they rebuild themselves and so get stronger.
As the main constituent of muscles is protein, in order for your muscles to rebuild stronger and bigger, it’s recommended that you take in protein – either through a protein shake or foods such as eggs or lean chicken breasts – to facilitate muscle regrowth and regeneration.
You can also develop your muscular strength with Pilates. Instead of using weights, this exercise modality uses your body weight and simple exercise tools such as the exercise ball and theraband to give your muscles a workout and help you develop the muscular strength that you need.
Maintaining flexibility within our bodies, especially during later life, helps with maintaining our joints’ range of motion. The more that we’re able to maintain flexibility, the less susceptible we’ll be to diseases such as arthritis.
One of best ways of keeping flexible is by doing Yoga. Trusted for centuries, one of the foundations of Yoga practice are the poses that students need to adopt during the class. (In Sanskrit, these positions are called asanas.) Students will need to hold these poses for a particular period of time. The more flexible students will be able to hold the asanas for longer than newbie practitioners.
You can adopt the three methods above to maintain your health and fitness. However, you won’t reach the pinnacle of your wellness unless you adopt the fitness lifestyle to go with your new habits. For example, you won’t be truly aerobically fit if you smoke. Unless you eat cleanly, you won’t experience the muscle definition that you know you can.
Fitness is a lifestyle choice. You must go into it because you want to and not because other people tell you that you must do it. Because if you become fit and healthy because others tell you that you must, chances are very good that you won’t stay on this path. The choice is yours…
Want to Learn More about the Professional World of Fitness?
The world of fitness, especially when looked at from a professional standpoint, is made up of a collection of specialised insights and knowledge which can only be completely understood through careful training and practice.
If you would like to know more about how you can obtain the type of knowledge that will not only enable you to better reach your fitness goals, but will ensure you can help others to do so as well, contact Trifocus Fitness Academy or visit our website to learn more about our offers of internationally accredited fitness courses. Our top Personal Training package will give you all the necessary knowledge to assist potential clients.