There is no doubt that if you wish to change your body, you must overload the muscles and force them to work harder. This is referred to as functional overreaching, leading to super-compensation. Adaptation is the physiological response of your body to repeated exposure to training and can be achieved through training.
Stages of adaptation
In response to performing various exercises or loading your body in a new way, your body adapts to the increased load by increasing its ability to deal with it. Your body adapts in phases.
Weeks 1 to 3
When you do cardio or strength training for the first few times, your body may struggle as it gets used to this new stimulus. Your body feels sore during this period, and you may feel like you've made a big mistake. But you haven't; keep at it.
Weeks 4 to 16
Experts suggest that your body adapts to the exercises and activities you do within four to 16 weeks during which it becomes more efficient. Ensure you remain consistent with your regimen during this period.
Week 16 and Beyond
In about 16 weeks your body will stop responding to your workouts if you don't change them. However, if you present the body with new exercises or challenges, it will be more likely to respond.
Making sure your body continues to adapt is essential to making the most of your time in the gym. Throughout your workout, you must pay close attention to signs that indicate the workout is not as effective as it used to be. If that occurs, switch up your workout.
Signs to watch out for
The following are the top signs that you should try something completely different.
Exercise becomes a chore: If you feel like it's a chore every time you workout, then it may be time to try something new.
When you become burned out: If you become burned out, you should consider a break from your regular program. Consider taking a group fitness class if you exercise alone and vice versa. There is something refreshing about trying something new.
Constant injury: Injuries are a sign of overtraining. In the long run, doing the same thing over and over is not good for your body or mind, so you might like to consider taking a longer break and doing something to aid your body's healing, such as yoga or Pilates.
You've reached a plateau: If your weight loss or progress with your strength training has plateaued, it's time to change. You probably are stuck in a rut whenever you feel that way. Start making changes as you go along, rather than waiting for it to happen.
Changing up your workout
It is imperative that you start by implementing the F.I.T.T. Principle, which provides guidelines for a successful workout. Consider adjusting one or all of these elements: Frequency, intensity, time and type of activity.
A worthwhile workout program isn't the type you have, but the one you will actually follow. Try not to get too caught up in doing the right thing for a particular period of time. Any change is welcome if your body and mind have adapted to what you're doing.
If you reach a certain level of fitness after training consistently for three months or more, you can change things up every week. Establishing a periodization program will also eliminate the worry of plateauing.
Pay attention to your feelings about your workouts and make changes before you plateau. We sometimes get into routines without realizing how long we have been doing them.