I’m going to be giving you the most important variable for results from your exercise program. And remember, here at Health REBELs, we are charting a new path to health, one that’s focused on health first, not on athletics. And on this path, we follow the REBEL oath.
We focus on…
- Reject extremes
- Energize ourselves through healthy habits
- Break free from common standards
- Excite ourselves about our potential, and finally,
- Love ourselves and act accordingly.
Anyway, let’s dive into today’s episode, and talk about the most important variable for results from your exercise program.
Do you know Ancient Greek history? Do you know Ancient Greek mythology? Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. But there was maybe maybe there was there probably was a Milo of Croton. And Milo when he was a little kid decided that he wanted to be the best. He wanted to be an undefeated wrestler. He wanted to be the Olympic champion. In the ancient Olympics, the one Hercules himself competed in and he wanted to be an Olympic wrestling champion.
He said, “When I grow up, I’m going to be the strongest man in all of Greece.” And Milo devised a plan that was genius. You see, Milo was a farm kid. His family owned a farm at the, at the foot of a hill at the foot of mountain. he was at the foot of a mountain, he took a baby calf, he took a baby cow, a calf, and he carried it to the top of the hill.
And he brought it back down. And he decided that he was going to do this every day, every day, he was going to take this cow, and he was going to walk it to the top of the mountain and walk it back.
The results? What ended up happening was growth. Baby cows don’t stay baby cows very long. And neither do young boys. And this young boy, as he carried that baby calf to the top of the mountain, that baby calf would grow bigger, would grow bigger, grow heavier. And as that cow got bigger as that cow got heavier, Milo of Croton had to get a little bit stronger, a little bit stronger each and every day to carry that cow to the top of the mountain and bring it back.
As the cow grew, so did Milo.
As the cow got heavier, Milo got stronger, over and over and over again little bit more by little bit more. And what this does, this ancient myth shows us the earliest example we have of the most important variable for results with exercise.
And that is a concept that we call progressive overload.
Progressive: progressive meaning that in incrementally, incrementally, we want to progress the amount that we move. You know, just like Milo, just like Milo’s cow progressively got a little bit more weight, a little bit more weight, a little bit more weight. So to must our exercises, right, because the second part of that overload, what that refers to is doing a little bit more than you were previously capable, overloading your abilities.
And with progressive overload, what we end up doing is we stretch our capabilities. And we continue to expand our capabilities and continue to make progress and continue to improve our fitness and continue to improve our health outcomes.
The most important variable for results from any exercise program is going to be progressive overload. Like this is the most important variable. And unfortunately, in the fitness industry, we often get away from this. We often kind of forget about this and we try to get really fancy, we try to make things really sexy without substance. Right?
I don’t share this very often but I do actually do a little bit of business mentoring, and I have a I have someone that I’m mentoring right now. Great guy DeMarcus just got a brand new job as a personal trainer. He was talking about “man, it’s so much I got to learn all this new stuff about metabolic training.” And I let him know, “man just slow down a little bit. That’s nice, that’s good stuff to get into, it can help enhance a workout. But focus on the most important thing first, the most important thing is going to be progressive overload.”
Oftentimes, unfortunately, and I made this mistake, too. In my early days, as a personal trainer, I might have mentioned this on episode two or three, talking about some of my mistakes in early on in my career. But oftentimes, personal trainers when they’re working with clients, they’re trying to entertain, they’re trying to make things fun and interesting. And they’re trying to look like they’re more qualified. They’re trying to create impressions of being elite.
And so they’ll do really fancy things, really weird things sometimes. But they’re random things, and random workouts will get you random results.
Let me say that, again, random workouts will get you random results.
And so sometimes we get a little too fancy. And we forget, the most important variable is progressive overload, we can get really fancy with metabolic workouts we can get really fancy with with wads, we can get really fancy with challenges and tests and protocols. And when you try to get really, really fancy, but if we’re not progressively overloading our workout plans, the sad reality is six months down the road, our results are going to be random.
Right. But I do want you to know, don’t think that I’m saying that you have to go sling, a ton of weight progress is not just lifting more weight, that’s all Milo had, all Milo had was walking the cow up the mountain and back in the cow would progressively weigh more and more. But that’s not the only way to progress.
I recently did a coaching call with my clients. And we laid out eight different ways that you can progress exercise or progress a workout plan eight different ways we’re not going to get into all of them on this blog post, But I do want to share some of the obvious ones,
some of the obvious ones might be, you know, you can also increase the amount of sets. If Milo were to walk up that mountain once that’s a challenge, if Milo walks up that mountain twice, that’s a progress that’s more challenge than before, right? You could increase your endurance, you’re going to increase your strength endurance, that way, you’re going to increase your stamina, right?
What if, instead of more sets, What if we did things with a different speed? What if we change the tempo, right on strength training exercises, if you’re doing five squats, and it takes you 10 seconds to do five squats, and then the next day, you do five squats, but you slow it down. And then now it takes you 20 seconds to do five squats. You could try this out. You can try this out right now listen to this podcast if you’re available in a place where you can stand up and do squats.
But if you do the squats a little bit slower, you’re gonna spend more time under tension, you’re going to get more burn, you’re going to send more stimulus to that muscle. Conversely, with cardio with aerobic stuff, if you move a little bit quicker, you’re going to test the respiratory system a little bit more. Right speed can be a progress, right? If you get up to if Milo carries the calf up to the mountain and it takes him 35 minutes. And the next day he tries to get it done in 33 minutes, he’s gotten better. If you’re going to get it done in 30 minutes, he’s gotten better. If he gets it done in 27 minutes, Whoa, that’s a lot harder than getting to the top of the mountain in 33 minutes. Right speed is something that we can do to make progress. We can also talk about frequency. Right? How often are you doing that exercise that can be a way to progress. If you’re walking the cow to the top of the mountain once a week, and then you go twice a week. You’re getting more stimulus, you’re getting more signals to improve your fitness you’re getting more signals to improve your health results. If you’re working out three days a week right now, and then you add in a fourth day. Well that’s a little bit more stimulus that could be a way to progress. There are eight different ways that I highlighted with my clients and that I do in my coaching program. If you ever do my coaching program the new the new path the REBEL path The health, then you’ll learn the eight different ways to progress exercises.
But there’s ways to progress, it doesn’t just have to be lifting more weight, you can challenge yourself in other ways. Right? Maybe you’re working out at home right now after COVID. And you’re confined to a limited amount of weights. Right? When I was originally building my garage gym during the pandemic, I originally had like 20 pound dumbbells, and that I could not go above because all the dumbbells at the fitness places were sold out. So I was stuck with 20 pounds in I couldn’t just do 20 pounds, right. So there’s other ways to progress, tempo, repetitions, set reps, there’s different ways to progress. It doesn’t just have to be weight, but it does have to be progressed.
And so how do we implement this? How do you implement progressive overload and continue to get more health more fitness more outcomes from your workout plans? Well, the very first place to start is you cannot improve upon something you don’t know. So the first place to start is you really DO have to do, you do have to take notes. Now with my coaching program, as a health coach, I provide my clients an app, where you can write down the reps, the sets the weight, you can also monitor other factors, like how difficult it felt, and how much rest time you took. And we can use that to progress in the future.
My app, I designed it very specifically with progressive overload in mind to get client results. And so it will actually auto populate some data from your previous workout. So you can see that, but then somewhere in your workouts, we want to add a little bit more somewhere, somehow, we want to do something a little bit more, whether it’s faster, whether it’s more tempo, whether it’s slower tempo, whether it’s more reps, we just want to take note of what we’ve done, and then tried to do a little bit more next time. I’m really proud of the app that I built for my clients to kind of help facilitate progressive overload to make that a little bit easier, a little more top of mind recognition.
But maybe in your own workout programs, you need to do that. Maybe you need to take a note and say, Hey, I might have been able to get a couple more reps on push ups today. Next week, when I do push ups, I’m going to try to do two more reps than I did today. Or maybe you felt like you could do a couple more pounds on your bicep curls, I don’t know what it is, maybe you could have gotten an extra quarter mile on your walk. Whatever it is you’re doing whatever form of progress you’re planning to take, we just need to add it into the workout somewhere. And that is really the ultimate key the most important key to continuing to get results from your exercise program. It’s progressive overload, you have to make it a little bit more challenging somehow, some way. And there are eight different ways to do that. But you have to make sure that you’re doing it. You have to take notes of what you’re doing right now. Random workouts will get you random results.
But if you do progressive overload, your progress will be assured. And that’s all I got for you today REBEL so make sure I’m curious actually, feel free to email me Stephen Ste v n at health rebels.us And let me know what kind of progress you’ve been making on your workouts. Or if you’re not taking care of progressive overload right now and you want a little bit of accountability doing so I do health coaching and I would love to help you with that. You can find my website at health rebels.us Or you can shoot me an email [email protected] And until I see you again next time for the Health REBELs podcast, do a little progressive overload and make sure to keep the oath
I hope that episode helped give you some steps you can take to break free from common standards so that you can live a happier, healthier life. I’d love to continue to support you on that path to redefining healthy living. So I want to invite you to join my free Facebook group, the Health REBELs community. There we post daily content to redefine what healthy living means. By following the holistic wheel and the REBEL. You’ll also get community support with like minded Health REBELs. If you’re not already a member, search for the Health REBELs community on Facebook or go to facebook.com/groups/health REBELs. I look forward to seeing you in there REBEL