Boo to Wimpy Weights

Ready for another exercise science lesson? Oh, I bet you are!

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Remember my post about the SAID Principle? If not, it stands for specific adaptation to imposed demands, and it essentially means that the body will specifically adapt to the type of demand (i.e. training) placed on it. I used Lance Armstrong’s experience in the 2006 New York City Marathon as an example in my post.

Related to the SAID Principle is The Principle of Overload:

The Principle of Overload involves providing the appropriate training stimulus to elicit optimum physical, physiological, and performance adaptions. A tissue will adapt when it is asked, on a regular basis, to do more; the tissue needs the overload or it will not adapt. [Source: NASM textbook]

According to this principle, for your muscles to adapt and get stronger, they need to be challenged with a load that is heavier than what they’re used to. So, if you’re lifting 5-pound dumbbells at the gym week after week, you’re not making any gains. Without imposing new demands on your muscles, you can’t significantly strengthen them. Basically, when you’re not challenging them, your muscles get “used to” a workout and become more efficient, which means you build less muscle and burn fewer calories. And, honestly, you’re kind of wasting your time. I mean, isn’t the point of strength training to get stronger and not just stay the same? 

The next time you’re at the gym, try choosing a heavier weight to lift. How much heavier, you ask? Pick one that you can lift for 10-12 reps before losing good form. Your muscles should feel fatigued for the last few reps of each set.

Additionally, according to The Principle of Overload, you can also challenge your muscles by switching things up with your workout, such as the number of reps and sets you do, how fast you lift and lower the weight, how long you rest between sets, how often you strength train, and the order that you do the exercises.

Moral of the story: lift heavier weights and switch up your workouts to get strong and toned!

Lunch

This afternoon’s lunch was a huge salad topped with Avocado Salsa, Romano cheese, chopped walnuts, truffle oil, and balsamic vinegar. The combination of these ingredients was so incredibly filing!

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Snack

A couple of hours later, I had a serious craving for a hot cup of coffee, which, naturally, paired well with a Maple Scone. I spread a thick layer of peanut butter on it for some staying power.

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CrossFit is about an hour away, so, just now, I snacked on a mug-o-banana with sunflower butter to fuel my workout and hold me over until dinnertime.

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Enjoy the evening, friends! I’m off to New York City in the morning!

70 Comments

  1. Would the same be true for Body Pump? I’ve been wondering this for a while b/c I’ve been kinda stuck on the same weight for a while, but I just haven’t made the leap to the next set of weights in class. Guess I’m afraid that I won’t be able to finish out the song.

  2. I really need to make some of this avocado salsa you’ve been having! I like these “science” posts too, some of the info I know generally but it’s nice to see the exact reasoning behind it.

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