The Best Kept Secret to Maximizing Training
Exercise principles define adaptation response. Most Americans who work out lack an understanding of basic human physiology, causing them to forego specifically applied progressive overload. Selye’s general adaptation theory states that when the body is strained it will adapt to and overcome the stress. However, after adaptation has occurred, a new level of stress is required. The same absolute stress will not be perceived as “a new stress” by the body. If the stress is reduced, the body will in turn reduce the response and the principle of reversibility is invoked, explaining the adaptational diminution. This being said, physiological adaptations are simply a response to stress that is applied at a frequency significant enough to require the body to change in order to better manage it. Inherently the body does not like to change, and in fact, is resistant to chronic adjustments. For instance, muscle hypertrophy training can be applied for 4-6 weeks before the body will increase contractile protein content, and the body will continue to resist significant change for 18-24 months before a shift to higher protein synthesis, associated with higher anabolic hormone concentrations, occurs. This is a natural defense mechanism to heightened metabolism. Tens of thousands of years ago a human with more muscle would need more calories, and in the type of environment experienced at that time, a high metabolism was a curse rather than a blessing. Likewise we have defensive mechanisms for weight loss. Consider the same human 30,000 years ago; a high metabolic rate equates to a need for more food, and a low body fat meant risk for starvation and hypothermia when exposed to the elements. Most resistance to physiological adaptations stem from defense mechanisms for survival. These mechanisms also explain our actual impressive initial resistance to obesity and paradoxical ability to add fat and mature lipid cells.