14 Day Challenge – Day Five

Hopefully you’ve made it to the gym now (or done a home workout) and you’ve worked out your schedule so you’ll be able to work out 3 times per week, whilst leaving a day between workouts for recovery. If you worked out 2 days ago for the first time with Workout A, then you need to do Workout B today. You can see it again on yesterday’s post here. If you did Workout B yesterday, then today is a rest day.

If you’ve never worked out with free weights before, you might find that you feel very unstable and uncoordinated when you’re lifting the weights – particularly dumbell pressing (pushing) movements.

This is normal. It’s because you’re not used to using your nervous system and muscular system together in this way. You’ll adapt very quickly, get much less shaky and you’ll soon be able to lift in a more controlled fashion, and lift heavier.

That’s a key point you need to be aware of. You’re going to have to eventually lift heavier so you keep adapting.

Right now, you’re not used to lifting anything at all, so your body is adapting to the new stimulus. It won’t take long to adapt, and the workouts will feel easier. Once this adaptation has taken place, you need to make it more difficult so that adaptation continues to happen. If you don’t, you won’t continue to build muscle.

This is known as progressive overload

When you’re a complete beginner, you might be able to lift new, heavier weights every time you go into the gym.

It doesn’t continue like this forever, but you should take advantage of this while you can (whilst still observing good form).

Eventually, the rate of progress slows down, and you can’t lift new weights every session. You have to find another way to keep progressing.

How you do this is by adding reps. You may be able to add a rep to every set week to week, or maybe just to one set.

Whatever you do, make sure you’re progressing all of your workouts in some way, from week to week.

Any of the following will mean you’re getting stronger:

  • More weight lifted
  • Slower more controlled reps
  • More reps
  • More sets
  • Shorter rest between sets

This is known as the principle of progressive overload, and continuing to apply it as long as you continue lifting, will mean you continue getting better, stronger and making progress.

At the beginning, you may find it easy to remember all of your weights, reps and sets – but when you start progressing by adding just 1 rep to 1 set, you’ll lose track of where you are on every lift.

This is why it’s crucial to track your lifts, and refer back to your notes so you know what you need to hit when you approach a lift.

Get into the habit of doing this now, and you ensure you’ll have great progress.

A Coach Can Help You Progress

As you’re a beginner, you will probably be able to progress pretty quickly. You may be able to lift new weights every time you step into the gym.

As you become more advanced, you won’t be able to do this anymore, and you’ll probably have to focus on adding 1 or more reps each week.

There are various different progression models and ways of setting up your program to keep you progressing at the right rate. A coach can help you to get on the right program for your training experience, so you can progress as fast as possible.

A coach can also review your lifting videos and spot potential technique improvements that can help you to progress. They may also point out that your technique is getting worse as you progress up the weight – meaning you should probably focus more on form and progress more slowly on a different progression model.

Actions for Today

Today you need to ensure you’ve got some way of tracking your weights and reps. You may have started doing this already by plugging your reps and weights into the spaces I left for you on the spreadsheet. Or you may be tracking on pen and paper.

There’s lots of apps that can do this for you too.

I like simple apps. If this method of tracking works for you, then download Fitnotes (Android) or Heavyset (iOS).

Whatever your method, start tracking your weights and reps so you can refer back in future workouts and ensure you progressively overload.

Nutrition – Are you finding it easy to stick to your target calories? Soon we’ll be adding in a protein target too! Today’s action is to take note of how much protein is in the foods you’re tracking. If you’re using myfitnesspal, you can see how many grams of protein are in each serving you have, and how much you’ve had cumulatively at the end of the day. Post in the Discord Server and let me know how much protein you’ve had and what you bodyweight is (bodyweight is relevant).

That’s it for today!