What is progressive overloading?

When one sets out on a journey to improve their fitness in any aspect, the principle of progressive overload is just about the most important aspect to get right.  

A great way to break it down is to look at what we as fitness professionals call the FITT Principle. 

It stands for… 

F – Frequency (how many times you train in a week) 

I – Intensity (how hard the session is to perform) 

T – Time (the duration of the session or intervals) 

T – Type (the overarching style of training, Eg weights, running, swimming etc) 

When you begin training for the first time or after a long break, you’ll progress very rapidly and very easily. However, when you’ve been at it for some time you’ll hit a plateau at some point, or may even start to regress (go backwards). This is where using the FITT Principle is ideal.  

My advice is to look at your overall training week against the parameters of the FITT Principle, then look at increasing just one aspect. For example, you might not be able to fit in another session per week (frequency) but adding 10 more minutes to each session (time) might be just enough to break that plateau.  

It is not wise though to increase all variables all at once. This will be far too hard on your body and won’t be sustainable. Look at small increases done more often.  

Lastly, it is so important that you are tracking your training in some way. If you have no record of the distance you’re running or the weights you’re lifting, how will you be able to overload them? These days we have so much technology to track our training there really are no excuses!

Need a helping hand? Enquire at your local club to speak to one of our qualified personal trainers.