Whatever your goal is – to gain muscles, loose weight or gain strength – these goals require complex changes in your organism. Changing your body is tough because of the phenomena called homeostasis. Body tries to recover to a “stable” state – the one it is used to. That’s why many apprentice athletes fail at gaining results.
In this article we will explain how to hack your body using sport science achievements to gain consistent long-term results.
How to Change Your Body?
If there was only homeostasis, any changes to your body would be impossible. Another phenomena that allows our body to change is adaptation. Adaptation is a reaction of your body to the environment or stress. There are short-term adaptations and long term adaptations.
Talking about sports there are two main theories, that are backed by concrete evidences, which actually allow one to get practical results.
The first one is Supercompesation and the other is Fitness-Fatigue Model.
Supercompensation (also know as General Adaptation Syndrome, GAS) was initially described by Selye in 1956, and was widely adopted by the top athletes of 20th century.
The GAS theory proposes that all stressors (e.g. workouts) result in similar responses. It states that supercompensation is a short-term reaction (few hours – several days). The initial response, the training stage, is negative, with the physiological state of the organism decreasing. You can notice that just after any workout when you just can’t make yourself to do one more rep. Then goes the recovery stage, where positive changes occur, returning the body to the balanced state. And after that occurs a phenomena of “supercompensation” when your muscles are adopted to tolerate a little more of that what caused stress next time.
This theory suggests that timing your workouts is essential to get consistent results. If you train too early after previous workout, then you don’t allow your muscles to recover completely and the supercompensation never occurs. If you’ll train to late you’ll loose all the effect from previous session and you won’t get significant results in the long term. So the right timing of the workouts for each muscle group is essential for gaining consistent results.
Fitness-Fatigue Model is currently used by top athletes and coaches around the world including some of the Olympic champions. Is is also very useful for beginners and has some very important implications for them.
Proposed in 1982 by Bannister, the fitness-fatigue model argues that different training stresses result in different physiological responses. The state of the organism without training is the baseline level, which represents the individual’s general fitness. Training results in two after-effects, which can positively or negatively influence performance: fitness and fatigue.
Fitness-fatigue model is not an alternative to the Supercompensation. It could be viewed as an extension and better representation of body reaction.
How All This Could Help Me?
As we can see from Supercompensation theory:
- You should track all the workouts and muscle groups it affects.
- You should train the right muscle group at right time.
Fitness-Fatigue Model has the following practical implications for beginners (if you began to workout 6-8 months or less):
- Don’t do too much too early. Make workouts easy.
- Stay consistent.
- Focus on full body and complex exercises.
- Track what works best for you.
- Focus on technique.
- Start tracking supercompensation after 3-4 weeks and tailor your workout plan to match adaptation times.
- If you feel bad – reduce the load.
Fitness-Fatigue Model implications for advanced athletes we are going to discuss in next article.