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Use Progressive Overload to Build Your Muscles and Your Life

Train long enough, and you’ll know that it can become difficult to increase your strength and muscle mass unless you force the issue. That’s the whole idea behind progressive overload: by pushing your limits, you force your muscles to adapt to greater demands and keep growing. The objective is to create tears in your muscle fibers, which will be repaired by growing back a little larger than before while you sleep and recover.

There are many ways to induce progressive overload. The most straightforward way is to incrementally raise the amount of weight you lift from week to week or from month to month. You can also reduce the duration of your rest periods between sets so that your muscles fatigue faster. Keeping the weight the same from week to week but increasing the number of reps per set will also induce progressive overload, as will slowing down the pace of your reps to increase time under tension. Personally, two of my favorite techniques are supersets and drop sets, which almost literally beat my muscles into submission.

All of those training tactics are capable of inducing the progressive overload you need to keep leveling up your strength and overall build. The main prerequisites are that you have to want it and be willing to overcome discomfort. And make no mistake about it, when you’re progressively overloading, things get uncomfortable pretty quickly.

And that brings me to the point of this Pep Talk. Everything that we do in the gym is preparation and practice for life outside of it. Think about it for a moment, and you’ll recognize how the concept of progressive overload can be applied to other areas of your life.

There is so much more to learn, no matter how smart or accomplished we are as individuals. Even the most brilliant of us possess but a tiny iota of all the knowledge available. Remember that the total package comprises health, constructive relationships, wealth, knowledge, and purpose, so there is always some area we can improve in. We just have to be willing to stretch ourselves.

Speaking of knowledge, the point of having and expanding it is to apply it to something useful. That’s the only way to truly learn something. By doing so, any one of us can grow our capabilities and discover new opportunities to improve ourselves.

So don’t think progressive overload is only about growing big muscles and strutting your stuff. It’s also about continually striving to be a better person and improve your life. In the process, you can be an asset to others and make a positive impact on the world.

Sayonara until next time.

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