The law of diminishing returns

For those of you involved in the business of economics you would’ve heard of the law of diminishing returns. For those of us who are not, the definition refers to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested. The phrase also applies in the fitness world. Whether you go to the gym once, twice, three, four or five times a week, we all go there for a common purpose: continued self improvement. From the moment you begin training we see changes in our strength and physique, especially in the first year. The body adapts very quickly though and progress can come to a sudden halt. One of the obvious things to do to combat the halt in progress would be to just spend more time at the gym. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Hence the law of diminishing returns. I’ve seen people go to the gym year after year for years on end not seeing any changes in their physique or strength. The body has well and truly plateaued and unfortunately they don’t have the knowledge or education to turn things around. Reverting back to the law of diminishing returns, with the amount of energy being put in not equalled by the benefit gained. This definitely applies to resistance training. More is not better. More will often lead to over-training. Over-training can lead to you being sick a lot, sore muscles, grumpy, general fatigue and injury. Training should never exceed two hours. Unless you are advanced and have your nutrition well and truly sorted, I would not even go as long as an hour and a half on a regular basis. To be training that long without an understanding of the influence that nutrition has on performance, will likely inhibit progress.
The key to getting past a plateau is realising /understanding that sooner or later your body will adapt. I would even go a step further and say with appropriate planning you should never plateau. Would you build a house without a plan? Would you go on holiday without an itinerary? Avoiding plateaus is about smart planning. It’s very important to change things up. Don’t do the same program for longer than eight weeks. Advanced trainers will often change things up on a weekly basis. Even if it’s just the order of the exercises. But things such as periodisation, less rest between sets, longer rest between sets for strength phases, giant sets, super sets, drop sets, triple drops, rest pause sets, running the rack, high rep sets, and low rep sets will all help you avoid plateauing. There are so many tools available to help you avoid plateau’s.
It’s up to you to educate yourself on all elements of training and nutrition for continued self improvement. If you don’t want to do that personally, find someone who has been there and done that and is knowledgeable in both nutrition and training to help you continually self improve.
In part two I will cover how you can eat for performance to take advantage of the hard work you put into training.

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