How to get Results from training (Progressive Overload)

Scenario one: Failure

You bust your ass in the gym. You walk in that door and train as hard and fast as possible, you move so damn quick that you end up gasping on the floor after 20 minutes, you think to yourself “this was amazing, I am super tired, this must work”. You maintain that optimism for a month or two, you end up moving a little more weight, you can do a little more work…things are going ok, then you hit a plateau. You don’t get any stronger, leaner, or faster, you are tired all the time, you aren’t getting the results that you want, you have no motivation…training just sucks; you are discouraged…What happened?


Scenario Two: Success

You go into training with a plan, you are prepared to work hard, and work smart, you know proper lifting technique, or you have someone to teach you. You start your training with basic movements and weights you can handle, after the first week you are feeling sore, but good. The next week you add a little bit of weight, a little bit more intensity, damn son, you feel good! Months pass…you are training the big lifts properly (no injuries for you!), you are increasing weights or reps every week, parts of your workouts you take your time and do things perfectly, other times you go fast and hard (all according to the plan)! You can constantly see progress in small degrees, your body is tight and lean, you move fast, you are powerful. All that hard work over time is paying off!

What the hell happened in Scenario one?

No plan, no Progressive overload.

You want the hard truth? LASTING RESULTS TAKE TIME!

squat PR

There is no fad diet that works, No 10 week plan for big guns and skull crushing mantacular chesticles (chest) no 10 week plan to perfect abs and asses. Anyone that tells you that is a liar, and a cheat.
You can get better in 10 weeks, but the results won’t last unless you have a plan for the next 30 weeks.
That is the hard simple truth, if you don’t like it then lay down and surrender. Just don’t start complaining that you are trying. We both know that is a lie.



INTRODUCING: Progressive Overload

This is not a revolutionary principle, it is nothing new. It boils down to planned, consistent hard work over time. We are going to keep it simple, here is how it works:

At it’s most basic progressive overload is forcing the body to adapt by placing a stimulus on it that is greater than it has previously experienced. You are forcing your body to change by moving beyond your comfort zones and creating a positive training response.


There was a time when Normal Push-ups were hard.

There was a time when Normal Push-ups were hard.



  • Lifting the same load for increased distance (range of motion)
  • Lifting the same load and volume with better form, more control, and less effort (efficiency)
  • Lifting the same load for more reps (volume)
  • Lifting heavier loads (intensity of load)
  • Lifting the same load and volume with less rest time in between sets (density)
  • Lifting a load with more speed and acceleration (intensity of effort)
  • Doing more work in the same amount of time (density)
  • Doing the same work in less amount of time (density)
  • Doing more sets with the same load and reps (volume)
  • Lifting the same load and volume more often throughout the week (frequency)
  • Doing the same work while losing body mass (increased relative volume)
  • Lifting the same load and volume and then extending the set past technical failure with forced reps, negatives, drop sets, static holds, rest pause, partial reps, or post-exhaustion (intensity of effort)   (Taken from

That’s a lot of stuff to take into consideration, and if you are a Strength and fitness geek like me you can appreciate the thought that Bret put into that list. If you just want to get leaner and stronger, or bigger and stronger you might want it broken down a bit more simply.

If you lift more than you did a month ago the body is getting better.

If you go deeper in a squat then you did before you are getting better.

If a 60kg bench was hard two months ago and now it is easy you are changing your body, it is getting stronger.

If you can train harder more often your body is getting used to the workout stimulus, it is adapting according to progressive overload!

If you can run faster and farther you are progressively overloading your body!


How to do it:


So now that you understand that there are multiple ways to become Stronger, Fitter, leaner and more athletic you are probably wondering how to get it done.

First option:

Get a GOOD training plan. The only way to achieve results that you want is to have a solid training plan that takes into account your strengths and weaknesses, and is designed for your  goals.

Second Option:

Get a GOOD Trainer. A Personal trainer who knows their shit will be able to help you reach your goals, whatever they are. Remember trainers are not magical; YOU have to put in the hard work, and dedicate yourself to getting better. Half ass dedication gets half ass results.

Third Option:

Educate yourself, and make your own plan. This one takes some time, and experience. Only experienced lifters should make their own plans.

Progressive overload is the only way to get better over time, but here is the key; it is not linear, at all.

Progress happens in waves, you will work hard for three months and get great results, work another two with very little, then work another month and see crazy results.  It takes time for your body to adapt, and it takes a well-designed plan to keep getting results. If you haven’t been training correctly for years, you can’t expect to turn that all around in a couple of months, you can get a hell of a lot better though.

This took Three years to achieve, now even that is training weight.

This took Three years to achieve, now even that is training weight.


If you are looking for a magic bullet to get great training results, this is the closest thing you are going to find. It takes hard work, and it requires dedication on your part.

If you are going to be lazy and not get a plan or a trainer you will fail.

If you don’t commit yourself to becoming a stronger healthier version of yourself, you will fail.

If you spend more time making excuses than owning your mistakes and success you will fail.

If you decide to become healthy, make a commitment to yourself, get a plan, work hard, and work consistently, you will succeed.


Get a plan, make a commitment, work hard, work smart, progressively overload your body and I guarantee you will be miles closer  to your fitness goal than you were a year ago.