So you’ve been exercising for a while now. You have found a program that worked for you. You’ve found success with it and even came close to your goal. The past two months you’ve seen your progress stall. Your mile time isn’t getting better, the weight isn’t getting heavier. Let’s face it; you’ve become comfortable with your routine. Being comfortable with your exercise routine is the enemy of progress. Why? It makes sense that you’re exercising and eating right. There is actually a biological law that explains all of this; the Law of Accommodation.
“According to this law, the response of a biological object to a given constant stimulus decreases over time. Thus, accommodation is the decrease in response of your body to a constant continued stimulus” (Theory to Practice, 2014). This basically means that, we as humans (the biological object) are placed under a constant stimulus, the results decrease over time. For example you’ve worked up to your goal of squatting 135 lbs. and haven’t gone above that. If you keep squatting that weight, results will diminish and squatting that weight will become harder. Weight isn’t the only stimulus that we consider. Time on the treadmill, speed at which we row, and calories eaten can all be considered stimuli. The human body is amazing in the fact that it can adapt to stress in this way. This ability to accommodate to a stimulus is actually an evolutionary adaptation that has helped us to survive.
So how do we avoid this natural process? What if you can’t possibly lift more or run longer? Simply put, don’t let your body get too comfortable. “…qualitative and quantitative alterations must be made to your programming. Quantitative changes are those changes made to the training loads and tempos. Qualitative differentiation results in the selection of different yet specific exercises, or range of motion in like exercises.” (Theory to Practice, 2014). Changing the weights, sets, reps, amount of time ran, and even your speed is considered a quantitative difference. Changing an exercise slightly or all together is considered a qualitative difference. One of my favorite ways to keep things interesting is to change bars or to add accommodating resistance such as chains or bands. I usually change things every three weeks. Everybody will be different. Find what works for you as in individual. In short, keep your body guessing.
Now we have an understanding as to why we are seeing our progress stall. We can now progress towards our goals and achieve them quicker by changing our training methods. Keep an open mind about training styles. What works for someone else might not work for you and vice versa. Don’t let your body keep itself from improving. Keep things fresh, keep things fun, and keep pushing towards your goals!
Theory to Practice. (2014, July 14). Dodging the Acommondation Bullet. Retrieved from Theory to Practice: http://ancestralmomentum.com/2014/07/dodging-the-accommodation-bullet/