Working out following a Fitbod exercise plan keeps training fun and interesting while you advance toward your fitness goals. Every day Fitbod suggests new exercises, some on equipment you haven’t used and others, variations on exercises you have done in the past. You probably don’t enjoy repeating the same, stale routines over and over and your body doesn’t either!
Changing up your exercises is important to prevent a plateau where your body has become accustomed to a routine and you see no more progress in your training. Simply adjusting your sets, reps, and weights is not enough; your body needs to experience new stimuli with alterations in the intensity, volume, and type of training you do.
General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)
Your body naturally tries to maintain an internal balance, or homeostasis, like every other organism. How it responds to stress was summarized by pioneering Hungarian-Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye in 1936. His theory, known as General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) identified three stages of stress response:
1. Alarm. The initial physiological reaction to stress, commonly known as the fight-or-flight response. Cortisol hormones released in the body cause symptoms such as increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and a boost of energy from adrenalin surge.
2. Resistance. The body’s attempt to adapt after the initial shock of the stress. It is still responding to the stress but with decreased hormone secretion, lowered heart rate, and lowered blood pressure from earlier high levels.
3. Exhaustion. The body’s energy reserves are spent, and you are drained physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In terms of exercise, you gain the most benefits when you are in the resistance stage. Your body needs to be appropriately stressed so it can respond by building muscles, developing muscular endurance, and improving cardio stamina. When you remain in the resistance stage for too long, however, you reach exhaustion which is not beneficial. When you are fatigued and burned out you are not at your best; you have less energy and enthusiasm for your workout, you no longer see the improvements you want, and you are more susceptible to injury.
How Fitbod Uses Non-linear Periodization
Fitbod recommends exercises for you that provide just the right amount and type of stress on your body, using an approach called non-linear periodization. This means that your exercises and the effort required vary (non-linear) and do not follow any distinct (linear) pattern. Exercise choice and order (periodization) are planned to allow muscle groups to recover and help you avoid repetitive motion injuries.
Instead of planning a course that gradually goes from low intensity/high volume to high intensity/low volume (low weight/more reps to more weight/fewer reps), your workout recommendations include a variety of exercises that use different muscles on different days. Mixing up the stress on different parts of your body is better for helping you gain strength and improve overall conditioning.
Note: you might see workouts that do follow a linear pattern when you are preparing for optimization of a specific muscle group at a set time, such as for a competition or test.
Fitbod Exercise Suggestions
The criteria Fitbod uses to select the best exercises for you are based on the data collected from your logged workouts. Instead of a personal trainer asking you questions such as:
“When was the last time you worked out?”
“What muscle groups did you engage with your workout?”
“How intense were your recent workouts?”
“How sore do you feel today?”
The app draws from your history of logged workouts to refine your exercise plan. It analyzes the number of times you have performed the exercise in the past and your preferences (e.g., how many times you added or removed the exercise) among other factors.
Your workout plan will most likely start with complex movements for the first and second exercises, then round out with other work that complements those exercises. Over time the variety, intensity, and volume of suggested exercises increases, with periodic recommended max efforts which ask you to perform to your limit.
The app recommends a Max Effort Day at random roughly one out of every four times you perform a given exercise. In a workout with eight exercises, chances are that two of them will be max effort. You can take this opportunity to move beyond your current comfort zone by lifting more weight or performing more reps than usual, which helps the app better approximate your true strength level for later exercise recommendations. Max Effort Days are recommended regardless of fitness goal.
Final Thoughts: Your Workouts Will Be Just Right
You can be confident that your Fitbod exercise plan is designed to give you a safe, effective, and efficient workout. At any time, if you decide you are not comfortable with your exercise suggestions, you can edit your workouts and indicate your preferences in the app, and it will adjust future recommendations to help keep you on track. Your workout will be just right!
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