Stress is any demand imposed upon the body.
Adaptation is how the body responds to the load imposed by the stress.
In the case of strength, when a stress is imposed, the body adapts by building more muscle and making bones more dense. This allows for heavier loads to be lifted later on. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, the gains in strength compound over time, and are so expensive to the body, that they persist longer than other trained qualities like speed, aerobic capacity, etc.
Training is applying a specific stress to cause a specific adaptation. So when we strength train, we are imposing a specific stress (lifting weights) to cause a specific adaptation (getting bigger and stronger).
The amount of stress will depend upon your ability. The rate at which you adapt will depend on the overall amount of stress in your life and the ability to recover from it.
Compared to adaptation, stress in the gym is simple!
Stress in the gym to get stronger always comes down to how much weight did you lift and for how many repetitions. Once we know that, the next time we can do a little bit more, and on and on, until that linear progression can not work anymore.
Adaptation, on the other hand, is where your writer has always screwed up. To get the most out of a training program, you have to eat enough and sleep enough.
For both eating and sleeping enough, enough usually means more than you’re willing or sometimes able to do.
“Enough” sleep means 8+ hours a night of high quality sleep.
“Enough” for food could mean upwards of 6,000 calories a day. It doesn’t always mean this, but it could.
As if that weren’t enough, it also means surrounding yourself with positive people, minimizing stress in your working life and relationships, and eliminating outright toxic stress, all of which get more difficult as we age and require a lot of time and effort to achieve.
In the next post, we’ll cover training advancement and why so many people screw it up.