CALIBER Team Newsletter: [Day 2/7] Progressive Overload

Published by CALIBER Team on January 24th, 2019 1:40pm. 131 views.

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Today we’re going to teach you about what we think is the single most important factor for making regular progress in the gym.


This principle is the cornerstone of ALL our training methods. If you only read a single email in the entire 7 DAY REBOOT series, please make it this one.

Yes, this principle is just that important.

Have you ever heard of the word "kaizen"? It’s a Japanese term that means "improvement," and it also stands for an important Japanese business philosophy.

The idea is that you aim for a little bit of improvement every single day.

In business, this means making tiny improvements to your business processes. Then, over time, all of these little improvements add up to one HUGE improvement that results in a leaner, stronger company with growing revenues, declining costs, and happier employees.

But if we take this principle and apply it to fitness…

We have the single most important factor for getting HUGE results in the gym, including continuous increases in strength, size, and performance.

By focusing on making just a tiny amount of progress every single week…

...whether that means you do one more rep than you did the previous week, lift 5 more pounds, or bump up the intensity level on the elliptical…

You’re going to see how all of these little improvements quickly add up to BIG changes in your physique.

This technique of "constant improvement" in the gym is called PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD and it’s a fundamental part of our training methods.


Imagine it’s Week 1 of a new workout program that you’re following. It’s chest day, and the first exercise in your plan is the flat barbell bench press.

The instructions says to do 3 sets of 4-6 reps. So you go ahead and complete all 3 sets of the bench press, and you write down the results in your workout journal:

Set 1 - 95x5
Set 2 - 95x5
Set 3 - 95x4

This means that you lifted 95 pounds 5 times in both the first set and the second set. And on your third set, you lifted the same weight but were only able to get 4 reps.

Now let’s fast forward to Week 2.

It’s chest day again, and you’re about to do the same flat barbell bench press exercise you did last week. But this time, your goal is to do just a little bit more than you did last week.

So you put in your maximum effort and this week, here’s what your workout log looks like:

Set 1 - 95x6
Set 2 - 95x6
Set 3 - 95x4

Excellent work! You stayed at the same weight of 95 pounds, but you got one more rep in for each of the first two sets.

And in just one short week, you’ve seen your body get stronger and now you’re able to lift more than you did the previous week!

This is how body transformation happens. With every small step forward, you will be getting stronger and building more muscle.

Now for Week 3, because you’ve hit the maximum end of the recommended rep range of 4-6, you will put 5-10 more pounds on the bar and see how many reps you can do.

Your workout journal may look something like this:

Set 1 - 105x5
Set 2 - 105x4
Set 3 - 95x5

Look at that! Now you’re lifting 105 pounds when just two short weeks ago, you were maxing out at 95 pounds!

See how you’re getting stronger every time you complete the exercise?

This is progressive overload in action, and it’s the exact training system we use for both ourselves and our clients to see consistent improvement every single week.

Not only is this style of strength training SUPER EFFECTIVE, it’s also SUPER MOTIVATING. It turns working out into a game where every time you step into the gym, the goal is to beat your numbers from the previous week.

And as your numbers continue to increase in your workout journal…

You’re going to see the VISIBLE results in the mirror as you see your muscles getting bigger and more defined with each passing week.

OK, that’s all for today!

Tomorrow, we’re going to answer one of the most common questions we get from people trying to lean out and get a six pack, and that question is…

"Is cardio really necessary for fat loss?"

Stay tuned, it’s gonna be a good one!

All the best,

Chris and Justin
Co-Founders of CALIBER