We have all been impressed by one person or another over the years. Impressed with their work ethic, impressed with their fitness, and impressed with the results they are able to achieve. Often times it seems to us impossible to ever achieve such things and that the rest of us will always be playing catch up to reach that level. It is important to remember that no one ever accomplished anything over night, they built what they have on a series of small successes that over time seem very impressive. A 1% change every week for a year adds up to 52%.
In fitness it is recommended that you never exceed a 10% change in a week, meaning try not to increase your speed, weight lifted, or overall workload more than 10% in any given week. This is a general recommendation to prevent injury and overtraining. Now 10% can be a very large amount for some of us and for some workout routines but again this is a maximum.
Let’s go back to our example of 1% a week for a year. At first this may seem miniscule. Let’s say you do 20 pushups a day for 5 days in a week, that means by the next week you are only adding 1 extra push up. That doesn’t seem like much. But let’s say you have done that for 50 weeks, making a 1% increase every week, by the end of that year you will have added 50 pushups to your weekly total or up to 30 a day. If you take that out another 50 weeks and you will add another 75 pushups per week (45/day), and another 50 weeks you will add another 112 pushups to your weekly total (67/day). So in less than three years of consistent 1% weekly increases you will have more than tripled your weekly workload. Now that’s a lot of pushups but using that same method we can make great increases in almost any area of fitness over time, but the key is time.
Staying consistent is tough but over time these small incremental increases will show large changes from where you started. Always remember the biggest incremental change is going from 0 to 1, get out there and make that initial investment in your health and watch that investment grow.