From training in or training at the multitude of Cortland gyms, people are always looking for that “edge”, that way of training in order to get the maximum amount of results with the least amount of time.  Well here is the secret:  periodization.  This means simply, mixing up your routine in which you increase intensity, increase weight, increase exercise volume (sets) and increase repetitions.

The idea is to constantly shock your system, confuse your muscles to avoid adaptation, and to allow the quickest and most effective muscle growth.  However, it doesn’t have to just apply to your skeletal muscle and can be used to enhance your cardiovascular system to enhance fat burning.

This article is dedicated to breaking down how it works, followed by a routine for muscle building/toning and topped off with a killer cardio routine.

Your muscle adapt almost immediately (see Muscle Adaptation) from the first workout.  Therefore, causing an almost immediate strength gain, added stamina, and muscle hypertrophy/hyperplasia.  Hypertrophy is an increase in muscle cell/fiber size whereas hyperplasia is an increase in the number of muscle cells/fibers.  Same can be said from your first session of cardio.  Your blood oxygen increases, your VO2 max increases (maximal oxygen volume) increases, and your physical ability to perform the exact cardio routine the second time is almost always slightly easier.

Simply put, your body adapts due to the strains placed upon it.  A survival mechanism if you will.  That’s why when you take a substantial amount of time off from working out it seems just as difficult as the day when you began once you start up again.  Then within a few workouts, you find yourself going through the motions with ease.

Being blessed with this ability is something we all have in common and we can all utilize to maximize our results.  Featured in the second part of this article is an example of a 4 week arm routine that could potentially add a full inch to your arms (diet, rest, and other factors play into its effectiveness).