How do you get fitter? Well you have to get fatigued. This might sound like a contradiction, but, without stressing your body through training, you won’t force your body into adapting. It’s during this adaptation that your body starts to grow stronger, fitter, faster and more capable of coping with the stresses you are putting it under.

The Overcompensation Model infographic above shows how this is done. You start with a baseline fitness, you then start to add training to it, shown by the red line dropping, this is called overload and it is where you aim to go further than you normally do. Following this as you start to reduce training, or in some cases stop all together, and you start to recover.

Your body then goes into a period of over compensation (or sometimes called super-compensation). This is where the body surpasses the baseline fitness. It is at this point that you would be at your peak fitness and at optimum time for competing or when you should be starting your next training phase in order to progress this even further.

Of course, if you do nothing then you start to get reversibility where your body will return to its baseline fitness state and decline further the longer you do nothing. The danger in this model is doing too much during the overload period with not enough recovery or not allowing enough recovery before starting your next phase of training. This is called over-training, or as I prefer under-recovering.

The problem is finding out how much your body needs to be stressed by in order to undergo over compensation without either over-training (under-recovering) or not going hard enough. This is incredibly unique and some people will have the ability to recover quicker and therefore able to start training again far earlier than others.

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