When you finish a workout, are you feeling completely wiped out? Did you work as hard as you possibly can for that given day?

Without effort, your body is not placed under enough stress to change. Stress creates adaptation. Your body will adapt to any stress you place on it. That’s how you get stronger, faster, etc. When you move faster, lift heavier, and restless during a workout, your body will adapt to it to make it easier the next time you work out.

There are a few ways your muscles can adapt. Neuromuscular adaptations happen the fastest compared to other adaptations. Your body can recruit more motor units for a muscle contraction. This is called motor unit recruitment. The more motor neurons that are recruited, the stronger the muscle contraction will be. Hypertrophy is another way your body can adapt. This can happen in a couple of ways. Your muscle fibers can get bigger, or your muscles can increase the amount of glycogen (energy) they store.

Your body can also get more efficient at buffering lactic acid. When you get to the part of your workout when your muscles start to burn, you are feeling that moment when your muscle is reaching its lactate threshold. This means you’re producing more lactic acid than your body can get rid of. When there is too much lactate in your muscle, your muscle cannot contract. If you continue to train at lactate threshold, over time your body will adapt by buffering it out more quickly. Your threshold will increase. Training at your lactate threshold will require some serious mental toughness because it is not very comfortable to feel the burn and to keep pushing through it.

Blood capillaries will become more efficient to supply muscles with oxygenated blood. Your muscles can also develop more mitochondria to produce more energy for your muscles. Even your fiber types can change depending on what type of training you do (fast twitch or slow twitch).

There are other adaptations that occur such as cardiovascular, bone, respiratory, and hormonal adaptions that also take place.

So, what am I getting at here? You need to create stress on your body by moving faster, lifting heavier, etc. This will make your body adjust and adapt to get better at whatever you are struggling with. If you struggle to lift, your body will get stronger. If your muscles are burning, your body will adapt to buffer out the lactic acid more efficiently.

Once your body adapts to the stress, you have to keep increasing the stress. This means you have to work faster or lift heavier once your body gets used to it. There is always room for improvement! Keep pushing!

For more information, contact personal trainer Jordan Weichers at Jweichers@houstonian.com.