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Work Capacity. The Key To Improving Strength and Fitness

Work capacity is something that get’s over looked by the average gym goer. Not so much athletes due to how important it is to performance for any sports that involved endurance.


What is Work Capacity?


Work capacity is basically the amount that you perform and recover from and adapt positively to improve.


This means that you can:

1. Go harder for longer

2. Avoid over training (which I covered recently. Check it out if you haven’t already https://www.rmfitness.net/post/immune-system-and-over-training )

3. What you previously found hard will be getting easier

4. You can deal with more stress and more load


There is a big focus in the fitness world now on making sure you don’t do too much, or making sure you have enough recovery time. Which makes sense. There is definitely a time and a place for this.

But there is also a time and place where you need to do more. When you need to bite down and push on.



This is certainly easier said than done, but super necessary to push your fitness to the next level.

I’m sure at some point in your training you have hit a plateau or at least you know someone who this has happened to. This is what happens when you don’t challenge your body. When you do the same reps, same sets etc and expect to keep growing and keep progressing. (I also cover this in my progress overload blog https://www.rmfitness.net/post/progressive-overload)


So how do you get past this plateau? Do more! More, more, more!


What this will do is increase the amount of training, stress and stimuli that your body can take and allow you to allow you to grow and adapt.


So the greater your work capacity, the more training stresses you can handle. This should lead to getting faster results.


If you don’t work on your work capacity, you can’t handle the same amount of stress in your training and you get slower results.


If you focus on work capacity you will be able to consistently be able to grow and improve and improve.


There will always be room to grow and develop your work capacity. Yes there may be a point where your body just reaches its limits, but this will affect elite athletes more than the average person.

As the say goes, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.


Work Capacity and Recovery


Ok so I’m gonna try and explain this as best I can.


If you take low level stress training, such as 2-3km run or a short weight training session that isn’t very challenging. There isn’t a lot of stress or stimuli on the body to make it grow and improve. (Though if you are new to training this might be ok at the very start).



This means that there is a large work capacity or recovery needed.


So as you get fitter and stronger you start to kick it up a gear. You need to be running further and faster and you need to be putting in more work in the weight room.


As the training gets ramped up, you need a higher work capacity and adequate recovery. Or else you’re going to over train and become exhausted and this where you get sick or get injured as your body just can’t hack it.


The greater work capacity and ability to recover well, means that you can handle more stress in your training without over doing it and being counterproductive.


A Beginners Guide


Beginners make the best results because they’re new to everything. So every bit of stress and stimuli causes them to grow. You’re setting PB’s every other week.


So if you’re completely new to training, whether it’s a couple of push ups and squats a week or improving your cardio by walking more, you’re going to get results because you require very little stimuli.


If you are new to the gym, firstly, don’t be scared. No one is looking at you or judging you. Everyone is there to get fitter and stronger and are focusing on their own thing.


But what do you do as a newbie?


Anything really. Like I said, if you’re new to it, you require very little stress and stimuli to improve so do anything is fine.


As long as you perform the exercises safely and correctly, you’ll be completely fine. Some things will work, some won’t. We all go through that phase.


Now obviously the best way is to get a trainer who will teach you how to do exercise correctly and plan everything but you can get started yourself.


Because you’re starting out, your training doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. You just need to be out there doing something.


It really is that simple.


You don’t need a fancy gym or fancy equipment or an expensive trainer.


If you’re completely sedentary, brisk walking is shown to improve fitness and endurance. Or any other form of actively like cycling or swimming.


As you get fitter and stronger and are no longer a beginner, this is where your body requires that bit more stress and stimuli to adapt and improve.


Work capacity is so key on all levels of fitness and training. The better understanding of it, the better you can progress as you know how to get to the next phase.


Yes it’s easier said than done. But it isn’t complicated. It just requires more work, work, work.

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