What Progressive Overload Is and How It's Transforming My Life

by Sandra Allen Lovelace  @SandraALovelace  #WallflowerWomen  #TimetobeYOU!

Have you ever heard the term progressive overload? It was new to me too, but the Functional Movement expert at Greenlife Wellness taught me the concept during rehabilitation. The benefits caught my attention when they began to flow into other areas of my life.

Dr. Thomas Delorme developed what some call the most effective principle for success in strength training as he treated World War II soldiers. His program of gradual increase of stress during exercise lifted the effects of battle fatigue, now known as PTSD. My improvements over four months suggest their training likely reached beyond the physical, and underscore the mind-body-spirit connection.

Xavier’s training unsettled me. First, because some of the exercises were unfamiliar and felt awkward. Then because he kept changing the number of repetitions and sets. I couldn’t just memorize a routine and let my mind wander as I used to. My questions led him to explain something he called progressive overload. But his trainer language meant nothing to me.  (Sorry, Xavier)

Progress was steady. My knees carried me more securely and with less pain. Having to pay close attention to the exercise routine disciplined my mind from its wandering habit. Workouts began to energize me and stretching at the end taught me to fully relax. My outlook brightened.

Slowly but surely progressive overload was strengthening much more than my knees. Share on X

While Xavier added a bit of weight here then increased the number of reps or sets there to reinforce muscle, God was using the same tactics to support different kinds of growth. Have you ever noticed how He does that? Just as we think we’ve made some progress and can relax (I’m getting better at this trust thing.), a fresh challenge throws us back into training mode (I’m ready to panic.).

My lips were whispering gratitude for some healing insights when a crisis blindsided me. I laid awake all night trying to make sense of the shocking circumstances, crying out to God to tell me what was going on and what I was supposed to do. Near morning, Holy Spirit brought the answer.

  • Face the circumstances.
  • Remember We (Father, Son, and Spirit) are with you.
  • Don’t panic.

Those were the only details. No specifics about what steps to take. Simply walk into the fray and retain my peace. Part of me smiled as I caught the progressive overload training mode. By His power, I resolved to make the most of the opportunity, feeling like a baby learning to walk. Without going into all the particulars, His grace sustained me. Not an ounce of panic for a solid week as He resolved the situation. Hallelujah. How I praise and honor His holy name.

Could you use strengthening in your mind-body-spirit?
The same Trauma Fighter is whispering to you in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me.”

Let me know how I can pray for you in confidence.


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