A well designed fitness plan recognizes that exercise is a systematic method of applying stress to the body. Your body responds to that stress during the recovery process by adapting, and adaptation prepares you for the next workout. In order to achieve a goal, you should plan to increase or change the type of stress applied to the body during workouts (in both cardio and resistance training) by changing number of reps, increasing amount of weight, limiting rest periods, or changing the type cardio you do.
Remember, the body adapts during the recovery period, not during stress. If you neglect to include recovery time in your workout plan, it may inhibit your ability to progress and improve at the rate you desire (psst…aka recovery is crucial).
Including progressive exercise in your plan and evaluating yourself from a weekly, monthly, and yearly perspective will prevent you from becoming discouraged about poor performance such as a bad game or a disappointing workout. As you use this theory you’ll begin to appreciate the times when you’re at your best and encourage yourself through times when your motivation is low or the business of life takes time away from your training schedule.
Progression in the form of cardio, strength, and endurance is one of my favorite things to teach and do in the gym. It’s how you measure success and progress on the way to achievement. It’s also an excellent concept to remember when recovering from injury or any type of surgical procedure (with the correct guidance of course).