When, why, and how to go up in resistance (and the steps to take in between!)

By: Dr. Payton Busker, PT, DPT

Choosing appropriate external load (i.e. weights) and steadily increasing that load is essential to progressing your fitness routine. But this choice (and the progression) can be very confusing! How do we know where to start? Are there steps to take prior to picking up a heavier dumbbell? And when is it time to add resistance? All of these questions will be answered in today’s blog post! 

Our goal at Evlo is muscle hypertrophy. 

Muscle hypertrophy is the physical increase in muscle size through growth of contractile proteins within the muscle. This increase can lead to many improved health measures such as insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular health, and body composition. Although hypertrophic changes do not have a direct 1-to-1 ratio with strength improvements (ability of your muscle to produce force), increasing the muscle size is shown to allow for more force production through an individual muscle. 

In order to achieve true...

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4 nervous system "hacks" for better results

This blog is going to be a bit nerdy. We’re talking about 4 cool nervous system “hacks” that can improve the results of your workouts. 

We implement these things in my classes, which is one of the more unseen or unrealized reasons my classes are so effective. I also hear often from the members that this is the first program they look forward to and enjoy, and they may not know why. I think these are some of the reasons why - because we are using their nervous system to create an environment that doesn’t feel like a threat. When your brain thinks something is a threat, it will avoid it. And we know consistency is super important in your workouts, so we have to train our nervous system that our workouts aren’t a threat to our safety. 

Your nervous system is extremely important in driving results from your workouts because it will dictate how easily you will recover and lay down new muscle. Because of this, we have to work WITH our nervous...

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Exercise and Cortisol

Exercise is a stress to the body. It is disrupting the equilibrium of your body, which your body interprets as stress. This means exercise will spike cortisol.

Chronically elevated cortisol will result in problems in your body, as I discussed earlier. However, studies show that regular exercise can improve your stress response, even though it acutely spikes cortisol acutely or right away. 

So the answer is not to stop exercising all together. The answer is to figure out how to dose exercise so that your body responds favorably. 

A common thing I've been told from my Evlo members is that they work out less frequently and intensely with my program, and yet they see more desirable changes in their bodies. 

This change happens partly because of the exercise selection we are choosing - we are intentionally choosing exercises that load the muscles in the most effective ways with minimal joint stress. That results in better muscle adaptation with less painful joints. But it...

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How to identify and avoid overtraining


My most common client looks like this:


They are fit, and exercise is a priority. 

They like to work out super hard, and motivation is not an issue.

They don't often take breaks or feel guilty when they do.

They don't feel like they did enough unless they're completely exhausted and dripping in sweat.

Their body hurts. 

They are fatigued and frustrated. 

They've plateaued, declined, or aren't seeing results at all.

They are overtraining. 


Overtraining is a systemic phenomenon that affects your entire system, including your immune system, nervous system, endocrine system (hormones), and musculoskeletal system (joints). Overtraining is different from overuse in that overuse is more specific, usually describing one area or muscle group (you can find out what muscles you're overusing in this free assessment I wrote), where overtraining affects all the systems in your body.


I see overtraining in my clients all the time. They are frustrated...

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