Progressive overload is a principle in strength training and exercise science that involves gradually increasing the demands placed on the body in order to continue making progress and adaptations. It is commonly used to increase muscle size and strength, but it may also play a role in fat loss.
While progressive overload can help to stimulate the body’s adaptive response, it is important to note that it alone is not enough to cause significant fat loss. To lose fat, a calorie deficit must be created, either through diet or exercise (or a combination of both). In other words, you must burn more calories than you consume in order to lose fat.
That being said, progressive overload can certainly contribute to fat loss as a form of exercise. When you perform strength training exercises, your body uses energy (calories) to perform the movements. This can help to increase your overall daily energy expenditure, which can contribute to a calorie deficit and fat loss.
Additionally, strength training can help to increase muscle mass, which can in turn boost your metabolism. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, meaning that it requires more energy to sustain. Therefore, increasing muscle mass through progressive overload can help to increase your resting metabolic rate, which can make it easier to create a calorie deficit and lose fat.
It is important to note that progressive overload should not be the primary focus of a fat loss program. Instead, it should be one component of a well-rounded exercise program that includes cardiovascular exercise and a balanced diet.
In summary, progressive overload is a principle in strength training and exercise that involves gradually increasing the demands placed on the body. While it may contribute to fat loss as a form of exercise and by increasing muscle mass, it is not enough on its own to cause significant fat loss. To lose fat, a calorie deficit must be created through diet and exercise.
- Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. “Progressive Overload.” Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 4th ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2008. Available at: https://www.humankinetics.com/products/all-products/Essentials-of-Strength-Training-and-Conditioning-4th-Edition
- Schoenfeld, Brad J. “The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 24, no. 10 (2010): 2857-2872. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2909049/
- American Council on Exercise. “The Truth About Fat Loss.” Available at: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5935/the-truth-about-fat-loss/