As a coach, one of, if not the first thing I ask a client is “What are you training for?” Surprisingly, often the response is very vague such as “I just want to be fit” or sometimes it’s even “I don’t know”. While this is fine when you first start, in order to achieve a goal, you need to have a goal. You might not know it but even if you don’t have a goal, your coach (if they are good) will begin training you with a specific goal in mind.
This is due to a simple principle in training called Specificity. It simply states that an individual’s training should be relevant to their goals or sport. If your goal is to pull the heaviest deadlift you can, it obviously doesn’t make sense to run a marathon every weekend. While a fairly simple principle, it is extremely important to follow in order to achieve what you want to achieve. If you are not applying the correct training that is specific to your goal, you probably won’t achieve it.
Specificity follows what is known as the S.A.I.D. principle. S.A.I.D. stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. This simply means that your body will adapt to the stresses that you are exposing it to. This includes adaptations to your muscular system, cardiorespiratory system, metabolic pathways, and even your joints. For example, if you are running long distances, your body will adapt to become more efficient at this event by training your oxidative energy system and type 1 muscle fibers. This would be appropriate training for a marathon runner such as Eliud Kipchoge but not so much for a sprinter like Usain Bolt.
While specificity is usually applied to the Sports Performance side of training, I still feel it is applicable to the general fitness field as well. This is because everyone has a goal. Perhaps it’s to lose your belly fat. Maybe you want some more junk in the trunk. Or perhaps you just want to get that bicep vein. I have found that when individuals develop a specific goal they wish to achieve, they are more likely to persevere with training as they now have a mea