The SAID principle is one of the fundamental principles of any physical training. The acronym stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. What this means is that the body will change and adapt to whatever stimulus you give it. For instance, if you perform short, intense bursts of activity over and over again following a high-intensity interval training protocol, then your body will adapt to have more stamina and be able to perform at a high intensity for short, repeated periods.


This concept opens a world of training techniques for athletes of different kinds, but for people just looking to get into better shape and gain a little more muscle, this allows you to tailor a training program that will not only deliver the results you want, but do it more efficiently.


Looking into the most common reasons people start training, there are two that immediately come to mind -gaining muscle and getting stronger. The two can be achieved at the same time, especially at the beginner stage – with the bonus of losing excess fat. In the context of non-competitive sports, any improvement is a step towards the goal of being in better shape than the previous day.


This is a very difficult exercise.

This is a very difficult exercise that takes quite a bit of training to perform.


Since the goal is to continuously improve and not to hit a magic number, there are infinite possibilities for challenging the body without engaging in a routine that is set in stone. You can perform more “natural” workouts based on how strong you are feeling on a certain day.


To obtain great overall fitness, your activities should include at least two weight lifting sessions a week, one or two high-intensity interval sessions, lots of walking around and MINIMAL sitting. This will make your body used to being always on the go, and the lifting sessions will give your muscles the stimulus it needs to grow. Increasing the overall demands placed on your body is key to forcing it to adapt.


When it comes to weight lifting sessions, you can increase the weight, increase the repetitions per set, or go all-out at the last set for as many repetitions as you can. Another alternative is to use a different variation of the movement. If you are using moderate weights, reduce the rest periods between sets so you are doing more work in less time.


For the interval training sessions, you can increase the length of each interval, perform movements more explosively, reduce the rest periods between intervals, or increase the number of intervals.


Keep in mind that the goal of each training session is to outdo the previous one. That could mean doing an extra repetition or two at the last set, completing the workout faster, or performing more work within the same time period. This will keep your training dynamic, allowing you room to listen to your body and making sure it has the resources and rest it needs to adapt to the demands you place on it. Your body has no choice but to adapt – all you have to do is be consistent. Even 15 minutes of exercise has benefits, which you can read about in this article.


Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici,