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Fun and Fitness: Goal setting the S.M.A.R.T. way

Rick Melo | Interrobang | Sports | February 9th, 2009

Last week we discussed three of the seven principles of training. Overload and progressive overload outlined the principles which involved creating a strong enough stimulus on the body in order for it to adapt and progress. The specificity principle described the importance of training with a strictly specific training regime that is aimed at what you're trying to improve.

Although these three principles are by far the most important, the next two carry a great weight of importance. Those two principles are individuality and reversibility.

Individuality refers to each and everyone of us. Just like any other characteristic of life, we differ in all of them. The same can be said for each of us in a training setting. Physically and mentally we are all different. We come in all shapes and sizes; thin, lean, thick, obese, built, short, tall or a combination of several of these traits. Mentally, some of us are extremely focused and consistently stay that way, while others let their minds easily drift away from the task at hand.

That is what makes us individuals and that is why we all differ in how our bodies react to training. One works for one individual may not work for the next. Keeping in mind that we are all built differently in terms of genetics, there will always be certain ideals that we will never be able to achieve no matter how hard we try. However, no matter what our limitations are, we can always improve. The individuality principle is a reminder to all of us that we must find what works for ourselves.

Reversibility refers to the physiological fact that what we can in training, we can also lose. A prime example would be the varsity basketball teams. When they began practices they probably found themselves quite winded. As practices continued, they found that they could last longer and weren't so short of breath because their cardiovascular strength was improving. Once the Christmas holidays hit and they were off to practices and games for a month, many of them found that they were getting that initial winded feeling they had at the very beginning of the season. That's because they had stopped training, and they were losing their progressive gains!

Injuries are the main cause of reversibility because they often force us to refrain from physical activities for an extended period. A weightlifter may find himself atrophy (lose muscle size) within a month of absence from the gym. The good news is that getting back into shape is often easier the second time around, and can often be quicker.

How quick a person can recover and get back to top form can vary from one person to the next. That is why it is important to keep a firm grasp of how these principles tie in with one another. So do what works individually for yourself and next time reversibility creeps its ugly head at you, just turn it around on itself and reverse yourself in the progressive direction.
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