The Importance of Training Specificity - By Sarah Flook


Do you ever walk into the gym, look around at all the machines, and just hop on a treadmill and start aimlessly walking for 30 minutes while watching a show on Netflix? As a fitness professional that works in a gym, I have seen many people wander in because they know that they need to exercise or have been told by a doctor that they need to exercise, but they have no idea how to effectively train to reach their goals. Whether the goal is weight loss, improving strength, improving balance, speed, power etc., in order to make the most of your training, you must know where you are going, and how you are going to get there. Your fitness journey is much like a road trip. When you set out to take a road trip, most likely you will look up the directions, the time it takes to get there, and the best route you can take to arrive at your destination. Training is no different. When you set your fitness or performance goal, you need to determine what the best training is to reach this goal, how long it will take you, and what is the most specific thing you can do to reach this goal. If you decided that you wanted to take a road trip from Florida to New York, but instead of looking up directions, you just started driving around hoping that eventually you would end up in New York, you would waste a lot of time, get frustrated, and probably quit before you got there. In order to effectively reach your fitness goals, you have to have a training plan and train specific to the goal. The principle of Specificity says that training must be specific and relevant in order to get the desired response, and must progress from general to specific. For example, if a client signs up for training and tells me that his/her main goal is to improve speed and get faster so that he/she can be a more competitive athlete, I’m not going to have them go on 45 minute long runs and do long bouts of aerobic exercise because that would develop the slow-twitch muscle fibers, and would train his/her body and nervous system to move slow and steady. Instead, I would have the client run sprints and perform fast and explosive exercises to develop the person’s fast-twitch muscle fibers and train his/her body and nervous system to move fast. The point is, anyone can go to the gym or exercise, but if you have no plan and no direction, then most likely you will not reach your goal, which will result in frustration and wasted time. In order to be successful in fitness and performance, you need to train to the outcome you are expecting.

Not sure how to accomplish your goal? Reach out to our team of fitness professionals to get the guidance and direction you need to reach your goal. Just like you wouldn’t drive around wasting time when you have a GPS to tell your where to go, let our team of fitness professionals be your GPS and coach you to reaching your goals. Take Our Fitness Quiz!

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All material on this website--No More Excuses – get fit! is designed for the purpose of educational and instructional use, as well as for encouraging and motivating people to get fit in their daily lives. Although the information contained in this website has been thoroughly researched and put into practice for many years, it is not intended, nor should it take the place of medical and dietitian advice, assistance, and/or counseling. Before beginning any exercise program or sample diet plan described in this site, it is recommended that you first check with your physician and a licensed dietitian.