From Principle to Philosophy - Apply the S.A.I.D. Concept to Improve Your Life
The S.A.I.D. Principle is one of the most widely known concepts in the world of Exercise Physiology, Strength and Conditioning and Rehab Sciences. It stands for:
Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand
The S.A.I.D. Principles provides coaches, therapists, and researchers with a fundamental lens through which to structure their work. It is meant to reduce randomness in exercise selection, to help understand the tissue changes that result from various training styles, and to help us educate patients as to why we chose specific rehab modalities among countless other applications within the realms of science, rehab and training.
Lets step back for a minute though and tease out some of the key concepts that make the S.A.I.D. Principle so effective:
Now pick an aspect of your life. Literally, pick any aspect. Your relationship. Your work. Your budget. Your personal development goals. Would it be helpful to have more structure? To reduce randomness? To have a tool to that helps you understand the outcomes you are seeing? If I close my eyes I can almost hear the resounding “YES!” pouring out of your brain right now. For too long, the S.A.I.D. Principle has been kept a secret by the exercise scientists of the world. I propose a change in rhetoric and a push to get the Philosophy of S.A.I.D. into the hands of the masses!
The S.A.I.D. Philosophy is a tool you can utilize at any point in a goal-oriented process. It can be used retroactively to assess an outcome, for example. Let’s apply the S.A.I.D. Philosophy to a financial goal of saving “X” amount of dollars in six months. At the end the end of that six month period, your bank account will have undergone one of three potential “adaptations”:
You met your financial goal
You exceeded your financial goal
You fell short of your financial goal
To figure out why that specific “adaptation” occurred, you can review your spending habits, saving habits, recurring expenses, etc. These are what make up the “demands” imposed upon your bank account. The resulting “adaptation” is nothing more than the cumulative result of these “demands”.
The same S.A.I.D. Philosophy can by applied to predict future outcomes.
Lets stick to the traditional strength and conditioning application this time and set a goal of increasing overall strength in the squat and dead lift by 5% over the course of three months. In this scenario, you can increase your chances of achieving your target goal (the “adaptation”) by choosing an optimal workout plan (the ‘imposed demand”). A training plan heavy on long interval cardiovascular exercise and low on resistance training will undoubtedly cause “adaptations” but they will not be the kind that you set out to achieve. That’s where the “specific” part of the S.A.I.D. Philosophy is crucial. Every “demand” will stimulate “adaptation” - but you don’t want just any old adaptation, you want to achieve your individual goal. Here is a mathematical equation to visualize this process:
3 Months + Progressive Overload Training (imposed demand) = 5% Strength Increase (specific adaptation)
As you can see, the S.A.I.D. Philosophy has wide ranging application and is relatively simple to understand and utilize. Every demand you impose upon your body, your mind or your money will result in a specific adaptation. Once you understand that, it is just a matter of adjusting your demand to change your adaptation. It may take more than one adjustment, but before long, you will be achieving goals at a rate you never thought possible. Everything you do will have a purpose, and every outcome you experience will be anticipated.
Welcome to the world of the S.A.I.D. Philosophy.