Applying the Principles of Fitness to Your Workouts

This post is a quick look into the Five Principles of Fitness to help you understand your body’s basic reaction to exercise and apply it to your workout routine. The Five Principles of Fitness are: Overload, Progression, Specificity, Rest and Recovery, and Use It or Lose It/ Reversibility. Each of these are basic principles that will make sense to you and may be fitness facts that you have heard before. However, it is always good to reassess your routine to make sure you are getting the most possible benefits!

overloadOverload: During exercise, you stress or overload your muscles. The body adapts to the stressor (exercise), making the body stronger and more efficient

  • This is why an exercise that you have done for a while begins to feel easier. It actually is easier! Your body not only rebuilds your muscle fibers stronger each time you work out, but it actually becomes so efficient at the exercise that it begins to burn less calories as well! This is why it is important to progress your current workout. . .


comfort-zone.jpgProgression: Exercise should not over or under-stress the muscles or it can result in injury (over-stressed) or no progress/ gains (under-stressed)

  • If the same exercise is repeatedly done, the body will adapt, so the exercise should become harder in order to keep progressing and keep the body in better shape. For example, if you run one ten minute mile every single day, your body will not be getting a better workout unless you run longer or faster. In lifting you may find the weights are feeling lighter… congrats! Now make it hard again by adding a few more pounds. The same applies to any exercise. If you want to keep burning calories and improving your health and fitness levels, an exercise should never seem easy.


Principle+of+SpecificitySpecificity: The specific way in which you are exercising will only produce specific results

  • As you workout, your body will adapt to the specific exercises you are doing. For example, if my workouts only include running long distances, then HIIT or the stair climber will be difficult for me. My body is used to specifically long distance running. In the same way, I can’t just lift weights and expect to be able to run long distances with ease. This is where the Components of Fitness come into play, and this is why it is important for you to have a variety of exercises in your routine to benefit your health as much as possible and be in the best all-around shape possible.


restRest and Recovery: The body needs to be rested in order to recover from exercise. If it is not able to properly recover, injury can result

  • As I have mentioned before, your body needs to recover. The best way to do this while still staying active and healthy is to mix up your daily activity. Muscular strength activities definitely need to be followed by a day of rest for the muscles that were worked. Some people will lift legs one day, arms one day, and core the next and keep cycling through this way. Others will do an entire body lift or muscular strength routine one day and cardio the next. Rest does not have to be a day off, but it can be. Just make sure to listen to your body. Being sore is a good thing- that means you are getting stronger and your muscles are adapting to your workout! But, make sure you know the difference between sore and injured.


useorloseUse or Lose/Reversibility: If you cease to exercise, your body will not stay in shape. You need to continually exercise in order to stay strong and fit.

  • If you stop exercising, your body will adapt to this as well. I’ve heard it said before that muscles need a reason to stay around (supporting exercise) and fat needs a reason to stay around (supporting a sedentary lifestyle or overeating). Your body will follow your actions. If you even take a week off for vacation or an illness, it can be hard to jump right back into the routine. I find that even if I’m on vacation or sick, finding a way to stay active (even a walk, yoga, push-ups, a hike, etc) helps me so much more than just staying in bed during an illness or sitting on the beach during vacation. It’s okay to take some time off from a strict regimen because that is realistic and a part of life! However, loosely including activity on a daily basis can help your body from drastically reversing your fitness levels and make it easier to jump back into your normal routine once life gets back to status quo.


That is all for today! I just wanted a quick insight into the Five Principles of Fitness for you to reinforce my last post on Balancing the Components of Fitness as well as help you to ensure that your workout routine is following these guidelines!


How Can I Help?!

Let me know if you need help forming a balanced routine in your life! I am still in the building phase of my company, so, at this point, I am offering help with workout plans, meal plans, and weight loss free of charge to a limited number of blog readers, family, and friends as I gain experience for the future. Just email me at

I’d also love to hear your workout routines, see how the Exercise Challenge is going for you this month, hear your suggestions for future posts/challenges, and chat with you about your progress, setbacks, and more!


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Next Up:

My next post will be: A Holistic Approach to Weight Loss: How Relationships Affect Our Success


In the future, I will also be taking a look at different popular workouts out there. I’ll include some workouts that are trending right now as well as some tried and true exercises that have been top of the list for decades as the best workouts for our overall health.


I hope to hear from you and hope you can apply these Principles to your routine!


“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.”

Mahatma Gandhi






One thought on “Applying the Principles of Fitness to Your Workouts

  1. Pingback: The Pros and Cons of Popular Workouts: Which Exercises are Best for You? | Wholee HEALTHY

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