Exercise adaptations

Anthony Crespo
Anthony Crespo Clinic Manager at AHS

Exercise adaptations

With the new year approaching one can’t help but to create new goals for 2022, as cliché as it may be it is common to start off the new year with a desire to exercise more and pursue a “new you” although many may slip through the cracks we hope that our readers don’t! Typically the lack of results in the beginning can lead to the end of an early exercise career so to prevent this we would like to talk about exercise adaptations. Do you feel like no matter how much you exercise, you cannot see any changes? Well, you are not alone! Turns out, our body is very intelligent and gets used to the same exercise routine.

To elaborate further our muscles get used to the same type of exercise. We can adapt to the same exercise routine within a few weeks and when that occurs your body becomes more efficient and does not burn the same amount of calories. By following the FITT principle you can continuously keep your body in a state of change rather than allowing it to become efficient which reduces the calories burned. 

What is the FITT principle?

FITT is an acronym for the various categories one can alter in order to continually see progress in their exercise regime and prevent adaptation and is as follows.

F – Frequency: Refers to how often you are physically active, this can be measured in days per week 

I – Intensity: This refers to how hard your body is working during physical activity, and it is often described as light, moderate or vigorous.

T – Timing: This measures how long you spend being physically active during your daily routine

T – Type: Type refers to what kind of activity you choose such as walking, gardening, hiking, biking, weight training, etc. 


Here are some of the things you can do to improve you adaptation:

  1. Interval training

No matter what type of exercise routine you perform, you can incorporate interval training. For ex. 10 squats, followed by 10 push-ups, followed by 10 jumping jacks or instead of running at the same speed for 20 minutes, jog for 4 minutes followed by a 1 minute sprint and repeat it 4 times.

  1. Increase weight and decrease reps

The ACSM recommends one to three sets of eight to 12 reps when it comes to strength training. When that becomes easy, you can up the weight by 5 to 10 percent. This way, you can still perform the same exercises, but see better results and not get bored! In other words, push yourself!

  1. Variety

To best tackle this issue, make short term and long term goals. For example, break down goals into different categories such as 1 year goals, 6 months goals, and 1 month goals. Then make periodic assessments. These goals could be changed at any time in order to adapt to injuries, fast/slow progress. Having a workout log is also a good idea.

Physical Therapists at Allied Health Solutions can help you through your injuries/ aches and pains, to reach your fitness goals. We can train you for your first 5K or help you achieve your PR on your next 10 miler!

We also have unique exercise plans to help you return to your pre-injury level of activity.

Be Careful!

Knowing the different parameters one can change can be an exciting thought but it is easy to get carried away and over work yourself. Too much change in multiple parameters can lead to injury especially when poor form is present. Try to only adjust one parameter of the FITT principle.


“Fitt Principle for Cardio, Strength, Stretching & Injury Prevention.” StretchCoach.com | Stretching and Flexibility, 10 May 2021, https://stretchcoach.com/articles/fitt-principle/.

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