The Principle of Individual Differences

Two people starting the same exercise program at the same time will notice that different workloads are needed to create the desired overload. One person may then adapt more quickly and show greater improvements over the same time period. Such variations are completely normal based on their starting fitness level, tolerance of effort, genetic differences and variations in lifestyle.

There is no single workout that will work for every body, appeal to every person, and fit every schedule. Personal preference is a valid and important consideration when designing an exercise program.

Especially because you will be more motivated to stick with a program that you enjoy. Long term motivation is critical because compliance is the biggest obstacle to fitness. People often give up on their fitness routine before it has a chance to work.

It is sad but true that quitting is the #1 trend in fitness.

In fitness, failure is the norm. This has been well documented in scientific studies for decades. The most commonly cited statistic is a 50% dropout rate by six months into an exercise program.

So how do you avoid becoming a statistic?

The principle of individual differences applies to adherence as much as any other part of fitness planning. Here are a 5 tips to help you customize your program to your needs:

  1. Own Your Fitness Program – Set goals that reflect your true priorities and focus on 1 or 2 at a time. Give them your full attention.
  2. Measure Your Baseline – If you want to improve your fitness, select appropriate assessments or biometrics and record your scores. If you want to increase your physical activity or improve your diet, estimate your current daily mileage or servings of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Create Action Steps – Map out your weekly schedule and book appointments with yourself to tend to your fitness goals. Going to the gym and prepping healthy snacks won’t happen by themselves. Maintain your commitment to yourself.
  4. Plan For Setbacks – Life will interfere with even the best of plans. Take a breath, refocus on your desired goals and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
  5. Track Your Progress – Fitness improvements that are measurable and meaningful will not happen in days or weeks. Plan on retesting your fitness every 3 months. Tally your action steps weekly and review the trends monthly. Keeping a broader focus will show the big picture of progress.




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