Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach yoga, Nia, and stretch online!


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Getting What You Want

Posted by terrepruitt on August 28, 2010

So what is it you want? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to build strength? Do you want to run a marathon? Do you want to be able to lift a 15 pound weight 100 times? Do you want to touch your nose to your knees? Whatever you want, whatever your goal the best way to reach it is to train for it specifically.

There is a principle of specificity.  If your goal is to run a marathon running ten miles every day is not going to get your body ready for the 26 miles that make up a marathon. If you want to build up strength lifting a 15 pound weight 50 times a day will not build strength. You actually have to give your body what it needs in order to allow it to reach your goal.  You must train the specific physiological system.

Losing weight requires your body to burn more calories than you consume. Not that doing that is always easy, but that is the simple fact. How you burn the calories is up to you. If losing weight is your primary goal then your options for burning calories is almost limit less.

If you want to build strength, then the key is to use more resistance than you can presently move. This type of goal usually has some limitations, but still, there are a lot of options out there that will enable you to build strength. There are several factors to take into account, but once you have those things accounted for you can go from there.

Running a marathon takes a lot of training, but eventually if you are planning on participating in one you would be better prepared if you included some 26 mile runs in your training.  As I mentioned previously you can’t run for 10 miles — even if it is everyday — and expect to be able to complete 26 miles during the marathon.

If it is muscle endurance you want, then you need to train your body in that manner.  Doing cardio for a hour or lifting the heaviest weight you can lift a couple of times will not allow your muscles to grow accustom to the repetitiveness required for muscle endurance.  Likewise, if you want to become flexible enough to be able to touch your toes or touch your nose to your knees, jogging three miles a day will not help you reach that goal.  Specificity, that is how you get what you want.   That is how you reach your goal–work the specific system specifically.

So what is it you want?  And what type of activity are you doing to get it?

9 Responses to “Getting What You Want”

  1. suzicate said

    I need you to move to Va and be my personal trainer!


    • Or better yet, you move to California. I like the weather here better.

      Part of the personal trainer’s job is to educate, remind, and be a cheerleader. While I can’t directly instruct you from here, I can share things with you, remind you of things you know but need to remember, and I can cheer you on. “Stay hydrated. Rah-rah-rah-rah.” Good for you for hiking all that way!!!

      You want to be able to hike far for your up coming trip. Do what you are doing (hiking) and maybe some body weight and balance exercises. I have a really EASY (I swear its easy) exercise for you that will help. Stand on one foot. ALWAYS. Where ever you are when you are standing, stand on one foot. It doesn’t have to be obvious with one leg in the air. Just put all your weight on one foot. Switch when ever. That is a balance exercise. If you don’t go places where you are in line, try standing during commercials (if you watch TV). And if you are doing it at home you can move a bit so as to get your balance muscles practiced. It will help for crossing over those “bridges”. 🙂


  2. suzicate said

    I will start doing that…thanks!


  3. Hi Terre!

    Hey, just found this blog post…it’s been a busy week and I guess it slipped by me.

    I love that you’re a personal trainer!!!! I so wish I could be closer to you…

    So here’s what I want: I want to get rid of the “chicken skin” on my arms and I want to lose the extra 5 lbs. around my belly. I have some little 1 lb. weights at home that I dabble with from time to time and I use yoga poses (alot of plank and downward dog) at the end of my Nia classes for strength training. I eat well but probably drink too much coffee and too much wine and too much chocolate.

    As you know, I love Nia. I love teaching Nia. Not everyone experiences Nia as an overall exercise program — weight loss, strength training, muscle toning, etc. As a personal trainer, would you say that if I focused on more Upper Extremeties work and more ab focused FloorPlay in my Nia classes that I might accomplish what I want? I’m thinking I could add my 1 lb. weights while doing the U.E. work…have you ever used weights in your Nia classes?

    You know I love you…



    • You own a Coffee Bar and Chocolate shop. 🙂 I can see why you might think you consume too much coffee and chocolate.

      Well, the only way to lose “weight” is to burn more calories then consumed. So if losing fat is the desired goal, then burn more than you eat is the only option.

      If toning the arms is the goal then planks, pushups, pull ups, and tricep dips would help for your arms and while you are at the planks and push ups your abs will get worked out too. I incorporate planks, pushups, and tricep “dips” (not so much of a dip on the floor as a pushup) into my floorplay. Playing with gravity on the floor, dancing on the floor – often times helps the “exercise” goes unnoticed.

      There comes a point where additional resistance (weights, machines, bands, etc.) are needed to increase strength. In order to increase (whatever it is you want to increase) more than can be done, must be done. If you can lift 10 pounds but want to be stronger you cannot get stronger if you continue to lift 10 pounds, you must work with MORE than 10 pounds.

      I am not familiar with UE. Since Nia is not strictly linear, I would not use weights in Nia. If I did, it would be only during very basic linear movements. I am actually asked this question a lot so I wrote a post Wearing Weights During Nia. If a particpant came to my class and wanted to wear/use weights, I would allow them to do so only after they wrote out in their own hand writing an additional waiver for liability and stated that I had advised against it.

      I had been missing your visits here, but I understand that you are busy. Glad to have you here.


      • niachick said

        I finally found your replies back to me!!! Geez, I guess I have been busy…

        U.E. = Upper Extremeties — sorry about the abbreviation. And thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. WOW I really like those little gloves with the weight in them. Pretty darned cool!!!

        I love playing with gravity…YES YES YES. Resistance/push ups/plank…and I like the idea of tricep dips…

        Thanks again for being there for me…and for all who read your blogs. You’re amazing!!!




        • Ha! I thought U.E. was a routine. One of my favorite dances is with the wall. Dancing with the wall really gives your arms a great workout. I should do a Vlog on that. 🙂

          I really appreciate your support. And I love when you comment because it often gives me the opportunity to share more information. Most of the time I know you know what I am saying but I am like a character on a TV show explaining it to the other character for the sake of the audience. LOL!


  4. […] actually apply to personal training.  Such as, training specifically for a specific result—the Principle of Specificity.  Also it talks about the Principle of Progressive Overload–how you need to increase the […]


  5. […] or bench press 200 pounds then 10 minutes of working out won’t get you there.  You need to train specifically for specific goals.  Ten minute workouts are good for other things.  If you are really pressed for time and just […]


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