The Science of Change, Part 1: The S.A.I.D Principle

The SAID Principle

SAID stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.

The SAID Principle explains how we get strong (adaptation) through stress (imposed demands).

When we put our bodies through a stimulus, we stress our bodies, and our bodies adapt to grow stronger.

The process looks like:

  1. Introduce Stress
  2. Break Down
  3. Repair & Rebuild
  4. Grow Stronger

This process works as long as the initial stress is not so great that instead of repair & rebuild we get injury, and then a much longer repair & rebuild stage.

Application of the SAID Principle:

If we want a stronger back squat we lift heavy things to create stress (probably we do a lot of back squats and accessory work), we wait until our bodies repair themselves (proper sleep, nutrition, hydration, mindfulness all help here), and we adapt to grow stronger over time.

This works with pull-ups, running, burpees, etc. If we want to get better at these things, we need to do more of them, to keep increasing the stimulus to expose ourselves to more stress, so that we can continue to adapt and grow stronger.

What I find fascinating about the SAID principle is how it applies to every facet of our lives.

Take relationships: relationships grow through stress as well.

Imagine dating someone and within 1-2 weeks coming to find out they have a major problem with substance abuse. It’s going to be difficult to really be there for them and help them through it. I mean you barely know the guy/gal.

Your relationship is the equivalent of a train wreck air squat. If someone throws a 30-lb medball at you, you’re more likely to get a hernia than to do anything useful with it.

But imagine a marriage that has lasted 10-20 years. If your significant other has a major problem you are going to be much more capable of being there for them and helping them through it because of all the little stresses you have been through along the way.

These mini stresses: overcoming financial issues, building a home together, and the myriad of mistake making along the way has created a much stronger relationship that is more capable of handling bigger stressors.

Your relationship is now the equivalent of a 500-lb back squat. If someone throws a 30-lb medball at you, you start doing 150 wall balls for time, you go for a mile run with it, use it for weighted sit-ups—the point is you are strong enough to handle it.

We need some stress in our life to grow. Stress is not something to shy away from, it is the path that leads to our greater development.

But, we must use it wisely, in moderation, and specifically so that we continue to grow into our authentic, best selves.

If we keep exposing ourselves to adequate amounts of stress, no matter which area of our life we are working on, we will adapt and grow stronger.

Take the SAID Principle Self Evaluation:

Are there areas in your life where you are not advancing, and you need to add more stress in order to grow? Are there areas in your life where too much stress is causing a problem? Are the areas where you are applying stress specifically chosen to help you to reach your goals?

Stay tuned for Pt. 2 of The Science of Change: The Law of Accommodation!