Get F.I.T.T. the Right Way
You walk three times a week for 30 minutes a day at a moderate pace. After a few weeks your body adapts and your body becomes more efficient at exercise which results in burning fewer calories than when you first started. You notice you have lost some weight- which is good but the down side is now you are burning fewer calories because your body is smaller. And then you get bored by doing the same workout for weeks or months.
The F.I.T.T principle can help you change elements of your workout to help you make progress.
What does it stand for?
The first part of your workout has to do with how often you exercise.
Cardio: Depending on your goal, the ACSM guidelines recommend moderate exercise five or more days a week or intense cardio three days a week, to improve your health. If you are trying to lose weight, you’ll want to work up to more frequent workouts, often up for six days a week.
Strength Training: It is recommend that you strength train 2-3 non consecutive days a week. Your frequency will depend on the workouts you’re doing, because you want to work your muscles at least two times a week. You can do a split routine, such as upper body one day and lower body the next, that way your workouts will be more frequent.
The next part of your workout has to do with how hard you work during exercise.
Cardio: There are many ways to monitor intensity. Heart rate, perceived exertion, a talk test, a heart rate monitor, or a combination of them. It is recommended to work at a moderate intensity for steady state workouts. You can work at a moderate level five days week or more. If you are doing interval training, where you work at a high intensity for a shorter period of time it is recommended one or two time’s week. It’s a good idea to mix low, medium, and high intensity in your workout to stimulate different energy systems and avoid over training.
Strength: Your intensity is made up for the exercises you do, the amount of weight you lift and the number of reps and sets you do. The intensity can change based on how you are training. The general idea is to lift enough weight that you can only complete the number of reps you’ve chosen. 2-8 reps for muscular strength and 8-15 reps for muscular endurance.
Next is how long you work out. There is no set rule for how long you exercise and will depend on your fitness level and the type of workout you’re doing.
Cardio: ACSM recommends 30-60 minutes of cardio. This depends on your fitness level. If you are a beginner you might want to start with 3- 10 minute bouts of exercise until you can do 30 minutes all at once. If you are doing steady state cardio, like going for a run, 30 to 60 minutes is good. If you are going high intensity cardio the duration should be shorter, around 20-30 minutes.
How long you lift depends on what you are lifting. For example a total body workout could take up to an hour, where as a split routine could take less time. If you are lifting heavier weights, you need more recovery time, which results in a longer workout.
Finally, the last part of the F.I.T.T. principle is type of exercise you do.
Cardio: Cardio is easy to change, since any activity that gets your heart rate up counts. Running, walking, biking dancing, group exercise classes. There are a wide range of cardio based exercises you can choose from. It is good to change the type of workout to keep your body guessing and reduce boredom.
Strength: Strength training is also easy to change. You can use bands, dumbbells, or machines to work your muscles. Free weights are my favorite and always mixing in body weight or band work as well.
Use the F.I.T.T principle to help you get in shape and get better results. It can also help you figure out how to change your workouts to avoid boredom, overuse injuries, and weight loss plateaus. It is important to change things up on a regular basis to keep your body healthy and your mind engaged.
Source: ACSM Guidelines and VeryWell