With 2020 full steam ahead, many people are starting to enter murky waters. Like every year, we often rely on January being a new, fresh, and exciting start to improving our lives, a benchmark for our BEST year yet. By the time January’s honeymoon phase begins to fade, the reality of February often presents a challenge that many succumb to their fitness journey is either sinking or has already sunk.
While this could be for a variety of reasons, one such reason is the inability to appropriately design a fitness program that is effective, and perhaps most importantly, realistic. This is where understanding the ideas of the F.I.T.T. principle can play a significant role. F.I.T.T. is short for frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise. Together, these four elements can act as our own personal lighthouse, a guide to ensuring we can stay on track with our goals.
Everyone’s F.I.T.T. can look a little different; however, here is an excellent baseline for someone who is looking to structure their routine.
Frequency: How often you exercise or intend to exercise. What realistically fits in with your lifestyle.
- Cardio: 2-5 days per week, at varying intensities (low, moderate, and high)
- Strength training: 2-3 non-consecutive days, focusing on major muscle groups.
Intensity: How hard you work during exercise. Intensity is always relative to the individual.
- Cardio: Work at 65-85% of your Max Heart Rate (Max Heart Rate = 220-age)
- Strength training: Perform 2-5 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise, resting:30-1:00 between
Time: How long you plan to exercise during each session.
- Cardio: Start with 15-20 minutes, gradually building to 30-60 minutes
- Strength training: For a full-body workout, expect 30-60 minutes
Type: What type of exercise do you plan to use; cardio, resistance training, etc.
- Cardio: Running, walking, biking, swimming, anything that gets your heart rate elevated!
- Strength training: Utilize machines, free weights, bands, body weight, or a combination of all
As your body begins to adapt to your new program, always revisit the F.I.T.T. principle and make changes to the frequency, intensity, time, or type of exercise you are doing to stay engaged, prevent plateau, and ultimately, keep your body healthy!