For individuals trying to get into a regular fitness regimen, could using the FITT Principle help structure exercise, track progress, and achieve fitness goals?
Table of Contents
The FITT principle is a set of guidelines for adjusting, revising, and improving exercise workouts. FITT is an acronym for:
For example, this could be a workout of 3 to 5 days combined with low, medium, and high-intensity exercises for 30 to 60 minutes each session that incorporates cardio and strength training. Focusing on these details and progressing over time helps create an effective program.
Workout frequency and how often the individual is going to exercise is the first thing to look at.
Workout intensity involves how hard the individual is pushing themselves during exercise. How it is increased or decreased depends on the type of workout. (Carol Ewing Garber, et al., 2011)
For cardio, individuals will monitor workout intensity by:
The next element of the plan is how long the exercise will be during each session. Exercise length depends on individual fitness level and the type of workout being done.
The exercise guidelines suggest 30 to 60 minutes of cardio, but workout duration will depend on fitness level and type of exercise. ((Carol Ewing Garber, et al., 2011)
The type of exercise you do is the last part of the FIIT principle.
It is easy to manipulate to avoid overuse injuries or weight loss plateaus.
The FITT principle outlines how to adjust workout programs to achieve better results. It also helps figure out how to change workouts to avoid burnout, overuse injuries, and plateaus.
For example, walking three times a week for 30 minutes at a moderate pace is recommended for a beginner to start out with. After a few weeks, the body adapts to the workout. This results in burning fewer calories, burnout, or weight management efforts, and goals are put on hold. This is where the FITT principles come in. For example, a change-up could include:
One of the best things about using FITT is that it allows individuals to monitor the length and intensity of their workouts. When individuals work out too frequently or don’t get enough rest, they run the risk of overuse injuries, burnout, and muscle strains. The FITT principle encourages adding variety to workouts. When following this practice, it allows the body to rest and recover properly. Because individuals are not working the same muscle groups over and over again, better results are achieved.
Garber, C. E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M. R., Franklin, B. A., Lamonte, M. J., Lee, I. M., Nieman, D. C., Swain, D. P., & American College of Sports Medicine (2011). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 43(7), 1334–1359. doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e318213fefb
McCall Pete. 8 reasons to take a rest day. (2018) American Council on Exercise.
National Strength and Conditioning Association. (2017) Determination of resistance training frequency.
Schoenfeld, B. J., Ogborn, D., & Krieger, J. W. (2016). Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 46(11), 1689–1697. doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0543-8
Cardoos, Nathan MD. Overtraining Syndrome. (May/June 2015). Current Sports Medicine Reports 14(3):p 157-158. DOI: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000145
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