Exercising is incredible. The benefits of exercise are so numerous it is quite challenging to come up with just a few because I end up wanting to list them all. From heart health to weight loss, regular exercise can and will add years to your life. Today and tomorrow I am going to talk about two different principles that I live by in my own personal training. Today we are going to talk about F.I.T.T.
FITT is an acronym that stands for Frequency, Intensity, Type, and Time. When I am building my training routine I always keep this principle in mind when I am deciding what I should do and what I need to do.
How often should you be exercising and more importantly, what should I be doing. Frequency is a fine balancing act between putting stress on your body and then giving your body time to recover and heal itself. How often are you working out cardiovascularly and how often are you working out using resistance training or weight lifting? Are you dedicating enough time to both? Are you getting sufficient rest to allow your muscles to rebuild, bones to regrow? Are you finding that you are not feeling 100%? Maybe you are working out too much or not working out enough. You need to find the right balance for you and the goals that you have for yourself.
This is by far what I put the most effort into. My thoughts on intensity are that if you are going to go and workout for 10 minutes, 20 minutes or an hour, you need to put 100% effort into that workout. If you go and only give 50% effort, whats the point in going at all? That said, there also needs to be a balance here as well. Remember that 100% effort may change from day to day….100% today may only reflect 70% tomorrow. It needs to be based on how you feel relative to how you felt the day before. You should never push yourself to the point of potentially hurting yourself.
We are all different. We need to recognize this fact, accept it and move on. What type of exercise we do will depend on a lot of different factors. One of which is any potential pre-existing health concerns. For example, a person who has had multiple knees surgeries may not want to do much if any running, that person may need to get into the pool and swim or ride a bike. If you have had shoulder problems you may not be able to do as much strength training until you build that shoulder back up. So we need to know what is going to be the BEST for all of us and how to effectively and safely create a program that will give us the maximum benefits with the least potential for injury.
How long should you be exercising for? When is too much actually too much! This will be dependent on your current fitness level’s. If you are a beginner, I would say shoot for no more than 30 minutes of cardiovascular work at a time. If you are more experienced, 45 to 60 minutes of sustained increased heart rate’s are good for you. The benefits of exercising beyond 60 (with certain exceptions) are pretty minimal. You need to again put in the amount of time needed to achieve the desired results.