Check Out this Smart Way to Get “FITT” and Feel Fabulous

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

What if I don’t want to hire a trainer, but I want to design a safe, effective program that will give me results?

Check Out this Smart Way to Get “FITT” and Feel Fabulous

There’s a multitude of reasons people hire a personal trainer: motivation, someone to push them, someone to keep them accountable, and most importantly, someone to design a safe, effective program that will get them fit and give them results. That said, not everyone wants to spend money on a trainer, or pay someone to yell at them to work harder, (in a good way of course). The good news is there are alternatives. FITT principles are principles that trainers and fitness professionals follow when designing programs, and you can follow them too. They help you maximize your potential and accomplish your goals.

FITT is an acronym for frequency, intensity, time, and type. Each variable is a critical component when designing a safe, effective exercise program. Fit principles are based off of guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). You can follow FITT Principles to put together a weekly routine using your favorite exercise DVD’s. The key is to make sure that you’re designing your workouts to maximize your cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility goals, and that you’re following proper guidelines for frequency, intensity, and duration. Here are the principles to get you started:

Frequency- refers to how often you work out, or the number of days per week that you exercise. Frequency depends on your fitness level, your goals, and what type of training you’re doing, whether it’s cardio, strength, or flexibility.

ACSM guidelines recommend the following:

Cardiorespiratory Training: 3- 5 days per week; 3 days a week for vigorous intensity, or 5 days a week for moderate intensity

Strength Training: 2-3 days per week (beginner), 3-4 (intermediate), 4-7 (advanced)

Flexibility Training: 2-3 days per week minimum

(See ACSM guidelines for more specifics)

Intensity- refers to how hard you’re working.

Cardio: Intensity is best measured using your heart rate or rate of perceived exertion.  The Heart Rate Reserve Method (HRR) is a more accurate way to measure your energy expenditure during exercise and help you determine your training zone.

Strength Training: Intensity is measured according to the amount of resistance you use, usually expressed as a percentage of your one rep maximum (1-RM), the maximum load you can lift one time. As a general rule, intensity should be about 60-80% of your maximum load. This generally translates to: 8-10 exercises, targeting all muscle groups, 2-4 sets of each exercise, and 8-12 repetitions.

Time- is the length, or duration of your exercise session. The amount of time you spend exercising will depend on your goals, your fitness level, and the type of training you’re doing. Know that a change in one variable will have an effect on the others, therefore if you increase your intensity chances are you’ll need to decrease the duration of your workout.

Type- Type refers to your choice of activity, whether it’s cardio, strength, or flexibility, and all of the options therein. Different activities are recommended for different results and the choice of activity depends on your goals, fitness level, and your personal preference. 

By manipulating the variables according to your goals you can achieve the results you want, safely and effectively. Having a plan is key to your success. Decide what your goals are for the week, and plan your workouts accordingly. Most importantly, follow the FITT principles, and vary your weekly routine to include cardio, strength, and flexibility work to get maximum results.

Happy Monday!

Best in Health~

- Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at:


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