So you want to get fit? Then you need to understand what FITTE really means. No, I didn’t spell it wrong… FITTE stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type and Enjoyment. When thinking about designing your fitness routine, understanding what the FITTE principle means will help you in your fitness and weight-loss goals.
FREQUENCY: Means how often should you exercise. Frequency is closely tied to intensity. If you are going to exercise at a moderate pace (and we’ll get to intensity in a minute) then 5 days a week is what you are after to see health benefits. There really is little benefit to going over 5 days a week and if you do then you risk injury or even going into a fitness plateau.
If you are planning on a vigorous intensity then 3 days a week is your goal. Of course you can combine moderate and vigorous training weeks so use a combination of 3-5 days per week. If you are overweight and weight-loss is the main goal then strive for 5 days a week to increase your calorie burn.
INTENSITY: There is a minimum intensity in which going below it will have no effect. That intensity is about 40% of your Max Heart Rate or something around a score of 10 on the Rate Of Perceived Exertion. The Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is a scale from 6-20 (I don’t know why it starts at 6 OK… it just does!) If you gauge your intensity using this scale then a moderate intensity is 12-13. Vigorous activity will be 14-16 using the scale. And working at a score of 10… well that’s like walking to the fridge for a soda or something so that’s no good!
TIME (DURATION): For general fitness gains or those not used to exercise then the minimum is 30-60 minutes a day for a total of 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. You can do it!! This should progress though to 50-60 minutes a day of moderate activity for a total of 250 minutes a week. If you are exercising at a vigorous intensity then 150 minutes a week is your goal. Luckily, you can gain health benefits by splitting this time up throughout the day… say 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes a night… told ya you could do it!
TYPE: This can be any type of activity that gives you a sustained increase in heart rate using your big muscle groups. Walking/jogging on a treadmill, stationary bike or even playing a sport or swimming. The key is to pick something you like… which leads us to the E in FITTE… Enjoyment!
ENJOYMENT: You have to pick activities you like to do or else; or else you won’t do them anymore. Don’t like the treadmill? Then don’t use it! Whatever activity you choose has to be enjoyable and create a positive experience for you. Don’t do what everyone else is doing just because… pick something YOU like.
Whatever activity you choose, you should continue to progress in order to avoid plateaus. Before increasing intensity you should first try to increase frequency and duration.