So do you want to get in shape? 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. As you think about designing your exercise routine, understanding what the FITTE principle means will help you in your fitness and weight loss goals.
FREQUENCY: Means how often you should exercise. Frequency is closely linked to intensity. If you’re going to exercise at a moderate pace (and we’ll get to intensity in a minute), then 5 days a week is what you’re looking for to see the health benefits. There is really little benefit to doing more than 5 days a week, and if you do, you risk injuring yourself or even hitting a fitness plateau.
If you’re planning vigorous intensity, your goal is 3 days a week. Of course, you can mix moderate and vigorous training weeks, so use a mix 3-5 days a week. If you’re overweight and weight loss is your primary goal, then push yourself 5 days a week to increase your calorie burn.
INTENSITY: There is a minimum intensity at which going below it will have no effect. That intensity is about 40% of your maximum heart rate or something like a rating of 10 rating of perceived exertion. Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is a scale from 6 to 20 (I don’t know why it starts at 6 OK…it just does!) If you measure your intensity using this scale, then a moderate intensity is 12-13. vigorous activity will be 14-16 using the scale. And working with a score of 10… well, that’s like going to the fridge to get a soda or something, so that’s not good!
TIME (DURATION): For general fitness gains or those not used to exercising, 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 to 50-60 minutes a day of moderate activity for a total of 250 minutes a week. If you’re exercising at a vigorous intensity, your goal is 150 minutes a week. Fortunately, you can reap health benefits if you spread this time out over the course of the day…say 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night…I told you you could do it!
TYPE: This can be any type of activity that gives you a sustained increase in heart rate using your large muscle groups. Walking/jogging on a treadmill, stationary bike or even playing sports or swimming. The key is to choose something you like… which brings us to the E in FITTE… Enjoy!
ENJOY: You have to choose activities that you like to do or not; or else you won’t do them anymore. You don’t like the treadmill? Then don’t use it! Whatever activity you choose, it has to be enjoyable and create a positive experience for you. Don’t do what everyone else does just because… choose something you like.
Whatever activity you choose, you must continue to progress to avoid plateaus. Before increasing the intensity, you should first try to increase the frequency and duration.