Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Be Creative. Use F.I.T.T. to your advantage

Nobody like to do the same workout routine day after day after day. It gets old fast and leads to mental burnout pretty quick. Not only is it mentally draining, but being rigid in a strict routine can set you up for failure, as life is never the same everyday. By using the F.I.T.T factors (frequency, intensity, time, type) you can be creative in your training routine, keeping it mentally stimulating while also providing flexibility for those times that cut your workout session short.

Frequency
This variable can be adjusted to compliment a progressive integrated training program. By starting with just a few times a week, you can increase your training frequency (i.e. from 3 days a week to 5 or 6 days a week) to promote accelerated results without overtraining.

When certain life events get in the way of your workout routine, you can decrease the frequency while increasing other variables in the F.I.T.T factor (i.e. intensity and/or time). Say you have a project at work that is holding you in the office later than usual. You can decrease your training frequency from 5 days a week to 2 or 3 while increasing the intensity of your workout.

Intensity
Intensity refers to the level of demand an activity places on the body. This is usually measured by heart rate and/or VO2 max. By keeping track of your Target Heart Rate, you can easily modify this variable to fit your desired fitness goal. Knowing your training intensity is key to avoiding overtraining, mental burnout and decreasing your risk of injury.

This variable can be altered when you are in a time crunch and want to maximize your results. If you typically have time for a 2 hour workout session in the gym but something has come up and you now only have an hour, you can train with less time at a higher intensity. This will yield similar results.

Time
Time is similar to frequency in it's ability to compliment a progressive routine and allow for flexibility in unusual circumstances. By starting with 30 minutes a day of activity and increasing to 60 minutes, you can gradually build strength and endurance without overdoing it.

When life throws a wrench in your workout plans, you can adjust your training time accordingly to accommodate for prior engagements. Implementing a circuit training routine both decreases time while increasing intensity, thus maximizing results.

Type
This is where constant variation can not only provide opportunities for fun and challenging exercises, but it also keeps you open minded about changing up your routine when you may be forced to. Variation in the type of exercises you do will coincide with a progressive training routine, constantly challenging your body to move in different ways while developing muscles in a more efficient manner.

Being familiar with different types of exercises and activity will ensure a successful workout session, no matter what situations may arise. Many times you may find cardio equipment under maintenance or you may be working out at "prime time" in the gym where you end up waiting for a specific machine. Rather than wasting your time, you can find different types of exercises that achieve the same desired effect.


By utilizing the F.I.T.T factors, you can design a progressive program that fits your fitness goal, no matter what life may throw your way. These variables can help spice up a humdrum routine or provide flexibility when you need to be creative in order to maintain consistency.

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