How do I build an exercise program to help me accomplish my goals?
To maximize your potential and accomplish your goals, use the FITT Principles as your guide. FITT is an acronym for frequency, intensity, time, and type, and each variable is a critical component when designing a safe, effective exercise program. Fit principles are based off of guidelines from the (ACSM), American College of Sports Medicine.
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. For 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. For 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). Intensity also varies according to how many sets you complete, how many repetitions in each set, and the length of rest period between sets.
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.
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