FITT stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type. Its purpose is to serve as a quick go-to for the following components of fitness: cardiovascular exercise, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. It is important to acknowledge that FITT principles serve as general guidelines. To make an exercise regimen more specific to an individual based on fitness level, injuries, etc., the general FITT models may be modified.
The following FITT models are from ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (2010):
F: Most days of the week. For moderate intensity, at least 5 days per week. For vigorous intensity, at least 3 days per week. A weekly combination of moderate/vigorous intensity can be done 3-5 days per week.
I: A combination of moderate and vigorous intensity is recommended for most adults. We can use a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale from 6-20 (6=no exertion, 15=hard, 17=very hard, 19=extremely hard, 20=maximal exertion) to gauge how hard we are working.
T: A total of approximately 150 minutes per week (at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week). To promote or maintain weight loss, 50-60 minutes per day is recommended (300 total minutes per week).
T: Something you enjoy that is aerobic!
Frequency: 2-3 days per week with at least 48 hours separating training sessions.
Intensity: 60-80% of your one repetition maximum (1-RM). Your 1-RM is the highest amount of weight you can lift in one repetition. I like to think of 60-80% as referring to a weight that is challenging but doable. It should be difficult to perform the last few repetitions but not impossible.
Time: varies with what each individual, as well as the type of strength training you’re doing. In general, strength training regimens can last anywhere between 20-60 minutes.
Type: multijoint or compound exercises that focus on major muscle groups (chest, shoulders, upper/lower back, abdomen, hips, legs). Multijoint or compound exercises are those that incorporate the use of more than one muscle group. However, single-joint exercises that target major muscle groups can be included (e.g. calf raises or bicep curls).
F: A minimum of 2-3 days per week is recommended for most adults.
I: It should feel slightly discomfort within the range of motion, but not unbearable.
T: Generally a total of about 10 minutes in duration.
T: Static, dynamic, and/or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) can each be beneficial in improving flexibility.
- Static stretches are held (no bouncing!) for 15-60 seconds
- Dynamic stretching is more of a “moving stretch”, and muscles are worked within their range of motion (i.e. walking high knees). Ballistic stretching (bouncy-type stretching) is not recommended, as there are concerns about increased injury.
- PNF stretching involves a 6-second contraction followed by a 10-30 second assisted stretch.