How to assess your current fitness lifestyle?

In the fitness world we use the acronym F.I.T.T. as a guideline to assess your current fitness program or lifestyle, this is also called the f.i.t.t. principle. This stands for frequency, intensity, time and type.  As you address each aspect of the principle you can see where your fitness game is lagging and where you should start to emphasize on to keep you and your body up to par.

“Frequency” refers to how many times a week are you exercising? 1-2 times is clearly not enough for anybody. 3-4 times would be considered maintaining, or if you are a sedentary individual or of the elderly population this might be good to start. 4-5 times would be considered improvement. You are exercising your body most days of the week and giving it about 2 days of rest to heal and recover. For the average person looking to live fitness lifestyle, this is where you want to be at minimum. 5-6 times a week, that’s what’s up! You are addicted to the feeling of exercising, you are not giving excuses why you cant go to the gym and you are on a mission. 6-7 times a week and you better know what your doing. You don’t want to be doing the same workout over and over, and the recovery of working out is almost just as important as the work you are putting in. In my opinion, unless you are a advanced fitness person or Kobe Bryant, there is no need to be going to the gym or exercising intensely every single day, you might be hurting your body more than making progress.

“Intensity” refers to how hard are you exercising? This is very important. Are you just going to the gym to get in a workout? Or are you training with a purpose? Are you reading a magazine while on the elliptical for 30 minutes or are you leaving the gym spent and you actually pushed yourself? Now I’m not making fun of light workouts or reading gossip magazines, I think its better than nothing. However, if you want to see changes in your body, than you must push it beyond what its comfort level is!

“Time” refers to how long are you exercising for? 20-30 minutes most of the time is not enough. In my opinion an ideal workout is 1 hour. That gives you a few minutes to properly warm-up, 45 minutes or so of work, and a few minutes left to cool-down or stretch out. If your feeling beast mode and you get an hour and a half workout that’s great, just be careful of getting injured towards the end of your workout when the body is a little fatigued and things such as form can be affected leading to muscle strain.

“Type” refers to the type of exercise you are doing. Is it cardiorespiratory training (running or spin class), resistance training (lifting weights) or flexibility training (yoga)? These are just a few of the several types of training. Its important to not just do one type of training, because every aspect of fitness goes hand in hand and if your goal in fitness is to be overall fit, looking and feeling good, then you want to be well rounded and at least be up to par with all the types of training, not just be good at one of them.  According to the f.i.t.t. principle ask yourself which area of training do I need to focus more on and start to incorporate that more each week. It will improve your performance in the main type of training you enjoy the most.

The f.i.t.t. principle is just one small piece of the fitness pie. Stay consistent, be motivated and visualize the body you want and work for it!

Jeff Mendoza, B.S.