FITT – Putting the FIT in Fitness
Frequency….how often we exercise…..daily, once a week or only when the doctor yells
Intensity….how much sweat…I believe the fountain of youth is our own sweat
Time….how long did we keep it going
Type…brisk walking, strength training, Pilates, martial arts, yoga, swimming…..
I rarely use the word hate. But I do hate the term exercise prescription. That implies forced, another objectionable thing to do in our life. I don’t like the expression exercise is medicine. Medicine implies we do it in response to be sick, medicine is not for fun. Medicine we take in response to not feeling well, and according to the CDC, if we exercised more we would be feeling unwell much less often and staying young, spry, sexy and sassy much longer. Ok those last 3 adverbs are mine, not the CDC.
Exercise truly holds the keys to unlocking our inner magic kingdom, of course with partners in wellness nutrition and lifestyle. But here, let’s assume the nutrition is there to allow exercise to work its magic.
It seems confusing when we research just how much exercise we should be getting. This is what I want to clear up. People sometimes feel “I tried exercise it didn’t work”. Like everything else there is a dose response-a physiological response typically which there is little to no response ( health benefit) at lower levels and at too high levels there is the potential for toxic reactions..
Well exercise is just that wanted and welcomed by the body that any is embraced and appreciated by the body. We just might not notice those cells dancing for joy being stoked by exercise.
In fitness we accomplish our desired dose response by manipulating and balancing certain FITT variables.
Before we start with actual exercise Rx, let’s remember exercise and physical activity are both necessary. Sedentary is the new smoking. Even if we are diligent about exercise time, that does not allow us to sit at screen time for the rest if the day. Repeated studies show us it is imperative for our health and fitness that we have bouts of physical activity through out the day, at least every 2 hours.
The FITT formula is varied per person depending on numerous factors:
Level of conditioning
Stage of life…how this needs to be adjusted is far too often ignored
And of course….. Desired results…..
It is most definitely not the same protocol for someone recovering from cancer as someone training for Ironman. Someone who wants to lose body fat….it’s going to take more than a couple of leisurely strolls a week.
So let’s look at some typical categories.
General health…the minimum to keep the blood flowing, hopefully keep the immune system pumping
Fat loss…I really do not like the term weight loss, keeping it off thru life’s insanity and hormonal changes
Competitive…..body building, athletics
Anti aging….this really is so much more than general health. That has limited performance
Disease recovery …and will be totally different depending on numerous factors
Stress release, energy, cognitive strength.
Adjusting the variables of the FITT formula, and to keep adjusting them, at the appropriate
intervals, knowing our boundaries, knowing when we have achieved new healthy boundaries…..this is where there is confusion, and we can fall short of our goals. And yes, it is possible to over exercise, or do the wrong exercise creating oxidative stress or aggravating musculoskeletal issues.
Please be careful when hiring a fitness professional. A few points to consider in your decision:
- just because someone gives you a challenging routine, that puts you in pain and makes you sweat like a beast or perform tantric distortions of your body…does not mean it’s a good workout
- Because they have a “perfect body” does not mean they are a perfect coach
- If they are pushing their own line of food and supplements….don’t fall for it
- Are they encouraging you and helping you track your physical activity between sessions?
- Are they only encouraging their platform of exercise, or promoting many “types” of exercise?
- Are they promoting the many reasons for exercise, or just one
- Are they familiar with your physiological / medical challenges ….a thesis right here. Fitness pros unfortunately regularly work outside their scope of practice.
- Find out their definition of progression. Is it just about increasing the FITT?
- How is your energy, focus, sleep, mood progressing over time?
- Is it fun…… Do you want to do more for enjoyment, not because you think you have a sentence to serve
Exercise and physical activity are as necessary as eating, breathing, personal hygiene, the need to feel loved. It serves equal benefits to mind, body and spirit. Investing in our health with time, thought, yes money, to keep a balanced FITT, keeps us balanced. But if we don’t love it, crave it, something is wrong in out FITT formula. Your body should be calling out for more, but again more does not necessarily mean harder or more strenuous.
In my opinion, there is a very critical variable missing from the FITT formula. Always remember my FITT formula…