The Trainer’s Trick to Designing a Better Workout

It's been 8 weeks, are you more fit than 2016?

New Year’s Day was two months ago which means those of us that made fitness resolutions should not only be feeling, but also seeing the changes to our body. If you don’t feel stronger, leaner or more confident yet, no worries, here’s a formula to help you design a better workout.

What I’m sharing is not a new method. Personal Trainers have been using this method for years. It’s called the FITT Principle and I’m going to break it down for you.

First off, FITT stands for frequency, intensity, time and type. If you have already set a specific fitness goal (start here if you haven’t) and are aware of your current fitness capabilities then you can use this formula to design a workout plan that will lead to results.

The first thing to understand is that these variables are interdependent, meaning your frequency will affect the intensity of the activity and the intensity will impact the time, and so on.

You also have to understand that for your body to change there has to be sufficient and progressive challenge, as well as sufficient recovery.

The chart above is for most adults based on the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations for aerobic exercise to maintain general health. Let’s consider this example: A healthy mom of two that can barely find time to workout, but enjoys exercising outside wants to meet general health guidelines.

She’ll want to start with the frequency variable when planning since that’s her limiting factor. She’s decided she can realistically do 3 days per week. She has about an hour each of those days to workout so she decides to meet the guidelines by exercising 50 minutes each workout. This is a longer workout so it’s sufficient to exercise at a moderate intensity. She enjoys being outside so has planned to bike 3 days per week at a moderate intensity, for 50 minutes.

What happens if she has less time for exercise one morning? She can either increase her intensity and shorten the workout to meet her time restriction or she can keep the moderate intensity and split the time by doing 25 minutes in the morning and 25 minutes in the evening (when splitting the workout time, you’ll want to do at least 10 minute segments).

Make sense? Good, you can now use the FITT principle to create your own plan based on your specific training goal and capabilities. Don’t forget to incorporate a plan for resistance training. You can use ACSM guidelines as a starting point.

If you’re a mom with a goal to lean out, become stronger and keep up with your kids-try these monthly workouts.

Any chance you’re a runner? Try this free 10 miler training guide.