Applying the F.I.T.T. Principle to Maximize Repetitive Workouts

For many of us, working out is something we do as a routine, and while routines are great in everyday life, when they become repetitive, they aren’t always beneficial to your fitness. For example, getting up at 6:00am and having a glass of water, healthy breakfast and leaving for work at the same time every day keeps us on track. But if we apply the same repetitious behavior to our daily workout, the benefits begin to taper off; commonly referred to as “plateauing”.

It’s been said many times that failing to mix up your workouts won’t deliver good results in the long term. While that’s true, it’s also a well-known fact that people who don’t enjoy their fitness program aren’t going to stick to it very long, and that’s even worse than hitting the proverbial “plateau”.

The Dreaded Workout Plateau

void Fitness Plateau with F.I.T.T. PrincipleThe human body is like a computer. When a programmer feeds data into a computer, it is getting smarter, just like when we exercise, our body gets stronger and healthier. But after a while, feeding the same data into the computer won’t make any difference in the machine’s performance. In the same way, our bodies become accustomed to a repetitive workout, and instead of improving, they simply maintain status quo.

It’s true – the easiest way to continue enhancing your physique and health is to mix up your workouts. You could spend a day or two running, another day or two swimming and another cycling or lifting. Make sure to take a day off each week, though, so your muscles can recover and repair themselves. But as I mentioned, not everyone enjoys different types of workouts.

Maybe you tried a spinning class and absolutely loved it, but weight lifting, running and other forms of exercise simply don’t incite enough enthusiasm to get you moving. If that’s the case, routine spinning classes are the way to go. And despite the repetition involved, there’s something called the F.I.T.T. Principle that can keep your workout routine working for you.

Applying the F.I.T.T. Principle

The acronym F.I.T.T. stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type. By simply increasing one or more of these aspects of your workout, you can maintain upward momentum in your physical and salubrious growth.

If you go to spinning class three times a week and spend 30 minutes there, trying adding a fourth day, or increasing your time to 35 or 40 minutes. If you’re schedule doesn’t allow another day or you’re pressed for time, you can increase the intensity by monitoring your heart rate.

If you normally workout at 70% MHR (maximum heart rate), try increasing it to 75%.

Your MHR is based on your age, and is determined by simply subtracting your age from 220. If you’re 30 years old, your MHR is 190. At 70% (190*0.7), your rate would be 133. Increased to 75% (190*0.75), your heart rate would be 142.5.

Most of today’s better exercise machines, including ellipticals, treadmills and cycling, come with a built-in heart rate monitor, but if yours doesn’t, you can determine your current heart rate by pressing your index and middle finger to the underneath base of your wrist. Count the number of beats for 10 seconds, then multiply by 6.

Alternatively, you can purchase a wearable heart rate monitor wristband for about $10 and up.

Learn more about calculating and achieving your Target Heart Rate.

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