FITT Programming

 

The FITT principle is an easy way to remember the components necessary in a complete fitness program.  FITT is a programming model that is appropriate for all aspects of fitness:  strength training, cardiovascular training, and flexibility training, and is appropriate for all ages and special populations. The FITT principle incorporates the four variables that must be managed when developing any individualized exercise program, as shown in Table 11.2.  Tables 11.3 through 11.5 show ACSM guidelines on cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training using the FITT Principle when programming for healthy adults.  Table 11.6 shows ACSM, CDC, and U.S. Surgeon General recommendations for programming for highly de-conditioned adults.

Frequency -- How frequently the exercise or activity is performed in terms of times per day and/or days per week

F

Intensity -- The level of exercise in terms of heart rate, perceived exertion, pounds, strength levels, METS, etc.

I

Time -- The duration of the exercise or activity in minutes and/or sets.

T

Type -- The mode or description of the exercise or activity.

T

Table 11.2.  The FITT Principle

3-5 times per week.

F

55%-90% of maximum heart rate, perceived exertion “somewhat hard to hard,” 40%-85% of heart rate reserve or oxygen uptake reserve (VO2R)

I

20-60 minutes of continuous or intermittent (minimum 10-minute bouts) of aerobic activity accumulated during the day.

T

Large muscle groups, rhythmic and aerobic in nature.

T

Table 11.3. ACSM Guidelines for Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Healthy Adults

2-3 times per week.

F

At least moderate intensity. Intensity levels should continue to increase to levels above those normally experienced.

I

1 set, 8-12 repetitions for healthy participants under 50 years old

1 set, 10-15 repetitions for participants older than 50

12-20 repetitions for endurance

8-12 repetitions for hypertrophy or size increase

1-8 reps for strength/power

T

Dynamic types of exercises, using full range of motion

T

Table 11.4. ACSM Guidelines for Strength Training for Healthy Adults

A minimum of 2-3 times a week; 3-4 sets for each target muscle

F

To a position of mild discomfort

I

15-30 seconds for static; 6-second contraction followed by 10-30 seconds assisted stretch for PNF.

T

Various techniques including static, dynamic, and PNF for each major muscle and/or tendon group

T

Table 11.5. ACSM Guidelines for Flexibility for Healthy Adults

* Recommended flexibility exercises can be found here

Most days of the week

F

Perceived exertion “moderate,” at least 55%-64% maximum heart rate.

I

30 minutes of activity (minimum 10-minute bouts) accumulated throughout the day

T

Continuous movement or activity including gardening, housework, and other activities of daily living.

T

Table 11.6. ACSM, CDC, and Surgeon General Recommendations for Highly Deconditioned Adults.

Progression


When and how should the FITT program be changed?

  1. -Change only one of the FITT components at a time.

  2. -Initial adaptation to exercise occurs within 4 to 6 weeks.

  3. -Significant improvement usually continues for 12 to 20 weeks.

  4. -Maintenance begins when improvement tapers or plateaus, usually about 6 months after program starts. (Refer to Chapter 11 of the ACE Personal Trainer Manual, 3rd Edition, for more information on exercise progression.)