Bit of a funny one this, I have mentioned this term before but for some reason across the many many self trainers out there the penny just doesn’t seem to drop.
In this industry there are only so many fundamentals you can cover. Ultimately, the training you do is just a way of creating a stimulus for your body to react to, and build resilience and an improved level of conditioning in order to cope with these demands better and more effectively.
I think I have ‘nut-shelled’ it a few times in different ways like, lift heavy you’ll get stronger or, run this distance you’ll get fitter. While both are 100% fact, there’s still an awful lot of other stuff you could be doing inside, and outside of your fitness plan in order to maximise these gains. Take it from me, nobody knows as much as a Personal Trainer does about clients being busy. That is number one barrier and limiter. And that’s fair enough but whilst we do recognise that people are busy, they also (generally speaking) spend their time doing some pretty bizarre things outside of their training program that ultimately take away from their training productivity.
FITT principles are exactly that. Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type are the four fundamental principles we need to consider when it comes to organising our training whether it’s for one session, a chain of sessions as part of a block or indeed the entire plan for the journey.
FITT principles come into it at every level, and being aware of them in the most (what sometimes seem) insignificant sessions, you’ll be sure to maximise your training time and even more so in the ‘Key Sessions’ along the way.
Obviously out of the four elements they are all moveable depending on what an individual has in mind and what the individual would like to achieve, but we see this at Body Planners time and time again where people are trying to achieve one thing, and what they’re doing isn’t cutting it. The truth is, their training isn’t effective, and they don’t FITT everything in.
My go to, number one example of this is HIIT. Yes, not to bore you we all know how awesome it can be with the whole ‘burn calories when you’re not in the gym’ or the whole ‘6 minutes of HIIT is like 45 Minutes of strength’. It doesn’t matter, and its all just stats. If your strength session is 45 minutes, its 45 minutes. If your HIIT is 20, its 20 minutes. Although one type of training can boast one thing over the other, neither can boast to do the same because it isn’t possible to do so. To develop strength you need to work in a particular rep and recovery range. To develop muscular endurance its a different rep and recovery range and guess what, HIIT is a different rep and recovery range. Admittedly there is a little bit of carry over from one training type to the other but that does not mean that smashing HIIT sessions 5 times per day is going to make you Worlds Strongest Person.
As a rule, when it comes to training and structuring it in a way that your body is being progressively overloaded, you have to look into what is going to need attention along the way. If you’re strong enough to do what you’re wanting to, then you don’t need to do strength training. If you have the endurance to go the distance, whether its an endurance event, or the level of conditioning required to perform a 50 minute intense training session, then you don’t need to focus too much on that and in a roundabout kinda way, any time you spend on that will only make that little bit better. It won’t develop the other elements.
For example, I have a client who wants to lose weight. They are really de-conditioned, live an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle with low levels of general activity. It would be a pretty tall order to expect this individual to jump straight off the high board into the deep end of training 4 x 60 minute sessions per week focusing on X, Y, and Z. Although they need X, Y, and Z to achieve the goal they want we would have to start slow and build up. We would maybe spend 4 weeks on X, and assess where we’re at before moving on to 4 weeks at Y, and then the same for Z. Too many times at Body Planners we see people going about business the wrong way. Theres nothing wrong with wanting to shape up but don’t be naive about how tough it can be, especially if you don’t know your current abilities it takes a little time to find your feet, your strengths, and your weaknesses. What I’m saying is don’t go from little activity, lots of food (REGARDLESS OF QUALITY) to lots of activity and little food. If this is you, you’re already back on the heap and looking for the next thing because it doesn’t work.
You need to look at what you need to achieve, and then schedule the things that will get you there. You need to decide how many times you’ll do that one thing. Thats the frequency. Then you need to decide how tough it needs to be. Thats the intensity. Then you need to decide how long you’ll do each bit for, whether its a set for reps, or a set for time. Thats the time, and then lastly you need to decide what sub category its going to fall under. Is it going to be at a % or 1 Rep Max, 10 Rep Max or is it going to be a threshold interval? Thats the type.
Every component of every plan in a workout or chain of workouts should have been considered when making a plan. I know, for a fact that next Tuesday my training will last 1 Hour and 48 Minutes because the session is 1 x 60 Minute Cycle @ 85% FTP + 3 Minute QC Transition to 1 x 45 Minute Run @ HR Z3. And that’s the laser focus you should have with your training if you A; Want to make it FITT, and B; Are pushed for time!
Do things the right way, the right amount of times at the right Intensity to maximise YOUR training! If you struggle with that, we can help you FITT it all in!