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These four principles of fitness training are applicable to individuals exercising at low to moderate training levels and may be used to establish guidelines for both cardiorespiratory and resistance training.
The FITT principle is used to guide the development of unique and bespoke fitness plans that cater for an individual's specific needs.
Following any form of fitness training, the body goes through a process of rebuild and repair to replenish its energy reserves consumed by the exercise.
The frequency of exercise is a fine balance between providing just enough stress for the body to adapt to and allowing enough time for healing and adaptation to occur...
The guidelines for cardiorespiratory training (also called aerobic conditioning) is a minimum of three sessions per week and ideally five or six sessions per week.
Experts suggest that little or no benefit is attained over and above this amount. Of course athletes often fall outside the suggested guidelines but even elite performers must give themselves time to rest.
The frequency of resistance training is dependent upon the particular individual and format of the program. For example, a program that works every body part every session should be completed 3-4 days a week with a day's rest between sessions.
On the other hand, aprogram that focuses on just one or two body parts per session, in theory you could be completed as frequently as six days per week. Many bodybuilders follow such a routine.
Remember though, each time you complete a strenuous strength training session (regardless of the body part) you are taxing your body as a whole - including all the physiological systems and major organs.
The second rule in the FITT principle relates to intensity. It defines the amount of effort that should be invested in a training program or any one session.
Like the first FITT principle - frequency - there must be a balance between finding enough intensity to overload the body (so it can adapt) but not so much that it causes overtraining.
Heart rate can be used to measure the intensity of cardiorespiratory training. Workload is used to define the intensity of resistance training.
Cardio Respiratory Training
Heart rate is the primary measure of intensity in aerobic endurance training. Ideally before you start an aerobic training program a target heart rate zone should first be determined. The target heart rate zone is a function of both your fitness level and age. Here's a quick method for determining your target heart rate...
Heart Rate & Maximum Heart Rate
Heart rate is measured as beats per minute (bpm). Heart rate can be monitored and measured by taking your pulse at the wrist, arm or neck. An approximation of maximum heart rate (MHR) can also be calculated as follows: MHR = 220 - age.
Target Heart Rate
For beginners a target heart rate zone of 50-70 percent of their maximum of heart rate is a good place to start. So if, for example, you are 40 years old that gives you a predicted maximum heart rate of 180 (220 - 40). Multiply 180 by 50% and 70% and your reach a target zone of 90bpm - 126bpm.
For fitter, more advanced individuals, a target heart rate zone of 70-85 percent of their maximum of heart rate may be more appropriate. Staying with the example above, that 40 year old now has a heart rate zone of 126bpm - 153bpm.
There are limitations with heart rate and the heart rate reserve method, while no means flawless, may be a more accurate way to determine exercise intensity.
For resistance training, workload is the primary measure of intensity. Workload can have three components:
1. The amount of weight lifted during an exercise
2. The number of repetitions completed for a particular exercise
3. The length of time to complete all exercises in a set or total training session
So, you can increase workload by lifting heavier weights. Or you could increase the number of repetitions with the same weight. Finally, you could lift the same weight for the same number of repetitions but decrease the rest time between sets.
However, only increase the intnesity using one of the above parameters. Do not increase weight and decrease rest time in the same session for example.
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