by Bret Smith CPT, B. A., B.S. | Move Strong Studio
The F.I.T.T.E pillars create the blueprint for success, accountability and offer more than simply encouraging clients into improving their health through a physical fitness program. Each F.I.T.T.E pillar is represented by a letter in the acronym and supports the foundation of a wellness program. Without equal support from each of the pillars the program is out of balance, prone to failure and unsustainable. Read on to explore each pillar in detail and how to best implement and design an effective wellness/fitness Program.
Frequency – Individual commitment, particularly when referring to session frequency, has a direct correlation to the success in any fitness plan. How do we increase participation? More opportunity creates choice which translates into flexibility when participating in fitness related sessions. A simple way of creating fitness flexibility is to celebrate reaching short and long term milestones that have been set with the help of a fitness professional. Set the reward parameters as far as what will be celebrated, with whom and how. Then get busy hitting those weekly sessions to make sure the celebration will happen.
Intensity – Cardio and strength training workouts are effective when individuals reach target heart rate ranges of 65%-90% of maximal heart rates and maintaining that range for 20-60 min. Variations of intensity within the workouts are important for fat loss potential, metabolic energy use and endurance. Both moderate and high level intensities result in increased endurance and allow workout session to challenge individual fitness levels.
Time – For way too long the theory of getting on a treadmill and slogging away for 45-60 minutes was promoted as the best way to lose weight specifically body fat. Slow steady state training has its place as method of endurance training. However, if you train slowly you are slow! Science continues to back the programs designed around shorter bouts of exercise with increased intensities. This type of program raises the body’s need for recovery time which creates what has been described as the “after burn”. This response to higher intensity workout sessions requires the need for increased energy use and adaptation to the training for up to 48 hours after the workout. Energy use after a lower intensity session has the body returning to normal almost immediately. Change and vary the time of your sessions by increasing and decreasing intensities and see and feel the difference.
Type – The type pillar is specific to cardio training, resistance training, metabolic training and some combination of each. Once again the goal is to be able to train the body across many types of training in order to build strength, endurance, and improve adaptation. Relying primarily on one type of exercise will inevitably lead to boredom, exercise plateaus, and the potential of overuse injuries. Strength training stimulates muscle growth, coordination and metabolic influences which burn calories and increase the body’s ability to adapt to overload. Cardio training leads to the body’s ability to utilize different energy systems to burn fat, improve cardiovascular function and lower blood pressure. Importantly, it is most beneficial if exercise plans include a mix of strength, cardio and metabolic resistance training.
Enjoyment – This pillar has to be considered the “linchpin” for most exercise plans due to the fact that if some level of enjoyment is not considered the outlook for long term adherence is not a good one. Injecting enjoyment might be as simple as asking someone to workout with you, trying a new fitness class or taking on a big challenge like a marathon or Spartan Race! Creating an environment where you look forward to participating can make all the difference in not only seeing great results but keeping you active and healthy. I encourage you to try your best, push beyond self-limiting beliefs and have fun!
The F.I.T.T.E. model ensures individual and program success. When health and wellness plans are designed and supported by the pillars of F.I.T.T.E. individual goals are more achievable. Take the steps necessary to bring forth the best in your training through health and wellness planning.