How to Get Fit: The Crucial 4 Principles

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gymCardio? Fitness goals? Training? These words may sound overwhelming to a beginner or to someone who wants to change his mundane fitness program. Not to mention the numerous advice and how-to articles everywhere. Whether you’re trying to tone your muscles, lose weight, build strength, or train for a marathon, you need to get these four crucial principles in your head. But before we start, you must answer the following self-assessment questions:

  1. Are you a beginner, an intermediate, or advanced in terms of exercising? For this question, you can consider the intensity and the current number of times you exercise.

  1. What are your fitness goals in the next six months? How about in a year? For this question, you ought to consider the following:

  • strength

  • endurance

  • weight

  • muscle tone

  • speed

  • overall fitness level

Before you try to get fit or change your exercise routine, you should first identify your targets and status. Whatever routine you’re going to use, these four principles can always be applied. Let’s begin!

This principle is called the FITT principle and it’s the best way to get FITT (yep, pun intended). The acronym means Frequency, Intensity, Type, and Time. Frequency refers to how many times you exercise; how often you do your routine. Meanwhile, Intensity refers to the level of difficulty your workout should be. Type obviously refers to the kind of exercises you should do and the Time is the duration of your workout. If you don’t apply these crucial principles, you’ll TTIF—Totally Tank In Fitness.

Each of these four principles depends on one another. That means the intensity of your workout will depend on the frequency while the frequency will rely on the type of exercises you do (weights vs. cardio). Are you getting a hold of it so far? Let’s take a quick look at each principle.

  1. Frequency

The number of times you exercise in a week relies on the type of training you do, how often you can really, honestly work out, and your goals. It’s not advisable to work out every single day. You should give your body time to rest once a week. Your rest day should be between resistance training exercises to enable your muscles to rest and repair. Cardiovascular workouts, on the other hand, should be done regularly. When I mentioned how often you can really work out, I meant how many times will your busy schedule allow you to exercise. Sometimes, going to the gym five times a week is already a hassle. If you can’t go to the gym frequently, you should increase the intensity level of your workouts and/or the time you spend on less frequent exercises. Lastly, your goals matter. For instance, if you just want to maintain fitness levels, you can work out for three to four times a week. But if you want to lose weight, you need to exercise five times a week.

  1. Intensity

This principle mainly focuses on how many repetitions you should do, how heavy your resistance should be, and how far or fast you should run. The level of intensity will rely on four things: the type of training, the frequency of workouts, your present fitness level, and once again, your goals.

The kind of training you do should be taken into consideration when applying this principle. For instance, the intensity of your resistance workout can be changed by altering the amount of weight you lift and the number of completed reps you make. Meanwhile, the intensity of your cardio training can be changed by altering the distance, difficulty, and speed of your workout. Now let’s talk about the frequency of your workouts. This depends on your goals and available schedule. Some people who can exercise five to six times a week go for low-intensity workouts while others who work out less often opt for a high-intensity routine. You should also consider your current fitness status. You should pay attention to your heart rate as well, especially when you’re trying a new procedure. Determine your maximum heart rate as well as your target heart rate which is 50 to 70 percent of your max. heart rate. If you go higher, that means you’re pressuring your body too much. If you go lower, that means you won’t lose weight or increase your fitness. And of course, your goals—they always matter. If you want to train for strength, lose weight, or train for endurance, you should undergo high-intensity workouts.

  1. Type

This third principle talks about the kinds of exercises you do. You can do cardiovascular or resistance training and it all, like I said before, relies on your goals. Cardiovascular workouts are for those whose goals include the increase of endurance or loss of weight. These exercises increase the heart rate by requiring you to go swimming, hiking, cycling, running, rowing, and so on. On the other hand, resistance training is for those whose goals include the increase of muscle tone and strength. These people lift weights, do push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, squats, and etc. If you don’t want to settle for one type, you can do a mixed training. It is a combination of cardiovascular and resistance workouts. It’s perfect for those who are training for a certain sport or for anyone who wants to improve their general fitness.

  1. Time

The last principle refers to the duration of your workouts and depends on the three mentioned principles. The amount of time you put in every workout relies on the intensity and frequency, type of training, and your goal. Like mentioned earlier, you can choose whether to have a low-intensity or high-intensity workout depending on your schedule. When it comes to frequency, it’s the same thing; you can perform short exercises every day or do longer workouts for fewer days. For the type of training, it’s important to know that cardio exercises are longer than resistance exercises. Resistance workouts are usually 45 to 60 minutes long while cardio sessions should take a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes and can even take hours if you run or ride a bike. Finally, your goals will also affect the duration of your workouts. If you’re training for a sport, your workouts should be longer. If you’re trying to maintain general fitness, the duration will be shorter.