By Karen Creasey

If you are anything like me, you have aspirations to work out, get fit, eat right, and stick with it.  But then, life happens.  Schedules get crazy; the job becomes demanding, it’s too hot outside, I’m not feeling well… whatever.

I have learned along the way that just setting fitness goals are not always enough to keep me motivated.  Sometimes I need more inspiration and flexibility.  I have found that when my exercise goals partner with an exercise plan or guidelines that keep me on track and give me flexibility I stay more consistent.

That is where the F.I.T.T.  principle comes in.  F.I.T.T. is a set of guidelines that help me set up a workout routine that fit my goals and fitness level with built in give and take.  They keep me motivated and help me get the most out of my exercise routine.  F.I.T.T.  works like this:

F stands for Frequency:  How often you exercise.

For cardio or heart pumping exercise the exercise guidelines suggest moderate exercise, five days a week or intense exercise, three days a week.

I stands for Intensity:  How hard you work during exercise.

The general rule of thumb is to workout in your target heart rate zone (usually between 60%-90% of your maximum heart rate) and focus on a variety of intensities to stimulate various energy systems and keep you from boredom.

T stands for Time: How long you exercise.

The standard exercise suggestion is to get heart pumping exercise for 30-60 minutes at a time.  How long you exercise will be dependent on both your fitness level and your intensity.  Generally the more intense your workout, the shorter it can be.   If your goal is to lose weight, the guidelines suggest 60-90 minutes of exercise, at least five days a week.

T stands for Type: The type of activity you are doing.

Any activity that gets your heart rate up counts as cardio.  A few of my favorites are:  Running, walking, swimming, cycling, and dancing.  Pick whatever exercise you enjoy and make working out fun!

The F.I.T.T. principle is important because it helps outline the best work out program for your schedule and fitness level.  By manipulating each component you can get in shape, achieve better results, and avoid boredom, overuse injuries and weight loss plateaus.

For more information about F.I.T.T or other training possibilities call Karen at the Palm Desert Aquatic Center.  760-565-3640 or online at