Whether you've just found the inspiration to start exercising or you just want to change up your routine, the sheer volume of fitness advice and training programs at your disposal can be overwhelming. How do you know if a workout is right for your fitness level or if it will really help you achieve your goals? Is the plan aimed at weight loss, toning, marathon training, building strength, or just to maintain fitness levels? These are important questions to answer before you start any new routine, which is why you need become familiar with the FITT principle. Here, fitness expert Jamie Press, of Orbit Fitness, breaks it down.
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Goal 2: Improve Aerobic Fitness and/or Speed and Endurance
Frequency: Cardiovascular training is the optimum workout for these goals, and frequency can range from two to seven days per week.
Intensity: Once again, your intensity depends on your current fitness level. Keep your heart rate within your target range (50 to 70% of your maximum heart rate) to get results without risk. A heart rate monitor makes it easy to track your intensity, but you can do it the old fashioned way too:
1. Determine your maximum heart rate (MHR). The commonly used formula subtracts your age from 220, but new research from Northwestern Medicine in Chicago says calculating a woman's MHR is a little more complicated: 206 minus 88 percent of a woman's age. A 32-year-old woman's MHR, for example: 206 - (0.88 x 32) = 178 beats per minute (BPM).
2. Multiply your MHR by 0.7. In our example: 178 x 0.7 = 125. This means that a 32-year-old woman who wants to improve aerobic fitness needs to exercise at 125 BPM to operate in the correct zone.
Type: Cardiovascular training can be anything that increases the heart rate over a prolonged period of time, including jogging, running, cycling, swimming, hiking, or rowing.
Time: Aim for a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes per session. As with strength training, you don’t want to overdo it. Instead of heading out for a two-hour jog, concentrate on working in your target heart rate zone up to 40 minutes at a time and you’ll see great results.