The FITT principle

There is nothing more rewarding than seeing our clients get results. However, our clients won’t get results if we keep giving them the same workout.  In this article, I will explain how you can adapt your client’s workouts using the FITT principle.

The FITT principle

The FITT principle is an acronym that trainers and coaches use when progressing or regressing a clients training programme. By modifying one of the following components of FITT we can increase or decrease the difficulty of the plan.

Frequency

The F refers to ‘frequency’ which represents the number of times your client is training within a given time period. Often the number of sessions within a week. We can add sessions to progress our clients or we can take them away to regress them.

Intensity

The I refers to ‘intensity’ which represents how hard your client is working. For cardio, this can be represented by a percentage of their maximum heart rate (%HRmax).

Or using their rate of perceived exertion (RPE).

For resistance training, this can be represented by the percentage of their one-repetition max (%1RM).

Or using a modified RPE system for resistance training.

We can increase the intensity to progress our clients or we reduce the intensity to regress them.

Time

The T refers to ‘time’ which represents the number of minutes your client is training for within a given time period. This could be the number of minutes within a training session or across the week. We can increase the number of minutes they exercise to progress our clients or we can reduce the number of minutes to regress them.

Type

The second T refers to ‘type’. This is another way we can take advantage of the law of adaptability. If we subject our client’s bodies to a ‘stress’ they are not accustomed to then their body will try to adapt to it in whatever way it sees fit. This is where variety is key: 

  • different equipment
  • different hand positions
  • different foot positions
  • different surfaces
  • unilateral and bilateral

Also, using different training techniques such as intervals, fartlek, drop sets, circuits, cluster sets. The list is endless. However, remember that some techniques are generally harder so select sensible ones for your beginners. Going from being sedentary to doing intervals and drop sets three times a week would not be a good idea!

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