Fitness Education: The F.I.T.T. Principle

Creating an exercise program can be daunting to some. You may not even know where to start! Luckily, if you have a few health goals in mind, it can be pretty simple when using the FITT principle. FITT is a principle that many fitness and health professionals use when prescribing physical activity. This easy to remember acronym compiles 4 concepts that all exercise programs utilize.

To get started, it is best to write down 2-3 goals, be specific, try SMART goals. Using your goals, you can use the following categories to design your own basic plan.

F.I.T.T. Principle

Frequency – This refers to the number of exercise sessions completed in a given amount of time. In the strength and conditioning world, this is typically a week (we generally refer to a 1 to 4-week period a “microcycle”).

Training Status and Frequency Guidelines

Beginner: 2-3 sessions/week
Intermediate: 3-4 sessions/week
Advanced: 4-7 sessions/week

Ask yourself: “According to my goals and current fitness level, how often should I exercise?”

Intensity– This refers to how hard the work is performed. This can be affected by many different factors such as amount of resistance or weight used, the speed or power exerted, changes in the sets and reps, amount of rest time, etc.

Set and repetition ranges

Power: 3-6 sets of 1-5 reps
Strength: 3-5 sets of 3-8 reps
Hypertrophy: 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps
Muscular Endurance: 3-4 sets of 15+ reps

Ask yourself: “According to my goal, how (heavy should I lift?, far/fast should I run?, many sets and reps should I complete? etc.)?

Time–This refers to the amount of time spent during an exercise session. Depending on the intensity and type of exercise, your exercise sessions should be anywhere between 45min-80min.

Ask yourself: “According to my goal, how long should I exercise?” or “How much time do I have to exercise today?”

Type –This refers to the kind of exercises performed to help you achieve your goals.

Example: If your goal is strength or hypertrophy, then you would do strength-building exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses (also known as compound lifts: exercises involving 2 or more joints and muscle groups).

Ask yourself: “According to my goal, what type of exercise movements or type of running should I do?”

Here are the benefits of creating your own program:

Your goals – The plan you create is great because it is customized to you and your goals and abilities.
Structured plan – Structured planning leads to consistency with leads to lifelong changes.
Injury prevention – Having an exercise plan helps with strengthening your body, greatly decreasing your risk for injury.
You can allow yourself variability – having days, where your program can get stale, will happen, that’s why you have the freedom to slightly change your exercise. Having this ability decreases the risk of overtraining syndrome.


If you have additional questions about the F.I.T.T Principle or would like to talk to someone at Home Base about setting your own exercise program, visit www.homebase.org/fitness to get in touch with our Warrior Health & Fitness Team.