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The FITTE Factor


In order to maximize the positive results associated with exercise it is important to identify and follow the basic recommendations in preparing your fitness program. This would include deciding on the type of exercise, intensity of exercise, frequency of training session and duration of each session, otherwise known as the FITTE factor.

Frequency – It is recommended that your weight control program begin with 3 days per week, preferably with one day of rest in between.  After you have been engaging in the program for several weeks, this can be increased to 5-7 days per week.  The most effective exercise program for weight control involves exercise more days per week at a lower intensity per session.  Burning calories is the key!!!

Intensity - The term exercise carries with it many different connotations for individuals and at times it can deter someone away from beginning a program out of fear that the intensity has to be high, such as running a marathon.  This is absolutely untrue.  Even exercise programs, which are low impact, such as walking, can be successful.  It is important to note that the effectiveness of exercise in achieving weight control is directly related to one’s level of obesity.  Generally, those individuals who are obese will lose weight quicker that their counterparts of normal body weight.  The recommendation for intensity should include moderate intensity exercise.  This would include exercise at 50-75% of maximum age-predicted heart rate or a general feeling of moderately working based on level of breathing and muscular effort (rating of 6 out of 10 on a perceived effort scale).  It is important to keep the intensity moderate to prevent orthopedic injury and to allow for an increase in the number of days per week that you participate.

Type - As mentioned earlier the exercise program chosen does not have to be jogging or high intensity in order to be successful.  The type of exercise you choose should include a form of activity which you will enjoy doing and is easily accessible.  Many individuals are interested in developing a walking program.  Several studies have shown that you can be extremely successful with a walking program.  Keep in mind that the faster you walk and the more you weigh, the more calories you will burn.  In fact, it is possible to burn just as many calories walking as you would if you were running.

Time – The recommended time for successful weight loss is to do at least 30 minutes of continuous exercise per session or you can choose to do 2 15-minute sessions.  Keeping in mind longer is better, therefore if your long-term goal is to exercise 45-60 minutes per session; this will certainly enhance the caloric expenditure.  However, we all have time constraints.

Enjoyment – One of the most important aspects of your exercise program and a major key to improving compliance is to choose an activity you like to do.  It is self-defeating to do something, which someone else enjoys or to force yourself to do something you dislike.  Chances are that your program will be an undesirable experience and one that you will not look forward to doing.  In addition, many of us dislike “EXERCISE” keep in mind that training encompasses many different forms of activity such as dancing or performing daily activities more vigorously e.g. taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking briskly instead of driving or carrying groceries further and for longer periods of time.

 The American Heart Association has information regarding exercise programs for weight loss, which you can find at the link site.  In addition, there is a web site to provide information on walking programs.