Follow the F.I.T.T. principle to get in shape: Frequency, Intensity, Type, and Time. Any workout program is a balancing act between these components. Whether your goal is raw power, unbelievable stamina, or weight loss, you need to adhere to the F.I.T.T. principle of training.
How often do you exercise? Don’t fall into the trap of believing more is better. Especially, if your intensity is high. You need to give your body time to repair the damage from exercise.
Exercise stresses your body. You adapt to handle that load over time. You need to give your body time to repair and replenish itself. Overdoing it will result in injury, burnout, or the inability to progress past your current state.
There are plenty of rules of thumb. Lift weights every other day if you’re doing a total body program or 4 days per week with a split routine. Rules of thumb are OK, but it depends on your particular goal and your current physical condition.
How hard you work out in each session. Leave it all in the gym every time you work out and you’re sure to succumb to overtraining. Vary the intensity of your workouts between heavy and medium intensity. Keep it high on interval training days. For weightlifting, there are ways to measure your intensity based on your One Rep Maximum.
Whether it’s strength training, plyometrics, or endurance exercise, you have to decide on the method to use in your routine. Determine where you are at in the Fitness Cycle, Strength Spectrum and on the Fitness Pyramid. Focus on strength and then move toward endurance as your program progresses.
This is how much time do you devote to each exercise session. Most people overestimate the amount of time it takes to produce results. An example; if you want to lose weight you can spends 3 hours a week on a treadmill or you can achieve superior results with 1 hour per week of interval training. You pick.
Putting It All Together
There are no standard prescriptions for success. In fact, each of these components will change over the long-term course of your Workout Cycle. One-size-fits-all programs don’t exist. I’d be wary of anybody promising that.
Your exercise program should and will change over time. TIP — You want to stick with a routine 3-6 weeks to gain its benefit before trashing it as ineffective. It’s equally important to change your routine periodically to challenge your body in different ways. Remember, your body adapts to stresses, so you need to change the loads you put on it progress.