Are You Forgetting FITT? The Workout Mistakes You Could Be Making
There’s more to working out than simply working hard – there are certain factors that many people overlook that could lead to a less than effective exercise regime. When you’re attempting to get in shape, there are four fitness factors you should take into account: Frequency, Intensity, Type and Time.
In order to really reap the rewards, exercise is something you should ideally do every day. But the frequency of your exercise sessions really depends on the type of workout you do. If you’re bodybuilding, using your muscles too often will cause muscle damage – you really need to take a break between each day you workout. If you perform high-intensity exercises, experts recommend taking at least one day of rest in between, or two if you’re really pushing yourself with low-rep, high-weight exercises. If your workout is aerobic, this differs – you should do some form of aerobic exercise every day in order to maintain good cardiovascular health. Intense aerobic exercises such as sprinting should be done every two to three days, to give your muscles some time to recover. But low-intensity and steady-state aerobics can be done daily without any harm to the muscles. This is the same for other exercises such as yoga, dance and martial arts.
How intense should your workouts be? There are benefits to different intensities, depending on what effects you’re looking for? Low intensity exercises, with 60 to 70 per cent of max heart rate, are great for weight loss and cardiovascular conditioning. At 60 to 70 per cent of max heart rate, your body will be burning fat, using energy and pumping blood at a steady rate – you won’t be exhausted, but you will start seeing results. Most people can usually go around 30 to 60 minutes every day at this level without any problems. Once you pass 70 per cent of your max heart rate, your body begins to feel it. You won’t be able to do daily workouts if you’re working to this level, as your body needs time to recover from the effects.
Your average workout time should be in the region of around 20 to 30 minutes, but certainly no more than 60 minutes, and you shouldn’t exceed more than three to five workouts a week. Between 85 and 95 per cent of your max heart rate is considered high intensity and is perfect for weight loss, as it burns a lot of energy in a short space of time. Athletes, such as marathon runners and triathletes, work at this level in order to improve their performance. You won’t be able to work out longer than 20 minutes at this rate, and you should allow plenty of rest in between. You should never reach 100 per cent of your max heart rate, as it’s too much for your heart and body to take.
The type of exercise you undertake depends on your goals. If you want to get into shape, you should aim for high intensity training, such as HIIT and CrossFit. Low-intensity exercises are great, but if you want to lose weight then you need to combine this with weight training. Building muscles can be done with strength training, with aerobics workouts thrown into the mix every day. If you’re older, you should approach exercise differently – focus more on the low impact exercises, such as yoga, swimming or moderate weightlifting.
Along with the intensity of your workout, you should consider how long you spend exercising – the two go hand in hand. Low intensity workouts can be done for up to 40 to 60 minutes a day. Moderate intensity levels should only be performed for around 30 minutes, and you shouldn’t train for longer than 20 minutes at high intensity.