My name is Christos Dodanis and I am a self employed personal trainer currently based at Lords Gym in Saint Johns Wood in London. I have been a personal trainer since 2004 and hold a Bachelor of Sciences degree from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, and I am also a qualified exercise consultant. My experience in the fitness industry began in 1992 and since then I have held various positions including fitness consultant, assistant and fitness manager, club general manager both in New Zealand and in London, culminating in my current position as a personal trainer.
The F.I.T.T principle
During my years of experience in carrying out consultations with members or clients many people have asked me where do I start with exercise/ activity? I explain to them about the F.I.T.T principle which helps them make this sometimes difficult and daunting decision.
F = Frequency – how often?
I = Intensity – how hard should I train?
T= Type – what kind of exercise should I do?
T= Time – how long should I train?
Frequency You can train every day if you want! but it shouldn’t be the same type of training on consecutive days. Realistically for most people every other day is fine, which works out as 3 – 4 times per week, but the most important thing is that it is REGULAR.
Intensity This can be technical using heart rate monitors and so on but to keep it simple you should train at an intensity where you are just out of breath throughout the period of activity and be able to maintain this.
Type There are broadly 3 types of exercise/ activity and a general exercise program should contain all three of these components in a training session.
a) aerobic or cardiovascular involving things like running, brisk walking, cycling, swimming etc which exercises, amongst other muscles in the body, the heart muscle which works in conjunction with the lungs. When it is loaded with work it becomes stronger and more efficient at pumping the blood around the body.
b ) Strength training where resistance is used in the form of weights, resistance bands or body weight to load the skeletal muscles and build strength in them.
c) Flexibility or stretching/ mobility this ensures that one is able to maintain mobility and range of motion of joints and muscles to allow them to work more efficiently to minimise injury.
This can vary; if you are completely new to exercise then about 30 minutes may be enough, if you are training regularly about 1 hour should be sufficient for a general program.
Of course there are a multitude of variations on the F.I.T.T principle and this is where personal trainers can not only help to establish good exercise form and habits for those that are starting out or are undergoing rehabilitation through a supervised program but also help to direct those that want a more advanced specialised program.