FITT Principle

Original Editor - Kapil Narale

Top Contributors - Kapil Narale and Lucinda hampton  

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Step Group Fitness Class

The FITT principle is an acronym that represents, Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type. It can be prescribed to people to improve health, similar to pharmacologic intervention. You can easily remember the basic principles of exercise using the so-called FITT factors.

It can be used by anyone, beginner or experienced, for any type of activity. It can also be used by therapists, in the patient population, for individuals recovering from a condition. The principle of FITT training can be viewed as a framework for training recipes. [1][2]

FITT[edit | edit source]

Frequency (how often): Exercise should be carried out 3-5 days a week.

Training three times a week produces significant training effects; however, training 5 days a week at a lower-intensity exercise may be more manageable for some people. Little additional benefit is seen with more than five training sessions a week, and the risk of injury is increased. Training twice a week does not produce increases in VO2max; however, it may produce some functional changes and it is probably better than no exercise at all. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise done at least 5 d ∙ wk or vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise done at least 3 d ∙ wk or a weekly combination of 3–5 d ∙ wk of moderate and vigorous-intensity exercise is recommended for most adults to achieve and maintain health/fitness benefits.

Intensity (how hard)

Intensity can vary between light, moderate and vigorous intensity activities. For example, walking slowly is a low intensity activity, walking briskly or shooting around a basketball is a moderate intensity activity and running (>5mph) is a vigorous intensity activity. A good rule of thumb is that a person doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity can talk, but not sing. A person doing vigorous-intensity activity cannot say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Intensity can be monitored by heart rate in most patients, although some patients may have pathology or be on drug treatment that affects their HR response to exercise (in which case HR cannot be used to monitor exercise intensity). The short video below shows hart rate calculation


Measures of perceived effort and affective valence (i.e.the pleasantness of exercise) can be used to modulate or refine the prescribed exercise intensity. eg Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scales, Talk Test.

Time (duration or how long)

A total of 20-60 minutes of continuous or intermittent aerobic activity a day should be performed. The activity can be divided into a minimum of lO-minute bouts throughout the day. The duration of training is dependent on intensity. Individuals starting at the lower end of the training band need to sustain exercise longer (30-60 minutes) to achieve training effects.


Refers to the sort of activity to complete eg Aerobic activities like walking, jogging, biking, swimming or dancing or strengthening activities such as exercises using exercise bands, weight machines or hand-held weights.[4]

Individualise[edit | edit source]

The FITT Principles: Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type should be used individualised to the clients needs.

  1. Frequency: prioritise when health intentions are related to chronic disease prevention.
  2. Intensity: greatest impact on weight loss and athletic conditioning.
  3. Timing: pertinent for people with diabetes and blood sugar dysregulation.
  4. Types of activity: include aerobic, balance, flexibility, and strength exercises, all of which help patients achieve different health goals. eg jogging not best type for knee OA; contact sports not good for people with osteoporosis.[2]

Community Physical Activity Improvement[edit | edit source]

Walking: easy community activity

The principles of FITT training are essentially a guideline to make it easier for people who do physical activities/sports.

Based on the principles of this FITT exercise, the community has a clearer direction in their activities. Use of the FITT guidelines can be seen as a way to improve physical fitness and at the same time contribute to the management of several diseases related to lifestyle such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Additionally the mental health aspect should not be overlooked.[2]

Add Fun to FITT Principle[edit | edit source]

Fun fact.jpg

It is recommended that an important component is missing from the FITT Principle, and that is adding an F for 'Fun'. This is seen to be crucial for exercise adherence. Consideration social cognitive, personality, and environmental or socioeconomic factors when choosing aspects of the FITT principle [5]

  1. Individuals are more likely to adhere to the prescribed program when the social cognitive theory, theory of planned behavior, or an emotional response to the exercise is implemented.
  2. It is apparent that more people of all age groups would adhere to an exercise prescription if fun and enjoyment were components involved. This can be explained by the fact that people are more likely to participate in activities that bring them pleasure, rather than those that may bring displeasure.
  3. It is important to note that the FITT Principle loses its usefulness if an individual does not adhere to their exercise program or recommendations, due to lack of enjoyment. [5]

Viewing[edit | edit source]

Here's a video explaining the concepts of the FITT Principle: [6]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Healthline. About the FITT Principle. Available from: (accessed on 13 August 2022).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Adi S. Benefits of Sports Activities with FITT Principles During the Covid-19 Pandemic in a “New Normal” Life for Health. In4th International Conference on Sports Sciences and Health (ICSSH 2020) 2021 Jul 8 (pp. 121-126). Atlantis Press.Available: (accessed 20.9.2022)
  3. Neil Bergenroth: Rowing Coach. How to Calculate Heart Rate Intensity. Available from: https://[last accessed 27/6/2020]
  4. Physiopedia Principles of Exercise Available:Principles of Exercise (accessed 20.9.2022)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Burney Kathryn, Kelsch Elizabeth, Zieff Gabriel, Moore Justin B. How fitting is F.I.T.T.?: A perspective on a transition from the sole use of frequency, intensity, time, and type in exercise prescription. Physiology & Behavior:199(2019): 33–34.
  6. The Physed Coach. The FITT Principle. Available from: (accessed 31 August 2022).