F.I.T.T. Method— Breaking Through Weight Loss and Wellness Plateaus
By Erik Nieuwenhuis MS, PT St Luke’s WorkSmart Injury Prevention Specialist , WELLness Consultant, and Health Coach Nieuween@stlukes.org 712-279-1842 www.stlukes.org
Sioux City, IA -Have you ever gotten discouraged in your journey to lose weight? Or, have you ever started an exercise program and became discouraged when your success or weight loss plateaued? If you can relate to eitherof these scenarios, I encourage you to read on about the FITT method, a researched and proven way to break through your weight loss and wellness plateaus. Now is the time to start your wellness goals for 2013!(Please note: Before you start any exercise program or increase your physical activity level, you should speak if your family physician.)
The four parts of the FITT method are:
- Frequency -- How Often Should I Exercise?
- Intensity -- How Hard Should I Exercise?
- Time -- How Long Should I Exercise?
- Type – What Type Of Exercise Should I Do?
Frequency: How Often Should I Exercise
- It is recommended all American adults get 30+ minutes of moderate intense physical activities (start to sweat and experience an increase in breathing and heart rate) on five days each week (two and a half hours per week).
- If you want to lose weight, slowly work towards 30 to 90 minutes of physical activity 5 or more days each week. It is recommended children get 60+ minutes daily.
- Increase your activities of daily living by walking, using the stairs at work and at home or doing chores around the house throughout the day.
- It’s also recommended to break up or limit sitting activities with activity bursts for three to five minutes throughout your day; this will help your energy level and quality of life soar.
Intensity: How Hard Should You Exercise?
- Intensity is the most important item to tweak to breakthrough your weight loss and fitness plateaus (think of “The Biggest Loser”).
- There are four zones of intensity:
- Zone P=Pain—Represents too much intensity. If you experience pain, you should reduce your intensity or stop exercising. If you are experiencing any pain with exercise or physical activity, you should speak with your doctor about being referred to a physical therapist.
- Zone D=Discomfort—Exercising in this zone is ideal. You must recognize and find your own discomfort zone level for each exercise you do.
- Zone C=Comfort—Represents too little intensity and will not be challenging. However this is the best zone to start with for those who are new to exercise to reduce risks for injury.
- Zone R=Rest/Sleep—Represents minimal movement and is essential for the body to recover (for adults, seven or eight hours per day is ideal for recovery and restoration of your body and mind).
(Source: Smart Exercise—Think Quality, not Quantity Dec 06 Human Performance Institute)
Time: How Long Should You Exercise?
- Physical activity guidelines state you should exercise 30 minutes, five days each week. You may have two or three bouts of 10 to 15 minute activities to reach your 30 minutes per day and work up to 45 to 90 minutes based on your goals.
- If you have been sedentary or inactive, start with five to 10 minutes and slowly work your way up to 30+ minutes daily.
- Morning is the optimal time to exercise as people seem to stay committed over the long term better (less demands to change your schedule).
- After work, your body is warmed up and this is an ideal time for exercise, however, we all have more schedule demands from our children, community, etc, and this may be more difficult to stay consistent with this schedule.
- Any time that works into your life and daily schedule is the key
Type: What Type of Exercise Should You Do?
You must choose an activity you enjoy. Variety is a must to break you through your workout and weight loss plateaus. Plus, it’ll make exercising more fun! Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your Current fitness level?
- What are your SMART goals and motivation for exercising?
- What barriers, beliefs, or roadblocks do you have to overcome
- What do you enjoy doing and have access to?
Walking may be the best place to start. Use a pedometer, good shoes with arch supports and ask a friend to go along for moral support! You can also speak with a physical therapist from St. Luke’s, personal trainer from Four Seasons or the YMCA, or exercise physiologist for tips to get you started for LIFE!
A recommended next step is to sign up today for the Live Healthy Siouxland 100 day wellness challenge at www.livehealthysiouxland.org, which begins on Monday, January 28th.
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