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    What Is the FITT Principle and How Can You Benefit from It?

    We recommend you to pay attention to the FITT principle if you are looking for methods to increase the effectiveness of your workouts. Learn what does FITT stand for and what are its benefits together with Flo.


    What Is the FITT Principle and How Can You Benefit from It?

    IN THIS ARTICLE What is FITT? The FITT formula How to use it Benefits

    Are you ready to take your workouts to the next level? Or do you simply want to begin incorporating exercise into your daily routine? Then consider using the FITT principle.

    What does FITT stand for? 

    The acronym FITT stands for frequency, intensity, time, and type. It describes the various factors that determine what kind of impact physical activity will have on your body. These four factors do not stand alone but are closely connected and interdependent. Let’s delve a little deeper into each component and how it relates to your fitness regimen.

    The FITT formula

    Regardless of your experience level, FITT helps ensure that your body reaps the full benefits of regular workouts. By the same token, it protects you from eventual exercise burnout. But what exactly is the FITT formula?


    If you think of a calendar week as your workout period, then your frequency would be the number of times you exercise per week. Frequency should always be determined by the type of activity you’re engaging in. In the case of strength and resistance training, for example, it’s recommended that you allow at least one day for recovery between sessions. Therefore, your frequency of exercise per week will be lower.


    The degree of intensity is based on the amount of work you have to put in. When you’re doing cardio, such as jogging, intensity is determined by the speed and distance of your running. When you’re strength training, it’s the number of weight lifting reps you end up completing.

    The intensity with which you approach your workout also depends on your current level of fitness and on how often you hit the gym. It’s wise to do high-intensity training fewer times a week, allowing longer rest periods than you would with low-intensity training.


    The length of time you spend exercising is directly impacted by the other three components of the FITT model. Cardio routines, for instance, are almost always longer than weight lifting routines. Similarly, high-intensity workouts should be shorter than low-intensity workouts. And lastly, you can exercise more frequently by doing shorter sessions, or vice versa.


    The type of physical activity you choose lies at the heart of the FITT principle. All other aspects of the model revolve around it. Generally speaking, cardio and resistance training are the two most common types of exercise.

    The former includes running, swimming, bike riding, and hiking. Meanwhile, the latter includes weight lifting, pull-ups, push-ups, and sit-ups. Depending on your desired goals and outcome, you can mix and match the above, as needed.

    How to use the FITT formula 

    FITT can be applied to any workout routine you have in mind. To demonstrate, let’s pretend that you’ve been overdoing it on sugary foods lately, and you’re trying to shed a few pounds. Instead of skipping meals, however, you’d rather exercise the weight off, according to the FITT model.

    Frequency: To burn up all those extra calories, you’ll want to train as often as possible, but without over-exhausting yourself. On average, your frequency should be three to four times a week. Note that it’s unhealthy to lose more than one to two pounds in a seven-day period.Intensity: A moderate- to high-intensity workout is good for eliminating excess fat. Your selected activity should be one that drives up your heart rate to a point where it’s more than half of your maximum heart rate. Stay hydrated both during and after to replace any fluids lost from sweating.Time: The time you spend exercising will, of course, depend on your individual fitness level. The longer you work out, the more calories and fat you’ll burn off. But be sure to pay close attention to your body since it’ll always let you know when it’s ready to throw in the towel.Type: The most effective weight loss techniques tend to be cardio-based. Opt for activities such as running, swimming, or bike riding. If you’re also looking to tone and sculpt your muscles, you can add in a few resistance exercises to your cardio routine.

    Your trainer will likely recommend that you follow certain dietary restrictions to guarantee the best results. It’s also a good idea to stay away from sodas and fizzy drinks to quench your post-workout thirst.

    The benefits of using FITT 

    There’s a dizzying array of exercise tips available online, but chances are that most won’t even apply to you. With the FITT model, however, you can lose weight, maintain fitness, and increase endurance as well as tone your muscles.

    When properly applied, FITT actually enables you to push your limits just enough to make progress without harming your body. It also decreases your likelihood of developing conditions like hypertension, obesity, or diabetes.

    Furthermore, exercise encourages your body to release endorphins, which offer pain relief. During your period, it can alleviate cramps, bloating, and other symptoms you might be experiencing. Cardio workouts are particularly effective in these situations.

    Overall, the FITT model allows you to meet your goals by adapting to your body’s unique needs, producing short- and long-term benefits in the process.

    Source : flo.health

    The 3 Principles of Training: Overload, Specificity & Progression

    There are three main principles of fitness training: overload, specificity, and progression. Discover why the principles of training are important...

    Lifestyle Courses / Course / Chapter

    The 3 Principles of Training: Overload, Specificity & Progression

    Instructor Donna Ricketts View bio Expert Contributor Joseph Shinn View bio

    There are three main principles of fitness training: overload, specificity, and progression. Discover why the principles of training are important and how to apply each one to a fitness regimen. Updated: 11/06/2021

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    Principles of Training

    A cyclist named John comes to you, a personal trainer, with two fitness goals: to improve his leg strength and to become a better climber on the hills when he is out on the road. He says he has been doing the same workout - circuit training with light weights and high repetitions ('reps') - but his legs aren't getting stronger and his climbing hasn't improved.

    The best fitness training programs are built on three principles: overload, progression, and specificity. By using these principles, you can design an exercise program that improves performance, skill, ability, and physical fitness. Let's take a deeper look at each principle as you create a better training program for John.

    Quiz Course 221K views


    You tell John that if he wants to develop strength in his legs, he must focus on the principle of overload, which means that he must work his body, in particular his legs, with a greater workload than normal.

    John's body is used to his workout of light weights and high reps. If he wants to develop strength in his legs, he must increase his weights and workload to an intensity that enables him to only be able to complete three sets of eight reps. Exercises such as leg presses, leg curls, and squats are examples of exercises that can be used with overload to improve John's leg strength.


    As John's fitness level improves and his workouts become easier, he will need to make more adjustments to his leg routine. The principle of progression says that he must progressively or gradually increase the workload for improvement to continue. Now that John's legs have adapted to his new workout, he must use the overload principle once again to progress to a new level of fitness. He might add more weight, increase the number of reps, lengthen the amount of time he does the workout, or try more difficult exercises.

    Both progression and overload can be achieved by using the FITT approach to guide your changes.

    Frequency - how often you train (once or twice per week)

    Intensity - how hard you train (workload, high or low intensity)

    Time - how long you train (20 min or an hour)

    Type - the kind of training you do (circuit training or cardio)

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    Additional Activities

    Additional Questions

    For each of the examples below, determine if training via overload, specificity, and/or progression is being used (HINT: Your answer may include more than one of the principles). In giving your answer, be sure to explain why you believe that type(s) of training is(are) being applied.

    You want to improve your upper body strength through push-ups. Your goal is to be able to do 100 straight push-ups, but you can't achieve this goal yet. In order to accomplish this goal, you decide to start with 15 push-ups today and increase the number you want by one (and only one) each day for the next 85 days.

    As part of your physical therapy after breaking your right leg, you do strength training on only your right leg to build the muscle back up to the level that your left leg is currently at.

    You decide that you want to run a marathon, so you start a marathon training program. You are not currently able to run 26.2 miles (the length of a marathon) yet, so you slowly start to build up the number of miles you can run each week.

    You want to learn wrestling, so you join a wrestling team.

    As you get stronger, you continue to increase the weight that you attempt to lift.

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    Praxis Physical Education: Content Knowledge (5091): Practice & Study Guide

    27 chapters | 240 lessons | 22 flashcard sets

    Ch 1. Introduction to Physical Education

    What is Physical Education? - Definition & Overview

    3:50 The NASPE Standards 3:46

    Health-Related & Skill-Related Physical Fitness


    The Benefits of Regular Physical Activity: Mental Health, Stress & Life Span


    Lifestyle Choices and Personal Wellness: Decisions, Behavior & Prevention


    Components of Exercise Programs: Aerobics, Strength Training & Stretching


    The 3 Principles of Training: Overload, Specificity & Progression

    4:05 4:29 Next Lesson

    Exercise Physiology: Definition & Goals

    The Teacher's Role in Elementary & Secondary Physical Education

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    Understanding and Using the Overload Principle

    Do you understand the overload principle well enough to plan the most effective programs for your clients? We’ve got you covered in this latest post about progressing safely and maximizing training gains.

    Training Tips / Audio Blogs

    Understanding and Using the Overload Principle

    Reading Time: 6 minutes 10 seconds

    BY: ISSA DATE: 2022-04-07

    The overload principle is a deceptively simple concept. To make fitness gains you have to overload the body progressively. Lift heavier weights, run longer, workout more days a week, and so on in order to provide enough stress that the body will adapt and get stronger, faster, and more powerful.

    As a trainer you surely know what the overload principle is, but do you really understand it? Enough to plan the best program for each client? We’ll run through the basics of overload and provide some important tips for progressively and safely overloading your clients until they hit their goals.

    What is the Overload Principle?

    The overload principle is one of the seven big laws of fitness and training. Simply put, it says that you have to increase the intensity, duration, type, or time of a workout progressively in order to see adaptations. The adaptations are improvements in endurance, strength, or muscle size.

    In other words, when a client first starts working out, from having been previously mostly sedentary, they will see some quick gains. But, as they get fitter, you will need to increase the intensity of their training to continue to see those gains. If they continue lifting the same weights for the same number of sets and reps, week after week, the body will have adjusted to the stress, there will be no more adaptations and they will plateau.

    Issues with the Overload Principle

    Overloading is necessary to make gains in fitness and athletic performance. However, there are some important issues associated with this principle, both what can happen if you don’t do it at all and if you don’t do it right.

    Hitting a Plateau while Ignoring the Overload Principle

    The obvious issue with ignoring the overload principle is the failure to make gains. If you continue to do the same workout or train at the same intensity and frequency, you will make gains only to a certain point. After that you are not overloading the muscles and hit a plateau with no further improvements or adaptations.

    This happens because our bodies are very good at adapting to stress. Initially for your newbie client, that five-pound weight provides a good amount of stress. The client gets stronger quickly. But over time, the level of stress needed in order to make new adaptations rises so high the five-pound weights just don’t cut it.

    Overreaching and Overtraining Stress

    On the other hand, if you use the overload principle in the wrong way, say by increasing intensity too quickly, you get into a state of overreaching or overtraining. Overreaching is a short-term problem, a decrease in physical performance that takes days to overcome.

    Overtraining is a more sustained period of excessive training stress. It can take weeks to months to recover from this state of decreased performance. Some signs of overtraining you should watch out for include:

    Increased resting heart rate.

    Increased blood pressure.

    Loss of appetite and weight loss.

    Difficulty sleeping.

    Emotional changes or mood swings.


    Chronic muscle soreness.

    Extended recovery times.

    Strategies for Overloading

    There are several ways you can make sure your client is overloading and not hitting a plateau. Essentially these strategies all involve increasing some factor of a workout. You can increase one, two, or more in a way that makes sense for your client’s goals. These different factors together make up what is known as the FITT principle:

    Frequency. Frequency is the number of times your client works out, usually measured per week. Increasing frequency could mean going from one to two lifting sessions per week, for instance.Intensity. This is how hard your client is working during a training session. For strength training you can increase intensity by using progressively heavier weights. In aerobic activities, measuring heart rate is a good way to monitor increasing intensity.Time. The time spent doing a particular exercise, like lifting or running, can be increased to progress and overload.Type. Type refers to the actual, specific exercise your client is doing. You can vary the exact type of strength exercises, for instance, to overload a particular muscle or muscle group. For instance, add leg presses to squats to overload leg muscles.

    It’s important to vary the factors that you change for your client. For instance, one day you may focus on increasing intensity by using heavier weights. In the next session try to focus on another strategy, like increasing the time spent on weights.

    For aerobic adaptations, for instance for a client who is a runner, work on intensity one day, using heart rate or interval training, and increase time with a long slow run on another day in the same week. Mixing up how you overload the body can help to minimize the risk of hitting a plateau on gains.

    Rules for Safe and Gradual Overloading

    Overloading should always be progressive and gradual. Increasing intensity, reps, frequency, and other elements of training too quickly is dangerous. It can cause injuries, lead to muscle soreness, and of course cause overtraining. Follow these guidelines when planning overload for your clients to keep it safe and progressive:

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