S.M.A.R.T and F.I.T.T. principles for setting fitness goals

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Setting exercise goals along with planning, are extremely important components to help achieve success and ensure your goals/resolutions stick and you see them through to the end. The following fitness acronyms are commonly used as an effective tool to plan: S.M.A.R.T & F.I.T.T.

Using the S.M.A.R.T and F.I.T.T. principles are very helpful in defining clear goals and creating a definitive plan of action:

The components of a complete physical fitness program should include muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility training.  Fitness and exercise planning is important and when planning any exercise program and you should always devise very specific goals and a clear plan of action in order to achieve your desired outcome. 

The SMART principle is an acronym commonly used in outlining and planning your goals.  

S – Your goal must be SPECIFIC.  For example, “I want to get stronger” is a great goal but it’s not specific. “I want to get stronger and be able to do 5 consecutive pull-ups” is specific. Outline what you will do to work towards achieving your goal. The more specific you can be, the better your chances of progress and success.  

M – You need to have a way of MEASURING the goal. Outline a measurable means of tracking your progress. An example would be to take measurements, have a photo of your ideal body featuring your weight loss goal,  take before pics and update and compare them regularly, have your body fat composition assessed, etc. 

A – Your goal should be ATTAINABLE. If you’re not exercising and your goal is to run a marathon in a month, that is likely not an attainable goal. 

R – The goal must be REALISTIC. If you’re not able to perform any pull-ups, to have a goal of doing 25 in a month’s time is not very realistic. Break it down into steps and stages.  

T – Set a TIMELINE. It’s important to set short timelines along the way to achieve the big picture/goal you want. Setting a timeline that is too far off can cause motivation to diminish. Weekly timelines work best in the beginning of your fitness journey. 

FITT principle  refers to FREQUENCY, INTENSITY, TIME and TYPE

How often will you exercise throughout your week? Determine which days ahead of time and follow through.

How hard will you work? Become familiar with The Perceived Rate of Exertion scale and know your Target Heart Rate Zone and don't exceed your maximum. With strength training, determine your rep range target. The end of your rep range should produce fatigue and failure. 

How long will your exercise session be? 

What type of fitness activity will you perform?

Follow these fundamental, foundational exercise principles to achieve results and change them frequently (every 4 weeks or so) to avoid the body adapting (plateau), overuse injuries, and boredom.

Commitment, consistency, planning, persistence and perseverance are vital components for success!

Susan Arruda