Fitness Principles Rules to Live By

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This article was edited and updated on December 18, 2021.

Participants Need to Know the Principles

A fitness instructor should be able to tell you what their principles of fitness are. A participant who understands the principles can use them to plan their personal goals and track their progress, as well as choose the right class and the right instructor.

The Four Basic Components of Exercise

What does it mean to be fit?

Being physically fit means you can:

Keep in mind that fitness is different for every single person. Body weight and body composition will vary, but fitness is not about body weight. One of the keys is endurance and strength. If you can maintain a high level of energy during fitness class, you are probably fit, no matter what it says on the bathroom scale.

Commitment comes Before Attendance

Hopefully, you have already made a commitment to exercise when you pass through the door to fitness class. Before you arrive, you should be sure that you are either in good health or are aware of any health conditions which you need to monitor.

Here are some issues that you should see your doctor about before you come to fitness class:

Patience is important. You will not see miracle changes in days, weeks, or even months. If your goal is to be healthy and fit, then you may not see any difference in the mirror, but you may feel differences inside: more energy, better breathing capacity, better balance.

Consistency in attending is also key. Attending only a few times, without doing other activities during your “off” days will not help you to see changes in the near future, if ever.

If you have any concerns, talk to your instructor or see your doctor. (See also Fitness Class Benefits and Fitness Instructors: What do they Know)

How do I know what's right for me?

The answer depends a lot on your goals. But other factors are involved, too: your current fitness level, your age and health, what skills you already have, your interest in attending regularly, how convenient classes or fitness equipment are located to you. If you find a fitness class that includes the four basic fitness components, then you can adapt the activities to fit your needs.

Here are the keys to your success, once you’ve picked the activities you will do:

A common question: Can I lose weight if I exercise?

It sounds simple: burn more calories than you eat, and you will lose weight. But there are other factors: hormones, metabolism, genetics. There is no simple answer, and I will never suggest to anyone that attendance at fitness class will always help you lose weight. There is more involved than "calories in, calories out."

Of more importance than body weight is body composition. We are made up of tissue types, including muscle, bone, and organs (which are metabolically active) and fat (which is not). When we weigh ourselves, we know what our total weight is, but we don’t know what our lean-to-fat ratio is. Therefore, we need to know our body composition.

This can be measured in a number of ways. You can find websites which make it easy for you to measure body fat, body mass index (BMI) and lean-to-fat ratio. Just type into your search engine what you are looking for and you will no doubt find suggested calculators and charts.

See also:

I am a BCRPA-certified fitness instructor in Vancouver, BC. I teach four classes at the West End Community Centre in Vancouver, BC, mostly designed for the older adult. The Inevitable Disclaimer: Everything published here expresses only my opinion, based on my training and research. What you do with the information is entirely your own responsibility. I am not liable for any injury you suffer that seems to be related to anything you read here. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. For other articles, return to the table of contents.

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