Hey guys! I’m writing as I’m watching Prison Break online with Mikey. We don’t have a TV for a few reasons, and recently we decided to get into this series…recently as in about a week ago and we’re down about 8 episodes so far! No commercials, no waiting, just click “next.” Kinda fun at the end of a long day (mainly for Mikey), although we’re trying to get outside together in the evenings and not just plunk down on the couch. Last week we we went for 3 evenings runs in our Vibrams and loved the cool air after some (wonderfully) hot days. Watering the garden also helps keep me outside at night, and I’m loving that.
Watering in the “evening” – still so beautiful (and hot) out!
The other day I came across an interesting article from BodyBuilding.com about ways to boost your intensity during your workouts. Since I’ve been trying to incorporate more strength training into my routine and decrease my long runs (after all, I’m not training for anything and I’m looking for more lean muscle definition), the article caught my eye. There’s nothing better than a the feeling after an intense workout – not just an easy run or a quick round of lifting weights, but a workout when you know you really pushed HARD. Reminds of something my friend Janetha tweeted yesterday:
Love that girl.
I wanted to share the 5 ways to boost your intensity from the workout and see what you thought. Keep in mind, this is a food-for-thought type of post, not a do-this-now kind of post, so please read and workout with your discretion as you also strive to be fit in the way your body works best! Here 5 ways to sky-rocket your intensity, whatever your intensity is at whatever level you’re working out at, with a great, quick workout at the bottom:
1. Elevate your intensity each & every workout.
Essentially, you can’t just assume you’re going to workout hard when you step into the gym. It’s a state of mind to decide to go at it with full force and commit to raising your workout intensity. That’s where it all starts!
2. Don’t confuse activity for intensity.
It’s easier than we’d all like to admit to go through the motions in our workouts, isn’t it? Your body gets used to the movements and at some point, your performance plateaus. It’s important to not only shock your system and change your moves every few weeks, but to also push your body in every move. Consistency matters, yes, but you also have to BRING IT, as Tony would say.
3. Don’t confuse training volume with training intensity.
Instead of being sloppy towards the end of your lifting sets, get the job done with clean reps, not lifting more for the sake of lifting. More isn’t always better (and longer isn’t either, for the record). As the article says, “better is better.” So work hard, make your minutes count, and be done with the effort.
4. Limit your weight training sessions to one hour or less.
The truth is, you shouldn’t have to work out for longer than an hour! If you are, you’re not working hard enough to achieve the same benefits. The more I read, the more I discover that less is more (hence my desire to get back on the lifting rather than long-miles-only wagon!) – but only as long as your intensity is high. You shouldn’t be able to keep going after an hour; force yourself to become efficient and to work hard in the time you’ve allotted for your workout. If you use the gym as a social outlet for your day, that’s okay, but know that your results will reflect any long breaks in between sets to chat. I say this knowing that many run long (me too!) and/or have their own set workout plans that they will stand by that often take them over an hour. This is my opinion from all the reading I’ve done and the results I’ve seen in both myself and others; you simply don’t have to workout for hours for incredible results – but it has to be hard.
5. Document your training performance every workout.
I’m not the best at this one…but it’s proven that recording what you’re doing (how much you’re lifting, how long it’s taking, how it’s feeling, how hard you’re working, etc) helps push you to work harder the next time. One thing I am good at is logging how many miles I’m running, but I need to get better at doing that for all my workouts. It’s great to do time challenges or lifting challenges that you can try from time to time (like month to month) and see your progress (or not).
If I documented my workouts as well as my daily life, I’d be golden!
By following these guidelines for strength training sessions, it follows that your physique should improve faster and you’ll train smarter and harder! But enough from me extrapolating on the author’s thoughts; how about a workout?
High Intensity Workout, adapted from MaxWorkouts
After a warmup, perform these moves for 5 rounds with as little breaks as possible, keep your intensity high!
8 Dumbbell Squat Press Ups (hold weights at shoulder height, squat down, core strong, stand and press weights up overhead)
10 Box Jumps (substitute: two-footed jumps up stairs or on a stable chair)
13 Deep TRX Rows (substitute: pull ups, jumping pull ups, bent-over rows w/weights)
Cool down & stretch it out!
What do you think of higher intensity training? When you perform strength training workouts, are you aware of your intensity, or do you lift/pull/swing/jump to simply “get it done?” I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. I’m pumped to stay more focused in my strength training sessions and stay tough for better results!
Remember, being strong is important! Don’t be afraid of working hard and going hard! Your body will see results from strength-bearing activities and your metabolism will be up for longer than a cardio workout. Enjoy the burn, friends, and please share your thoughts…I’d love to hear what you have to say concerning working out and intensities.
Live well & be well!