Hopefully you’ve been following our regular ‘Why Your Workout Isn’t Working’ feature and trying to apply some of my tips to get the most out of your time spent exercising. If you’re doing everything right you should be starting to see some results. So let’s assume you’ve set great goals, have chosen the right ways to exercise and you’ve been really consistent. Yet you still haven’t seen or felt a lot of improvement. What could be going wrong? Here’s a thought… are you training with enough INTENSITY?
Intensity, or how hard you push yourself, is key to achieving great results. It’s not enough to be at the gym 5 days a week if you’re practically sleeping while you’re there or moving at a snails pace. Think about it next time you’re at your local gym – how many people do you see really challenging themselves, or pushing themselves to be stronger? Compare that with the number of people you see strolling on the treadmill reading a magazine, or hanging out in the corner chatting it up. Do you see my point? I’ve frequented the same gyms for the last twenty years and pop in occasionally at various locations for a nostalgic workout. It amazes me that I still see some of the same people exercising from 5, 10, even 15 years ago that are more out of shape and overweight now than when I last saw them, even though they workout regularly and have trainers.
I view intensity as a measure of your own personal output of strength, energy level, focus and concentration as you perform various exercises. The higher the level of intensity, I believe the more efficient your workout becomes and the sooner results become noticeable. Everyone has his or her own unique level of intensity, as what is hard or challenging for you may not necessarily be so for a friend. And you know when you’re busting it – and when you’re slacking off.
Exercise selection once again creeps in here as certain forms of exercise are more calming, while others are inherently more intense. Obviously classes structured around a Boot Camp format will be more intense then say Pilates and Yoga. Now don’t get your yoga matts in a bunch, I’m not saying those classes are easy or are not productive, I’m merely speaking of the different levels of energy and strength each require.
I’m also not saying that you need to bleed and crawl out of the gym after every workout. Remember your body will reflect what you do on a consistent, regular basis. And it’s also good to have varying days of effort, as putting out 100% all the time can actually hinder performance. But that doesn’t mean slacking off and just exercising your mouth. It means working a bit easier, perhaps maybe with less challenging exercises one day, and then the next workout putting out much more effort and stimulating the body to change and become better.
Lets cut to the chase now shall we? Everyone knows when they’re working hard and when they’re not. As I’ve said before if you can read and exercise, chances are it’s not even remotely hard enough. If you don’t break a sweat, or if you don’t feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish, in my opinion something is wrong. After a workout you should feel like you’ve just done something incredible, something that makes you feel great, and is productive to a healthy, fit life. Remember those people in your gym, the ones standing around, or the ones that don’t make any progress at all? Don’t be one of them.
Do you agree? How did you get your results? Do you have a different opinion? I’d love to hear it. Drop me a line or leave a comment. And get working people!