2012 Countdown Day 5: Intensity And Rest
The New Year is almost upon us so today I’m sharing my final post to help you stick with your 2012 health and fitness resolutions.
I’m hoping you apply some of my tips to get the most out of your time spent exercising. If you follow them you should see results soon after starting your program. So let’s assume you’ve set attainable goals, have chosen the right ways to exercise and you’ve been really consistent. The last part of the fitness recipe is INTENSITY and REST.
Your workout intensity, or how hard you push yourself, is key to achieving great results. I’m sorry, but it’s not enough to be at the gym 5 days a week if you’re practically moving at a snails pace. Next time you’re at your local gym look around at how many you see really challenging themselves. I’m guessing you’ll see many more people strolling on the treadmill reading a magazine, or hanging out in the corner chatting it up. It amazes me that over the years I’ve seen the same people exercising and yet they’re now MORE overweight even though they workout regularly and have personal trainers!
To me Intensity is 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, the more efficient your workout becomes and the sooner results will become noticeable. Everyone has his or her own unique level of intensity, so don’t be concerned with what the person next to you is doing, be focused on what you’re doing. You KNOW when you’re slacking off!
I’m 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 your performance. That’s where the importance of rest comes in to play. But that doesn’t mean slacking off completely either, it means working a bit easier, perhaps maybe with less challenging exercises or classes one day, and then the next workout putting in more effort and stimulating the body to change.
Sometimes people go too far the other way, and exercise too hard, for too long with no rest days. You must remember that rest is as important to the your fitness and health as the actual workout. When you rest, your body heals, recuperates and grows stronger. If you’re always working out, that can’t happen. I generally try to workout no more than 5 days per week, and never more than two days in a row before a complete day off. I find that when I’m totally rested I perform much better in the gym. In fact sometimes I’ll take two days off to really get recharged.
It’s also important to remember that it’s not just your muscles and body that need rest, but your brain and nervous system as well. I know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes less exercise is more productive. As long as you workout with intensity that is!
Lets be totally honest – everyone knows when they’re working hard and when they’re not. As I’ve said before if you can read and exercise at the same time, chances are you’re not working out 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.
Here’s to you reaching your goals in 2012!
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