Saturday, February 5, 2011

INTENSITY


How would you rate the intensity of your last workout, scale of 1-10? If your answer isn’t at least an 8, something needs a kick-start! To achieve tangible results from your workout, simply going through the motions will not cut it. Sure, your trainer or homework program can give you effective exercise combinations, suggested poundage, and tips & tricks to maximize the efficacy of your workout. We as trainers are here to motivate you, and do our best to see that you are working hard and keeping safe. However, at the end of the day, the effort you put forth in the gym and in the kitchen are what will change your body and make you stronger, leaner, faster, etc…
So, what is intensity, exactly? Intensity to some people is yelling catch phrases in between grunts and heaving too heavy a weight around until they drop it, but that’s not what we are after here. What I am talking about is a quiet mental battle that goes on inside of you while you train. I am talking about extreme focus on the task at hand and the determination to stop at nothing to put every last drop of effort into your workout. This involves pushing past previous barriers, whether they be mental or physical, and being in tune with ones body. When lifting a weight, you need to focus on the muscles involved in completing the lift. Arbitrarily pushing or pulling without focusing on the muscles being trained can only get you so far. There comes a point when you should to be able to connect with the muscles you are training and willfully contract and squeeze them. That focus will allow you to really engage every muscle fiber available and help you to force an adaptation in your body (read: make the muscle grow and get stronger). That’s what training is all about.
Beyond the connection with the body itself, intense training requires that you develop some serious intestinal fortitude. That can be both a literal and figurative statement (since prowler season will soon be upon us and those lacking a strong stomach will not be happy campers) but I am focused on the figurative. I’m telling you that you need to have the guts to push yourself harder than you thought you ever would. Before you even begin to exercise, you should be mentally prepared to push, pull, jump, run or whatever is in order for the day, as hard as you can, and then a little harder. The human body is an amazing thing. It is capable of doing much more than we give it credit for sometimes, and it adapts very quickly to stimuli. What does that mean for us? It means that doing the same 12 reps with the 12 lb dumbbells and staying in our comfort zone just isn’t going to be effective. If the body can handle a weight or # of reps easily, it has no reason to adapt and change for the better. It is only when we push the boundaries of what the body can do that we force a change. Did 12 reps feel easy last time? Well maybe it’s time to add weight, or reps, or change exercises entirely to something more difficult. The point is to outwork yourself, and your own preconceived mental barriers; and that takes intensity. To pick up a weight that you are a little afraid of, do some reps, and then take a very quick look into your soul and decide that you can indeed do more takes some guts. However, at the end of it, knowing that accomplished more than you thought you could is what makes for real progress.So, the next time you train, will you settle for “good enough?” Or will you push out of your comfort zone, get a little intense, and tell yourself “I CAN do more?” When your thighs are on fire from squats and your arms feel like rubber from all those presses, and you think there is nothing left in the tank, look inside for some intensity and achieve something great

3 comments:

  1. I can relate to this. Well said !!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow whos back is that? where can i get one?chrisfit? sweet article steve decker.

    ReplyDelete