Intensity – OK!!!
THIS IS A BIG ONE!!!
Turn the TV off and engage your brain. Focus on what you’re about to read!
I see LOADSSSS of people in the gym, fitness classes, bootcamps etc who are working out with minimal intensity. It’s just not conducive to adaptions and progressions. If you want to lose weight, preserve or grow muscle mass, get stronger, get fitter, get leaner etc etc you HAVE to actually work for it. That means, placing your muscles under enough tension, elevating your heart rate and pushing your body.
(THE GIRL CAMP)
WHO THE HELLLLL invented 1 kilo dumbbells!!! WHO WHO WHO! 1 kilo! 1 FUKIN kilo! What the hell is that guna do? What’s more….why are people (girls) using them!!! You get all your latest lulu lemon fitness gear on, trek to the gym, and bust out 1000000 million bicep curls using the 1 KG dumbbell. Or even worse 3 sets 10. HAAAA! What body adaptions are you guna get from that!!! Then you come home and the glass of water (or bottle of wine) you’re having with dinner weighs more than the weights you were lifting in the gym!!! GET OUT!!!
You do know lifting lighter weights with more reps does NOT create muscle tone right??? Muscle tone comes from presence of muscle….in order to create muscle it has to be placed under tension. 1 kilo does not place adequate tension on a muscle to stimulate it…and neither does 3 kilos come to that!!!
Weights are designed for a reason and the name is kind of a give away. Weight. WEIGHT. WEIGHTTTTTTT!!!
(THE BOY CAMP)
On the other side of the spectrum we have the dudes who strut into the gym with their weight belt and gloves on, pile the weights onto the barbell and lift with DISGUSTING form, Minimal range of motion resulting in barely any muscle fibre recruitment. Just mass stress on joints and ligaments with a curved back. GOOD ONE!!!
One of the biggest problems with intensity is defining it! It’s not easy to put into words what intensity actually is.
It’s very easy to determine who understands training intensity and who doesn’t when evaluating clients during a workout. The good news is…you can learn to increase your intensity and increase the efficiency of your workouts.
Anyone who have ever trained or done a class with me will have heard me say “exhale as you lift” I say it allll the time. The truth is…if your training with proper intensity exhaling will be a natural occurrence. Especially as you get towards the end of your set. You breathe out as your exert with all your effort. Ever heard those dudes letting out a huge grunt as they lift a weight…they’re not doing it for fun. They’re exerting!
One of the big problems in the “girl camp” is that so many of them are scared to lift weights that are too heavy because they fear “bulking”
I don’t want to go on about this now…..if you’re a girl and you think you’re going to get bulky from lifting heavy weights then I GIVE UP!!!….Read my article “The Bulky Myth”
If you’re hitting the gym to do a resistance session and lifting a load of light weights for an hour then you’re not training with intensity and nor are you creating muscle tone.
It’s important to remember that muscle tone is a result of presence of muscle and having a low enough body fat percentage to allow that muscle to show through. In order to grow muscle, tension must be placed on them with progressive over load over a time period whilst consuming more calories than you expending. If you’re eating in a calorie deficit you won’t grow muscle, you will only help to preserve it. That’s a huge reason why resistance training is so optimal when dieting. If you lost all your weight with cardio then you’re going to look much softer (less lean) as your existing muscle tissue will have been used as an energy source.
TOP FACT: You can’t go on a diet (eat in a calorie deficit) and lose only body fat. Your body is going to eat muscle tissue as well!!! Yes it sucks..but that’s the reality. I’m still working on a pill that causes your body to only burn fat…once I perfect it I’ll probably be the richest person on Earth.
Studies have shown that beginner weight lifters only recruit around 10% of motor units within a muscle when lifting weights. Elite lifters can recruit up to 80% of motor units.
That means you can have 2 people doing the same weight, same reps, same exercise. One of them could be totally exhausted and the other barely breaking a sweat by the end of a few sets.
The exhausted candidate understands intensity. They focused on the muscle group whilst it was working and squeeezed it helping to stimulate maximal muscle fibres. They may have had more time under tension. When performing a lift the amount of time your muscle spends under tension plays a big part on exertion. Rapidly pumping out a set of 10 isn’t optimal and it also probably means the weight is too light as well. Those last few reps should require some serious effort and it will probably mean your rep speed will slow down. For that last rep you’ll probably need to pause for a few moments, set your set self up and explode with effffffort to get it done. This often referred to as lifting to failure or near failure.
If you’re reading this knowing your last rep is pretty much just as easy as your first rep in a set then….you’re just not doing it optimally and you ain’t guna see the results you want. Even if that last rep is marginally difficult..again…not enough.
The last point I want to touch on in regards to intensity is your attitude. Your mind! Yes your body is physically doing the work but your mindset is hugely important as well. Again…anyone who has trained with me will have heard me say things like “BE HUNGRY FOR THOSE LAST REPS” or “LIFT IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT”. Personally, when I workout I’m there to OWN IT! My mindset is all or nothing. I strut between exercises. I’m hungry. I grunt when I lift. I shout when I’ve completed a set. I know that I train with intensity! I make sure I achieve full range of motion and I keep tension on my muscles. I squeeze hard and feel the burn and fatigue and I try hard to push through it. My face contorts with effort. I’m in the ZONE!
These are all signs of good training intensity.
Have a think about how hard you’re realllllly pushing yourself when you train.
P.S I just googled women weight lifting weights for a pic to go with this article and literally 99% of them show women lifting with either tiny weights or without showing any sign of exertion or intensity. Most of these pics come big fitness media outlet magazines etc. IS THERE ANY HOPE!!!