Mastering Intensity: The Key to an Effective Workout

June 27, 2023
2 min read
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When I am programming a new workout routine for a class or a client, deciding on the level of intensity is key.

When we decide on the intensity, we are deciding on the amount of stress we are putting the body under.

The body (and mind) is great at adapting to a certain amount of stress, but if we give it too much, too soon, or for an extended period of time, this is when exhaustion or burnout can occur, so it’s an important one to get right. If we give it too little, then the body has no reason to adapt. ‘We are good as we are’.

When it comes to fitness, there are several ways you can vary intensity.

  1. Volume
  2. Frequency
  3. Load
  4. Speed

To help you understand these concepts, imagine you have a workout of 20 Bodyweight Squats that you do once per week. If you continue like this, your body would fully adapt to the stress of that workout and you would no longer notice any changes, so you need to increase the intensity.

If you wanted to increase the intensity via VOLUME, you could increase the workout to 25 reps.

If you wanted to increase the intensity via FREQUENCY, you could do the workout twice a week instead of once.

If you wanted to increase the intensity via LOAD, you could perform the 20 squats holding a 5kg weight.

If you wanted to increase the intensity via SPEED, you could slow down each squat so that it takes you 5 seconds to perform each rep.

If you have been staying within your ‘comfort zone’ workouts, try adding intensity using one of the methods above, and watch as your progress increases!

Written by Rob - Founder of That Day

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