The Benefits of Intense Workouts
Honestly, intensity is one of the biggest topics I discuss with clients when it comes to what’s missing in their workouts. I find that so many people are just “going through the motions” during daily workouts. What happens for many is that they simply get used to their routine. It’s easy to get complacent and not think about what you’re actually doing. Unfortunately, this leads to a lack of intensity and a lack of results.
Working out intensely requires you to work hard. It requires you to give 100% of your energy to generate power. It requires you to dig a little deeper and find that inner strength to push yourself hard. While it might seem daunting… the results are worth it.
Exercising intensely has many positives including physical and mental benefits. From getting stronger and leaner to producing feel good endorphins, exercising intensely produces rewards well beyond the actual workout. We use intense exercise in some of the workouts at our fitness retreat so guests can experience a wide range of fitness activities. Plus, they can learn what intensity really means and incorporate it at home if need be. One of the benefits of HIIT workouts is that because they are so intense, you can get the same benefit out of a 20 minute workout that might normally take you 40 or 45. More bang for you buck — a win win!
In this blog pose, we’ll cover the benefits of intensity, how to know if you’re lacking intensity in your workouts and which workouts would be a good option to add in to get that element of hard work in your fitness regimen.
Builds Strength - Strength gains mean a stronger body which is so important for the activities of daily living - not just for working out.
Better Posture - Strength can help improve posture allowing you to enjoy the benefits of a balanced body. As you workout and build strength, your musculature will start to adjust bringing you into a better balanced state.
Weight Loss - This goes back to energy in versus energy out. Weight loss isn’t always that simple for everyone as there are other factors that sometimes need to be considered but exercising intensely can provide that calorie burning boost you need to shed a few pounds.
Muscle and Bone Density - Muscle is great for strength and a better metabolism. Muscle burns more calories per hour than fat so adding a few pounds of muscle can have a positive impact on your metabolism. Plus, weight bearing and intense exercise help build bone density. According to healthline.com, “Interestingly, high-impact exercise, such as gymnastics or running, or odd-impact sports, such as soccer and basketball, have been shown to promote a higher bone density than non-impact sports like swimming and cycling.”
Calorie Burn During The Workout - This is kind of a no brainer. Working out hard is definitely going to burn more calories during the workout. While it’s not always all about calorie burn, it definitely helps in weight loss and weight maintenance.
Post Exercise Calorie Burn - When you workout intensely, you body has what we call EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption) or the “after burn”. The after burn is an elevated metabolism stimulated by intensity. Your metabolism will run at a higher rate for a period of time even after the workout is over.
Energy Boost - If you’re working out hard enough, you can get an energy boost. Reduced feelings of fatigue have been shown with regular exercise on a weekly basis. In addition, exercise can significantly increase energy levels for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other serious illnesses.
Better Endurance - Even though a lot of intense workouts are performed in short bursts, it can still boost your cardiovascular health and therefore give you better endurance. Plus, you’ll be in better shape in general which will help your body perform at a higher level no matter what kind of workout or activity you’re doing.
More Power - With high intensity comes short bursts of energy that help develop your muscle tissues and your cardiovascular system to be able to generate more power in a short period of time. Think sprinting, batting, swinging and having to move in different directions very quickly. You have to train similarly to be able to perform these powerful movements.
Core Strength - Your powerhouse is your core. Your core is the center of your body which houses your vital organs and supports your entire body. Think of your core as the command center for your posture and strength. A strong core not only protects your vital organs but also helps build strength and balance throughout the rest of your body.
Balance and Stability - Intense exercise like running sprints, jumping and pushing and pulling will have your body moving in different directions and different ways. This type of training builds the mind body connection which helps your brain tell your body how to move. This process builds better balance, coordination and proprioception.
It Can Make You Happier - Exercise produces endorphins which make you feel good. You know that exercise “high” that you feel after working out intensely? That feeling is a result of endorphins. These feel good chemicals not only help you feel happy but help regulate stress and anxiety.
Glowing Skin - Yes! Exercise can help fight against oxidative stress which can help the body’s ability to produce natural antioxidants which help protect cells.
How To Know If You’re Not Working Out Intensely
I was talking to one of our wellness retreat guests who wasn’t sure how to identify if she was working hard enough. She doesn’t have a lot of experience with working out so I thought there must be other people out there who are confused as well. I thought these tips might help clear things up for some of you to determine if you’re missing intensity.
You aren’t getting your heart rate up
You probably aren’t breathing heavy
You’re muscles don’t feel fatigued
Your heart and lungs don’t feel challenged
You’re not sure which muscles you’re using
You just lifted some weights and it wasn’t hard at all
On a scale of 1 - 10 (1 meaning you’re not working hard and 10 meaning you couldn’t work any harder), you aren’t sure where you’re at or you’re only working at a 1, 2, 3 or 4
You only do things like easy walking, gliding gently on the elliptical, jogging at a moderate pace (but nothing too fast)
You never feel like you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone
Example of Intense Workouts
In case you’re not sure where to start, here are some examples of intense workouts that you might be able to find in your local area. We also use many of these workouts our fitness retreat to expose you to different types of intense activity. That way, you can find out what you like and add it in when you return home.
Boot Camp Classes
Spinning (most formats include at least some high intensity intervals)
Sports Conditioning (drill work)
There are also many moves you can do on your own to workout intensely like add in some sprints while you run, do jump squats instead of regular squats, add more weight to your strength workout, change the format of your body weight workout to produce a muscle burn. The options are endless!
If you’re not sure where to start, we can help. We also offer personal training and movement services to help you reach your fitness goals. We can also offer Skype training if you’re not at the retreat or local to the Delray Beach area.
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