3 Rules of Intensity When Working Out
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You're tougher than you think. The fear of pain or
injury from working out is a mindset steeped in failure. You must learn to
"find the line." Do the extra rep or two, increase your range of motion, and
increase resistance as you get stronger. Intensity goes hand in hand with
variety and consistency. All three factors work together as a triad that
creates a platform for success. The programs provide variety. Your plan will
keep you consistent.
Intensity is the final ingredient that gives you results. In order for a physiological change to occur, there first needs to be a stimulus. This stimulus comes in the form of an overload. This principle is known as GPO - gradual progressive overload. As you train over time, the overload should be slowly increased. Too much overload too quickly can result in injury. Lack of increased overload over time will result in plateaus. People who plateau often get discouraged and quit.
The three rules of intensity
1. Find the line. The "line" is that special place you need to get to if you want your workout program to be effective. It's the desire to do the extra reps on push-up day, to increase the depth and range of motion on your lunges and squats, and not being afraid to add more weight and resistance as you get stronger. It's discovering your pain/discomfort threshold so you can get the job done without jeopardizing good form and preventing injury. If you under-train or just plain old "give up" because you "can't" do something the first few times, then you'll never know what it's like to be fit and lean. Find the line, do the best you can, and maintain good form.
2. The over-under. You need to understand the difference between under-training and over-training. Under-training is what happens when you keep doing the same thing, with the same weights, at the same intensity, and nothing much is happening. You know you're over-training when you can't get through workouts without hurling (see below), and you're so sore for the next three days that you can't walk, sit down or feed yourself. You're training properly when you have some soreness in your muscles-not pain in your joints.
3. Put on the breaks. I'm a big believer in listening to my brain's interpretation of what's going on with my body while exercising. When looking for the "line," you sometimes discover you've already gone over it. When this happens, it's time for a break. Here's a list of when to take breaks:
For a broad overview of Tony's "11 Laws" of fitness, click here.