Adding Intensity

by Neil Anderson

Q:  Would it have been better on this workout for me to do more rounds with lighter weight, or should I have stepped up the weight and done fewer rounds? 

A:  It is always better for the veterans to add intensity whenever possible as long as it doesn't take away from the purpose of the workout and THEIR own purposes for working out. 

Until you achieve "veteran" status (no less than 2 months of consistent 5 days per week storming workouts) you really should never add weight to ANY workout unless specifically told to do so by a trainer.  Realize that "2 months" is just a guideline too.  Some of you should not add weight (Rx+) for over a year.  Others of you may never want or need to add weight.  Then again, some of you may be able add intensity even sooner.  You have to really listen to your body and experiment a little before you know when, or if this is OK.  

Please remember that the weights/rounds/reps/times/and etc. that we program into your workouts are programmed with your "optimal health" in mind.  In other words, it is our opinion you will be optimally healthy (physically) and completely functional by simply working your way up to being able to do my workouts as written (Rx'd).  Therefore, giving your heart to these workouts as they are written is all it takes to become optimally healthy, fat free, functional, happier (hopefully), and disease free. 

Some of you may want more from your exercise experience.  Some of you have improved your fitness to a level where doing the weights/rounds/reps/times and etc as written has become simpler.  I say "simpler" because these workouts are NEVER easy and never will be.  However, maybe you are pulling many, many more reps or rounds on the rest of the class.  Maybe your times are 30% or more faster than most others in the class.  MAYBE you would like to see what your body is truly capable of. 

IF you have gotten to this point, intensity is the key to your ever increasing fitness.  I suggest, in this case, that you increase weight and try to push yourself to the next level.  Yup, this means you will be dropping reps, rounds, and etc., at first. 

Use caution though.  Sometimes adding weight (intensity) to a workout will take away from the intention of that workout.  You would RARELY ever add weight to your 5k run, for example.  Therefore, the experienced exerciser should know how to add intensity (it is not always by adding weight) to a given workout.  DON'T GUESS.  If you need help, any of our expert trainers can assist with this.  Either ask or write to us and we'll get you set straight.    

Increasing your fitness to "the max" may not be worth the effort.  We feel there is a law of diminishing returns on forever-increasing your fitness.  Through sad experience we have observed many people who sacrifice their health in the name of infinitely increased fitness and physical appearance. This is the point where fitness becomes a detriment to one's self, one's family and ultimately to society.  Please be careful not to cross this line.

If you feel you are at a level where you would like to take the next step and begin to increase intensity during your workouts, let us help you integrate it into your program.  ANY of us are pretty good Sherpa's.  We'll gladly help you get where you want to go, or maybe help keep you from going where you don't.