When Should You Step Up the Intensity of Your Workouts?

A friend of yours starts going to the gym for a few weeks. She starts complaining that she’s not seeing results, despite spending most of her afterhours working out.

So you decide to tag along for one of her evening workouts. Once you watch her workout, her problem is crystal clear.

She isn’t pushing herself hard enough.

She swings from machine to machine, lazily going through the motions. By the end of her hour-long routine, she’s barely broken a sweat.

Working out is less about how long you work out for and more about the effort and exercises you do during that time. A lot of people trick themselves into believing that just because they go to the gym, they’re getting in shape at a rapid pace.

Don’t you want to get the most out of your workouts? Isn’t your goal to get fit without spending hours and hours on the elliptical?

If so, you should check out a Fit Body Boot Camp location near you, since our 30-minute Afterburn workouts promise to maximize your results in a short timespan. In the meantime, here are a few signs that it’s time to ratchet up the intensity of your workout routine.

 

Keeping the Same Routine

Lets face it: people don’t always look forward to working out. They might start a new routine, get through the first few weeks off of pure motivation and hype, and then trail off when their workouts become too boring.

Remember that the goal is to make being fit and healthy a lifestyle, not a fad. Sometimes you need to switch up your regimen to keep yourself inspired.

Research a bunch of exercises to alternate into your routine every few weeks. The more prepared you are for these “dull” seasons, the more likely you’ll be to keep working out when you don’t feel it.

For instance, let’s take sit ups. If your daily does of sit ups become too boring, switch them out for some scissor kicks, crunches, or try your sit ups with a medicine ball for an added challenge.

 

Not Breathing Hard Enough

Like the lady in the example above, some people are afraid to push themselves to their limits.

As human beings, we are capable of far more than we can comprehend. Yet people still doubt themselves, their abilities, and their willpower. They avoid putting in the serious work that yields results.

Those that exert maximum effort shouldn’t even be able to talk or sing or laugh by the end of the workout. Instead, they’ll be breathing heavily, exhausted.

Trust the recovery process. If you eat the right foods, get a good amount of sleep, and take appropriate rest days, you’ll be ready to attack the next workout with the same intensity.

 

Setting the Wrong Goals

I’m going to tell you something you’ve probably never heard before. Ready?

It’s ok to axe your goals.

Now there is a caveat. You should only axe those goals that don’t drive you anymore.

Sometimes, people shoot for goals that are just unrealistic, which can kill their overall motivation. Other people set short-term goals that are too easy. They don’t feel challenged enough and fall off the wagon as well.

That’s why setting proper short-term and long-term goals is vital to your fitness success. You want to encourage yourself with the instant gratification of a short-term goal, while the long-term goals remind you of the bigger reasons why you’re trying to get in shape.

Get the right goals in place and push full speed ahead.

 

The Heart Isn’t Working Hard Enough

Disclaimer: this does NOT give you license to push yourself to the brink of a heart attack.

However, the heart can be a great gauge for how hard your body is working during exercise.

Here’s the formula: take your age and subtract it from 220. This is the fastest rate your heart can pump at. Then, multiply that number by .5 (50%), then by .85. (85%) This will give you a heart rate range that your heartbeat should stay within while working out.

If you want to measure your heart rate, just take your pulse occasionally while working out. Needless to say, if your heart is barely beating, you probably need to up the energy in your workouts a bit.

 

Not Getting Results

Let’s reference our friend from the beginning of this blog post. She is discouraged because she’s not getting the results she wants from the workouts she’s doing.

It’s very important to remember that working out isn’t the only factor that affects your results. What you eat can either supplement your workout regimen or sabotage it. Additionally, how often you work out, how well you perform each exercise, and how much rest you give your body all play a part in the results you may or may not see.

One other thing to note is that people usually follow a similar pattern of results. When they start training, they experience rapid physical transformation, only to see less and less change in subsequent weeks.

What’s the point of mentioning all this? It’s totally natural to hit barriers in your results. What matters is how hard you push through those walls, because that’s when the real physical and emotional change starts to take place.

 

Lack of Soreness

One of the best and worst feelings in the world is the soreness that hits people the day(s) after they good workout. Sure, their bodies feel achy and sluggish, but the feeling of changing your body for the better is hard to beat.

DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is a part of the fitness process. In order to build bigger and stronger muscles, the body needs to tear into existing muscles that get worked out, hence the soreness.

Soreness gradually reduces over time as your body gets used to the regular strain of exercise. However, if someone isn’t sore the first few times they work out, they might have to ask themselves whether they are giving their maximum effort.

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