Monday, June 7, 2010

Benefits of High Intensity Training

Why is it a good idea to workout so hard you feel like you could be in the movie 300? Well because it's great to workout with the intensity that stresses not only your body but your mind. If you are a squash player, a basketball player, a marathon runner, any sort of sport, you know what I'm talking about. When it's the last quarter of the game, when it's those horrible final 6 miles, it's just as much about how conditioned your mind is as it is about how conditioned your body is. Doing workouts in the gym that challenge you to keep going, finish those 5 reps, keep moving that final 10 seconds, increase your weights by that extra 10lbs. Whatever the challenge may be, it's important to work hard and conquer whatever the road block is ahead of you with your muscles and your mind. Plus the harder you work the more you'll get out of it. Increasing your weight (thus upping the intensity) will produce stronger muscles and more lean body mass. By moving past that point of when you want to stop (up the intensity) you will continue your increased heart rate and thus burning more calories. A lot of the goal comes back to working hard to burn more calories and increase more muscle mass, the best way to do that is to add in harder workouts to your regime and keep making progress with your mind and body! Here are a few easy ways to increase your intensity (without feeling like you might puke!)

1. Add in more full body exercises (Kettlebell swings, squat presses, burpees, slam ball, etc.)
2. Try new exercises, just the new challenge is enough to get your brain, muscles, and heart rate up
3. Add in bouts of high intensity movements (in between sets 1 minute sprints on the eliptical, running stairs at the beginning, middle, and end of a workout, etc.)
4. Do as much with your own body weight as you can, resist using a bench, a machine, or a ball and MOVE YOURSELF THROUGH SPACE.
5. Work full range of motion, you have all that muscle and flexibility for a reason!
6. Make sure that the weights you are using are challenging enough, if you can do 20 reps (even 15) of most anything it's too light!
7. Be your own "hall monitor" if you know you are taking it easy, taking your time, resting more than working, not breathing hard, flat out... work harder!
8. Find a workout partner, a trainer, a new sport and have someone or something else outside of yourself to challenge you and push you to make progress.

Written by Adriana Brown
Personal Fitness Trainer, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown
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