Why you need intensity in your workouts to get results

How many times have you read or heard about an easy way to lose weight or get in shape? How often have you seen the words simple, fast or effortless associated with an exercise, program or diet? All you have to do is type “easy fat loss” into Google and you’ll see just how popular those types of words are – I just got 18,900,000 hits!

 

The problem is, whenever you read about easy fat loss, effortless workouts or any other too-good-to-be-true sounding diet or workout, you are being lied to. Terms like easy are designed to make you click on a link, buy a product or fall for some other marketing hyperbole that will do nothing for your fitness or health but will rob you of your valuable time and your hard-earned cash.

 

I’ll say it again, terms like effortless weight loss and easy exercise are nothing but lies designed to deceive and disappoint you!

 

For the vast majority of overweight and unfit people, it is taking the easy route that has led to their problems in the first place. How on earth can we expect there to be an easy solution too?!

If you have ever dialled out for pizza instead of cooking a healthy, low calorie meal, you have succumbed to the easy route. If you have driven to the store instead of walking half a kilometre, you have also succumbed to the easy route.  If you have skipped your workout to socialize with friends or simply because you’ve kidded yourself you’ll do it tomorrow you too has taken the easy route.

 

The thing is, if you want results, easy won’t cut it; easy doesn’t deliver the goods. Easy is what robbed you of your fitness and health and make you overweight in the first place. There is no place for easy if you want to get in shape and develop levels of fitness and health you can be proud of.

 

In exercise, the difficulty of an exercise is properly called intensity and it’s intensity you need if you want to get results. Intensity is what forces your body to adapt and change – if there is no intensity there will be no results.

 

For example, let’s say you go to a Zumba class. You spend an hour puffing and panting through numerous dance-like routines and at the end of the session you are a little bit tired and your muscles are a bit sore. A few days later, you do the same class and this time, you get through it a little easier. Fast forward four weeks and you’re now breezing through an hour of Zumba like it was nothing.

 

Now your body has mastered the already minimal demands of an hour of Zumba, your fitness is as high as it’s going to get unless you increase the intensity of your workout.  Repeated workouts will do very little to take you closer to your fitness or weight loss goals and you are no officially in an exercise rut where you’ll see no more progress from your workouts.

 

The same is true if you head into the gym and lift the same weights week after week. Initially, those weights will have been slightly or moderately demanding but just a few short weeks later, your body has become accustomed to that level of intensity and you’ll stop seeing any changes or benefits from your workouts.

In a nutshell, your body is lazy and would really like to stay in its current physical state. This is sometimes referred to as homeostasis which simply means in balance. It adapts very quickly to stresses and situations because, quite simply, it is an amazing economical machine that wants to exert as little effort as possible. Losing fat, getting fit and building muscle are all very energy-expensive processes and as such your body shows a real reluctance to making physiological changes. It has to be FORCED to change and that force comes in the form of intensity.

 

Without intensity, there is no motivation to change. If Zumba is easy, your body has no reason to get fitter. If the weights you lift are light, your body has no reason to get stronger. It is only by challenging your body that it will change – it’s the basic survival principle in action.

 

If you really want to see progress, be it weight loss or improved fitness, you need to start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable…

 

With regards to diet, that means eating less, cutting out the foods you really want to eat but know you shouldn’t have, maybe changing your socializing habits to avoid temptation and even being hungry from time to time. You really can’t expect to lose weight without making significant and meaningful changes to your diet and lifestyle. And as for those low sugar, fat free cookies and other so-called diet foods – they are no better than the full fat, high sugar originals. Cake, cookies, candy and cola have no real place in a weight loss diet so instead of looking for ways to have your cake and eat it, ditch the cake, toughen up and you’ll soon start seeing the results you want.

 

However, you still need to eat enough to provide your body with what it needs to survive so don’t fall into the trap of cutting your calorie intake too aggressive. Starving yourself might seem like the dietary equivalent of an intense workout but will actually do more harm than good. Eating much too little food will make your body think it is starving which will make it try and preserve fat for as long as possible. Pretty much the opposite of what you want, right?

With regards to exercise, if you aren’t uncomfortable when you are exercising, it isn’t going to change your body. That means you are going to have to push yourself to do more than you want to. However, it’s once you are out of your comfort zone that the magic starts to happen. That extra couple of reps that make your muscles burn? Those are the reps that actually get you stronger. The easier reps that preceded them are nothing more than a warm up for the main event.

 

Exercising and dieting with sufficient intensity to get results is not easy but that’s why they work. If getting fit and losing weight were easy, everyone in the world would be fit and lean but, as I’m sure you know, this is not the case. Break away from the herd and start adding intensity to your fitness and weight loss efforts because while other people are wasting their time and energy with half-hearted efforts, you’ll make more progress in a few months than they will in their entire lives!
Share this:
Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)

AUTHOR

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

* Testimonials found on Dinny Morris Fitness have been sent to me by past and present customers and may not reflect the typical customer’s experience and are not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results. The testimonials are meant to be a showcase of the best results personal training with me can produce, and should not be taken as the results a typical user will get.