However, with all this information, what are we supposed to believe? Have you ever started a workout routine only to read a week later that you are doing it all wrong? It can be frustrating and overwhelming. One of my favorites is the debate as to whether you should do cardio before or after weight training. I’m still not sure, so I alternate before and after. I figure at least I have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.
Fortunately, there are actually a few tips that most everyone will agree on, and one of them is my favorite. It has changed the way I work out, and my fitness results have soared.
On the surface, this may not seem like an earth shattering, OMG Kristi you are a genius type of tip, but it really is.
The tip is INTENSITY. Whatever your exercise routine, do it with intensity. Maximum intensity.
For all of you who just said “duh”, this is really one of those tips that is easier said than done and takes some practice.
I have been weight training consistently (and fanatically) for 12 years, and not until this past year did I really understand Maximum Intensity.
I got some advice from a college football coach. He put together a three-week plan that included an all over body workout three days a week for three weeks. No cardio.
My first reaction was serious anxiety. How could I work out so little and not either lose muscle mass or gain fat or both? However, in his plan, he said something that made me want to try it. He told me that I had nine workouts, and I must make the most out of every rep, every set, every workout, because there are only nine. So work out at your max intensity and make it count.
My second reaction was excitement about this challenge to make it count. It was on! I always thought I worked out really hard until I started focusing all my attention on this make it count stuff. Immediately, I was doing more weight and more reps than I had ever done, and I saw my muscle tone change (something I hadn’t seen in a while).
An added benefit; my workouts are much shorter now. If I really focus on the exercise and the intensity, instead of the kid’s next field trip, or what I am making for dinner, I can get a better workout doing fewer exercises and fewer sets.
4 Tips for Maximum Intensity
- Stop thinking about your list of 46 things you have to do today
- Only think about the exercise you are doing right now
- Make sure your last rep is as good of form as your first rep
- Ask yourself if you can do one more rep, then one more, then one more
If you are going to make the effort to exercise, make it count.