YOU’RE TOUGHER THAN YOU THINK. The fear of pain or injury from working out is a mindset steeped in fear. You must learn to “Find The Line.” Do the extra rep or two, increase your range of motion, and increase resistance as you get stronger. Intensity goes hand in hand with Variety and Consistency. The combination of these three work together to create a platform for success. The programs provide Variety. Your plan will keep you consistent.
Intensity is the final ingredient that brings results. Here’s the science: in order for a physiological change to occur, there first needs to be a stimulus. This stimulus comes in the form of an overload. A principle known as GPO—gradual progressive overload. As you train over time, the overload should be slowly increased. Too much overload too quickly can result in injury. Lack of increased overload over time will result in plateaus. People who plateau often get discouraged and quit. Okay, the science is over!
THE THREE RULES OF INTENSITY:
1. Find The Line. The Line is that special place you need to get to if you want any program to work. It’s the desire to do get that extra push up, to increase the depth and range of motion on your lunges and squats, and not being afraid to add more weight and resistance as you get stronger. It’s discovering your pain/discomfort threshold so you can get the job done WITHOUT jeopardizing good form and avoiding injury. If you under-train or just plain old “give up” because you “can’t” do something the first few times, then you’ll never know what it’s like to be fit and healthy. Find ‘The Line’, do the best you can, and maintain good form.
2. The Over Under. You need to understand the difference between under-training and over-training. Under-training is where you keep doing the same thing, with the same weights, at the same intensity, and nothing much is happening. UGH. You know you’re over-training when you can’t get through workouts without hurling (see below), and you’re so sore for the next three days that you can’t walk, sit down, or feed yourself. You’re training properly when you have some soreness in your muscles—not pain in your joints.
3. Put on the Breaks. I’m a believer in listening to my brain’s interpretation of what’s happening to my body while exercising. Finding ‘The Line’ can be tricky. It will take some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to keep looking. You’ll know when you’ve gone over it. When this happens, it’s time for a break. Here’s a list of when to take breaks:
*Mid-set mini-break. Say you’re working biceps and you’ve mistakenly chosen a weight that’s a bit too heavy. You’ve set a goal of ten reps, but on rep six you’ve discovered that you’re not going to make it to ten unless you start crossing ‘The Line’. Stop for a beat. Hold the weights down by your side. (you’re chillin’) When you’re ready—continue to ten. You can also put the weights down and grab lighter ones. This technique will work with almost any exercise. This is why I tell you to keep your remote nearby. Think of it as a luxurious, respite of relief!
*Give yourself a break. Far too often I see people trying to be a superhero the first couple of weeks of a program. This aggressive attitude can often cause a phenomenon known as vomiting. To avoid this from happening to you, I recommend NOT trying to “push through it.” Superman wasn’t built in two weeks. He was born on an icy planet and…well, that’s another story. Do yourself a favor and kick it down to 80% when starting out the first one or two weeks.
*Illness or Injury breaks. If you’re sick or injured, then do the right thing: back off, back down, or modify. Hard exercise when injured or ill can be disastrous. You have to think long term. More often than not, taking a break is the smartest approach for your long-term success.