Intensify Your Workout, Without Becoming Attila the Hun!

Copyright 2006 J Lance Curtis

In all my years in and out of gyms and fitness centers, there is ONE THING, THE ONE THING that will skyrocket the results from your workouts.

And guess what, this one thing will actually get you out of the gym almost as fast as you got in. Now unless you don’t have a real life (or you are a personal trainer) your idea of fun isn’t hanging out in a gym all day. So getting out of the gym fast is very valuable.

The ‘one thing’ is summed up in one word. . .intensity. That’s it! Now you may be asking, ‘that’s it?’ Yep, that’s it. Intensity is the key to getting more from your workout than anything else.

But you know what; sometimes it is the toughest thing to build into your workouts. You start your workout, and its going really well. Then your friend, Susan, from Sunday school comes in, sees you and then 20 minutes later you two have planned the menu for next Sunday’s church potluck (as if potlucks need menu planning). And your workout is toast.

So how do you ‘intensify’ your workout without becoming Attila the Hun? Easy, read on. . .

1) Set a time limit. When I work with my personal clients their workout time limit is 30 minutes. Yep, 30 minutes. . .that’s it. While in and of itself the 30 minute time limit does nothing, combined with the proper workout it is incredible. By creating a deadline, even artificially, the sense of urgency is increased.

2) Focus on why you’re there, not on whom else is there. Yes, your fitness center is a social environment. Yes, many of your friends are there at the same time as you. In fact, you will make new friends just because of people you meet at your fitness center. But don’t make socializing your focus. And most people don’t realize its happening. Visit with your friends before or after your workout. If someone comes to visit while you are in your routine, DO NOT STOP. Keep working out while they talk. No, it’s not rude, it’s practical. If your conversation requires some serious interaction on your part, simply ask your friend if you can call them at another time. Usually she will say yes.

3) Turn your cell phone off. Just like the movies, cell phones and workouts do not go together. If you know there is a call coming you must take during your workout, postpone your workout. Its good gym etiquette and your workout won’t be short circuited.

4) Combine exercises with complimentary ones using what is called a ‘super set’. Basically, it is working one body part for one set and then another body part immediately (no rest) after the first. For example, combine one set of dumbbell chest flyes with close grip pulldowns. In the first you work your chest, then next your work your back. By doing this you work a complimentary body part while resting the other. Result – intensity UP – workout GOOD!

5) Combine resistance exercises with aerobic activities. This is similar to number 4 above. For example, sometimes I have my clients do a shoulder exercise then in between sets go and do 20 calf raises. Another variation (I got this idea from the owner of my ‘home gym’, Chris Kinzler. He says he got it from his ‘noggin’. hmmm.) is to do ‘step ups’ between resistance exercises. The ‘step up’ is just that. Take a step up box and set it close to your exercise equipment. Then do alternating step ups for 30 – 60 seconds then go back to your primary exercise. Result – intensity UP – workout GOOD!

As a result of increasing intensity, you get, and keep, your heart rate up. You finish your workout in a very reasonable time. You get on with your life. But more importantly you get the results your want.

Leave a Comment