Intensity – Do you have it?!

INTENSITYa key word in getting results, and something many people never achieve.

I was at the gym today, and while sitting on the bike to;

a) “Cool down”

b) more realistically pause, and ensure I wasn’t sick, when

a girl came up that I used to work at the gym with many years ago. She was a Duty manager then as opposed to gym staff, so I’ll let her off, but she said she was just about to try a new workout to help her get lean, that was written by the Gym Manager/PT. I couldn’t help but say I wanted to look at it.

Now, when getting lean, your diet will be 70-80% of the success, but as we’re talking intensity, I’ll get onto this workout! This was the order;

1) X-Trainer – 15 mins @ some level – “It really doesn’t matter what level as this machine sucks – you’re not supporting your bodyweight, it moves in a fixed, weird, range, and next time you’re in the gym, look at the people using it…… it’s an easy persons exercise machine” I told her to remove it.

2) Treadmill – 15mins intervals – run hard at 8mph for 60secs, walk for 30secs. – “Now not too, bad but I said for it to be intense, those intervals suck. You cant run at max intensity for 60secs, and expect to go again at the same high level after just 30secs rest?! I got her to reverse those times, and even drop the hard resistance section to maybe 20secs, and up the incline!”

3) “Resistance Training” – There was sumo squats with weights, ball squats with OH Press, Seated Row, and DB Chest Press, all finished off with some crunches and plank. I changed all of those exercises, substituting most for bodyweight exercises such as pressups over the ball to lunge with OH press, to X-Body Climbers, putting some as tabata’s. Suffice to say I removed the crunches, got her putting some rotational work in to hit the whole “core” area, and moved all the reps and sets from the prescribed 3 x 15. Oh, and I also got her doing the resistance work first, and Intervals last.

The original programme above lacked any INTENSITY. Working without intensity is like those occasional grannies you see (no offence Granny) driving on the inside, or sometimes middle lane of a motorway doing 40mph – you’re going to get there eventually, but it’s going to take a bloody long time!! Put your foot down (whilst obviously sticking to the speed limit, stopping for rest breaks, and paying attention to other drivers!! ­čÖé ) and get where you need to be quicker! By working out with Intensity you will place more demand on your muscles and your metabolism, and your body will transform in a much quicker timescale.

It is no wonder so many people leave gyms dis-heartened after spending months following a programme (and by yourself, which is often the problem – how many people will push themselves week in, week out?) which lacks any proper structure or intensity.

Another great saying is, “You can workout hard, or you can workout long – Who wants to workout long?!”

Get in, challenge yourself and get out, eat clean, eat sensibly and you’re results can’t fail to happen, in a much shorter time than most gym-goers!


Running isn’t the answer to a great body!

treadmill running
One of my PT clients who has been with me for around 4 weeks has put up the following post on my Fat Loss and Fitness Forum.
It’s such a good post, I thought I’d share it with you all, and hopefully it may help those of you who may run to lose weight, or who struggle to lose the last few pounds of fat.
“OK, so I have actually cheated a little with the transformation challenge… Alongside following the nutrition plan and exercises, I also joined up for some PT from Mark in the lead up to my wedding… 16.5 weeks to go guys, and I want to look perfect in that dress and a hotty on the beach on honeymoon for my new hubby to be… So, it is time to get serious.

I have always been on diets, WW, Slimmer’s World etc and although I am not massive, my body shape has never changed. I am/was an avid runner, and always adopted the attitude that if I had been a little bit naughty on the food side (or, more typically, booze side), I’d just run off the calories. Hours have been spent on a treadmill! But my shape never really changed and I remain a constant size 12 – varying between a big 12 and a normal 12…

So, off I go to see Mark, with a little breakdown of my current fitness regime, thinking, I’m going to be top of the class because I am FIT! No, no, no! I have no muscles! Anywhere! (Well, some but very limited)… All this running, and no muscles?… And spending an hour or more in the gym in each session… What the hell! And then I had to have a caliper test thing – ok, so having met Mark for approximately 30 mins, the last thing you want is for your layers of fat to be grabbed in a fancy instrument that resembles something you used to draw circles with! Hideous! But this is all part of the service, and the results were very interesting. I have hormone imbalances (my fiance could have told you that!) which leads to fat build up in certain areas (I would call it thunder thighs, Mark, very kindly, said “child bearing hips”) and now I have vits and supplements to hopefully help with this, as well as a change in my exercise routine – I’ll keep you posted on how those thighs are doing…

So, grudgingly, I have changed my workouts to be weights and resistance based rather than running and I can see the changes already – like, I can nearly see a line in my leg where the hamstring(?) is, and bum and arms not so wobbly. The time in the gym goes so much quicker and I can now fit it into my working week – 45 mins is much easier to fit into before work than an hour and a half! I did have to get over feeling like a numpty in the corner of the gym doing squats and jump lunges but, if you actually look around you, the women with the toned bodies are also using the free weights and not necessarily obsessing on the treadmill…

Another new lesson for me is that weight is really controlled by nutrition, and cannot necessarily be countered with hours on a runner. I also went to Mark with a copy of my starvation diet which incorporated a special k bar for breakfast, a salad or fruit for lunch and a stir fry in the evening – very hard to keep going with over a prolonged amount of time… Now, I have been re-educated, and not so hungry all the time. For me, not eating wheat and dairy has definitely helped in not feeling so bloated anymore. And it’s funny, after 4 weeks of saying no to the breadbasket, it’s not even a temptation anymore. I do love pasta though, so will make this a special treat once in a while……”

Does any of the above ring true with you’re diet or workout regime?!!
In reponse to this, I said;
“I see so many women/men out running, and obviously new to training, in an attempt to lose weight. Yes you’ll lose some at the beginning as you will with any form of exercise due to it being something that you haven’t done before, and obvisously more than you’ve done before! BUT, after a while results will dry up as will the weight loss, and most people then give up.
Bascially you’re body has got used to the running and the distance your doing, and so the only way to keep results coming is to run for longer, and then longer and longer etc (who really wants to work out for a long time?!!) or you have to start running harder and faster to change the intensity, which is also what most people don’t like….the hard work!!
Anyhow, running will not shape or change your body shape. Too many people get left with shapeless arms, legs, stomachs and bums, because they’re not really using any muscles with enough resistance to shape them.
You have to use resistance training to shape your body – be it by itself or alongside your running.

Sure if you enjoy running, then still do it, but ensure you add in some bodyweight sessions or weight sessions, as you won’t get results alone with running.

Another common mistake people make (and I’m sure my client won’t mind me saying this?!) but when she joined she only really wanted to lose about 4-5lb, and that was her focus every week, the scales, to lose a few pounds.
If you have a lot of weight to lose, then fair enough, but when we’re talking a few pounds it can become “obsessive” in the fact that bodyweight can shift a few pounds during the day, down to fluid intake, food eaten that day etc etc, so you’re never really going to get a true reading for a few pounds, and could well get upset that you’ve lost 0.5lb a week etc etc.

Therefore we changed the emphasis of workouts from weightloss to intensitythe keyword!
I told her to enjoy her workouts, to put in maximum effort each time she trains, to challenge herself. Run that bit faster than last time, push a few extra reps than last time, and if you truely can say you’ve worked out hard each week, and you’ve been eating sensibly, there is NO WAY you’re body will not change!
Having a┬ácompetitive streak,┬áthis is working a treat, and it’s pretty hard to keep her from busting a gut every day!

Remember, the workouts are the stimulus for your body, but it will only change through rest and nutrition, so ensure this is a key priority!!

Workout smart, Eat smart, workout hard, workout with resistance and intensity and you’ll get the body you are after!
Did you start out this way, and now have results from resistance training? Let us know your results and how you go them!