Have you ever found yourself zoning out during a workout: sandbagging, when you know you could push a whole lot harder? Maybe your feel more tired than usual, either physically or mentally. But intensity is vital to reaching your fitness goals. Especially in an age where there is limited avaiable free time to work out, intensity is the key. As an example, a 10 minute mile run burns more calories than a 15 minute mile walk. In addition, you get significantly greater cardiovascular results.
We all have ‘off days’ – but here are 5 ways to add intensity to your workout, no matter how you feel.
1. Get in touch with your competetive side. If you’re at the gym, pick a machine next to someone who is working pretty hard, and make sure you work harder. If you’re taking a group class, use your classmates to push you to work harder. Race to be the fastest, kick the highest, have the best technique. You can also compete with yourself. Measure your normal workout – distance or time or calories burned, using a heartrate monitor or machine statistics – and make sure each workout sets a new, higher standard. Make it a point of pride.
2. Have achievable fitness goals, and review them before your workout. Don’t go crazy with your fitness goals. If you’ve never run a mile, don’t sign up for a marathon next week. Decide upon goals you can be proud of, but are doable. Write them down. Share them with a supportive friend or two. Then keep them with you: in your wallet, posted around the house, recorded on your screensaver. Before your workout, close your eyes and visualize yourself achieving your goals. How will you feel? What will you look like? Now, open your eyes and attack that workout!
3. Drink water, eat right. We keep snacks around Fearless Fitness, and plenty of water, for our students who forget. The body needs fuel! Generally speaking, the best pre-workout and post-workout snacks combine a little protein and a little carbohydrate. Don’t eat too much, or too close to your workout – find the snacks that work best for you. And be sure to stay hydrated. Drink water before, during and after your workout (this is important all day long). Check out our facebook discussion page for ideas on great snacks.
4. Pretend you’re on TV. At ffit.tv, we discovered that the sweatiest workouts we do are on camera. There’s nothing like a little ego to make you work harder. So pretend someone’s watching or filming your workout. Pretend you’re trying out for an action role in a movie. Be impressive! This adds intensity like you wouldn’t believe. If you’ve got a big mirror, work out in front of it.
5. Music. This one is a no-brainer. We have another facebook discussion page on our favorites: what gets you going? When in doubt, it’s Tina Turner. Put music on to inspire you to work out, then continue with a good beat to keep the pace challenging.
Do you have more ideas for inspiring intensity? Send me your thoughts at email@example.com. Happy sweating!