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Intensity

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By Coach Kristen

I want to talk to you about…intensity. And why it’s so important to have intensity in your workout regimen. It’s more than just being able to say “wow, that WOD was intense”, or posting a picture of your post-workout sweat angel. There is a reason why we, as coaches, work to bring that intensity out in you during your workouts.

Webster defines “intensity” as 1) the quality or state of being intense, especially extreme degree of strength, force, energy, or feeling and 2) the magnitude of a quantity (such as force or energy) per unit (as area, charge, mass, or time). And…CrossFit is defined, in one way, as constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity. Let’s keep talking…

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT (high intensity interval training) is something you’ve probably heard by now as it relates to fitness. HIIT is exactly what the name says…it’s high intensity…and uses some form of interval training. And it usually includes relatively short periods of time that require an extreme amount of effort interspersed with periods of rest or transition between movements. Sound familiar? It might be a challenging, and sometimes intimidating way to workout, but it’s also the smartest, best thing that you can do for your body.

There’s a boatload of research that talks about why an increased intensity in your workout (whether that be and increased work load – weight – or increased effort – difficulty) is beneficial. Here are some of the high points

Bigger Muscles, Better Joints

Increasing the intensity in an exercise puts more stress on the muscles, forcing them to produce more. Long story short, they get bigger and stronger and we all know the benefits of increased muscle mass. Same thing goes for your joints. Increasing your intensity can also mean getting that full range of motion in. The more range of motion, the better your mobility will be and the better your joints will function overall. Bottom line is – you are requiring more from your body and your body responds, in kind.

Insulin Sensitivity

When compared to endurance exercise over a moderate period of time, higher intensity exercise increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Therefore, it’s better at regulating the body’s blood sugar as well as intramuscular glucose. Without delving too far into the science behind all of that and using big words like myokines, adipose, and homeostasis…just believe me when I say this is a very good thing. There have even been studies that show that high intensity workouts can reduce cancer risks and inflammation in the body.

Effort and Efficiency

You get out of it what you put in. If you go into a workout and put in mediocre effort, you’re going to get a mediocre result. That’s why I may look like I’m about to pass out after that final rep, but by golly, I spent my time in the gym wisely. I got the very most out of my workout. Your body was made to work (READ: really) hard in short amounts of time. Don’t do it a disservice by holding back. Besides, wouldn’t you rather spend 20 minutes (or so) working really hard versus 2 hours hardly working? Who has time for that anyway?

And, like LaMonte says, “the harder you work, the better you feel”. There’s actually something to that, after all!

Come feel better with us through exercise! Jump into a free Intro to CrossFit class on the 2nd Saturday of the month at 10:30am. Or schedule a Free No Sweat Intro ANYTIME and let’s chat about your goals and how we can help you to reach them.

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