Monday, March 22, 2010

Turn Up the Heat

If you really want to feel the burn, you've got to turn up the heat! Too many people get caught up in repeating the same exercises at the same intensity for weeks and then wonder why they aren't seeing results!

Over the last couple weeks, I've been trying to push myself to the limits! Marty has been taking time to do at least two workouts a week with me (he doesn't work out with me, but he pushes me with my own workout; that's a HUGE help and it helps me recognize what my muscles should feel like when I'm working hard) He helped me find my maximum weights and then I do my working sets at 75-80%. By the end of the last set, I'm absolutely exhausted and shaking from the energy and force that I had to give!

I give myself about 45 seconds of rest in between sets and then I hit it hard! I'm working at a 2-1-2 tempo. For example, a chest press would be two counts up, hold for one, down in two counts. Its a slow and steady pace and I'm really working on the control with my muscles; you cannot rely on momentum here! Just doing the exercise/movements isn't enough, I need to really think about the movement, visualize my muscles working and maintain form and control.

I try and push myself so that each workout is harder than the last. There are many ways to increase the intensity or "turn up the heat" in a workout. I'm not increasing reps right now, but I am working to increase weight! I push myself to failure (not discomfort, but absolute failure where I cannot move regardless of how hard I try). I also super set, where I will do a different exercise immediately after I finish one exercise. For example, if I'm doing dumbbell flies, I might immediately go into a chest press and go until I just can't go anymore.

When doing cardio, I keep my heart rate at 70% max. I try and keep my heart rate there for a solid 30 minutes (don't forget that 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down in ADDITION to the 30 minutes!) This week, Kelly wanted me to stay on one machine and complete the 30 minutes at that intensity. I'm really enjoying it. Kelly also made a point to say that at the 10 minute mark, if you're not sweating like crazy, you're not working hard enough! You should be able to speak, but not very comfortably. Conversations during cardio for me usually consists of short, one to two word answers or nods.

Increasing intensity and really turning up the heat is the only way anyone can see any real progress, especially if you've been working out for a while. I realized that when I was "stuck" or not seeing much progress anymore, its because my body had adjusted and adapted to the workouts and it just wasn't challenging anymore. That's why its important to change workouts up, increase the reps or the weight and push to break limits!

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