Mistaking Intensity for Duration

Jan 22, 2019

Hey gang, Joe Brammer here and I want to talk to you about something that could be holding you back in the gym. Two out of three people you see in most gyms (not anyone at Elite Edge of course) are training all wrong. I think the only reason they go to the gym is so they can post a selfie on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong I love a good selfie  but some people are more concerned with their outfit than their workout.

A lot of the people I see and chat with on the information superhighway are doing programs they found online or ripped out of the pages of a magazine designed for steroid abusers.

They are stuck and can’t seem to get results from training.

To make matters worse a lot of these same people are not eating properly.

Nutritional timing is really simple, but people want to make it more complicated than it is.

As many clients at our Waukee Gym are finding out, there is nothing hard or secret about fat loss –just precise nutritional requirements. You have to meet them and you can’t cheat them.

So, even if you are not doing personal training with us in Waukee I want to help you out. Over the next few weeks I am going to lay out a few very common mistakes I see and hear, so you can make sure you don’t get caught faking the funk.

#1 Mistaking Intensity for Duration.

One thing that really makes me laugh is when I see someone not going 100 percent and casually strolling through training on autopilot and then bragging to all their friends on Facebook about the two and a half hours they spent ‘hangin and bangin at the gym.’

“You should look at anyone who spends more than 45 minutes working out as a time waster, not a role model.” – Martin Rooney

“Most Bodybuilders make a single mistake, a fundamental mental error, which in turn is responsible for all their other training mistakes: they fail to recognize that bodybuilding is a part of exercise science, which flows from medical science. And that science is a discipline that absolutely requires man to use a specific method of thought (logic) to gain precise knowledge of reality so that he can successfully achieve his goals.” –Mike Mentzer Mr. Universe 1978

“Man is a specific organism of a specific nature that requires specific actions to sustain his life”- Ayn Rand

All humans (besides those of us with genetic anomalies) have the same anatomy. Medical science and exercise science are based on the principles of human anatomy and physiology.

Biochemical changes that result in muscle growth are always the same in all people and are induced in the same way. And it just so happens that these biochemical changes come from what we call High Intensity Training.

High intensity muscle contraction is the most important requirement for increases in muscle strength and size–not sets and reps. Duration is not important. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

If I get under the squat rack and do 12 reps of a weight I can probably handle for 20 reps, then that is not high intensity. Doing eight reps of a weight that you can’t possibly get another rep out of is high intensity and you will get more benefit out of that one set of eight reps than three sets of 12.  But it’s not about the sets and reps. It’s about the fact that you pushed it to the limit, and not choosing an arbitrary number of sets and reps just because that’s what the program calls for.

Intensity has an inverse ratio to duration; so true high intensity training can’t be carried on for more than 30-45 minutes. By nature, if you go longer than that your intensity would have to go down.

Another fact is, too much training can cause overtraining, which not only makes you feel terrible but leads to muscle loss. Your body as does mine and everyone’s takes time to recover when you train too much, not only does your body not have enough time to recover, repair, and grow stronger, but your form invariably breaks down and causes you to become sloppy and get injured.

Almost every injury I have seen in the weight room has happened when someone was pushing himself or herself beyond the point of exhaustion and got sloppy and hurt themselves because of poor technique.

One last thing. Our bodies release hormones during training like testosterone, growth hormones and insulin. All of these help with muscle growth. But your body also releases another hormone you have probably heard about called cortisol, which increases blood sugar levels and fights inflammation, but it can also screw with your body’s ability to assimilate protein and build muscle.

Cortisol spikes during training sessions will improve your ability to build muscle (if you needed more reasons to switch to higher intensity training research has also shown that training in your 75 percent max range leads to more cortisol production than training with lighter weights) but if cortisol levels remain too high for too long it can become a problem.

So the best thing you can do is to keep your workouts short 25-40 minutes (not including the warm up and cool down). Make sure you keep the intensity high and give yourself plenty of recovery time and you will be amazed at the results you can get.  

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