April 1

Now is not the time for intensity


Now, in this extraordinary situation we are all in, is not the time for intensity. I know this might trigger a lot of people, I, myself, come from the CrossFit background, where intensity is king and is the main driver to results.


It is something that people are used to hammering every workout, used to going through every workout, trying to ‘end their worlds’. Each and every workout is about applying as much intensity as possible, we then get addicted to this need to have such a high intense workout and the endorphin rush that goes with it.


The thing is, is that we are now under more stress than ever. Of course, we can put on a positive mindset, put on a brave face and I urge all of you to do that. However, we are under more stress than normal because our routines and our lifestyles have been flipped upside down by a virus that is completely outside of our control.


Most of you are now working from home and you haven’t done that before. Your kids are off school and you have to look after them all day. You can’t go outside more than once per day and you can’t go out and have a meal with your significant other. You can’t have date night like you used to be able to.  You can’t visit your friends and your family, the way that you used to be able to, everything is different.


All this means there is more stress on your system than ever before, adding intensity is only going to make this worse. So, it doesn’t matter if you can’t train as normal. You don’t need to go to your local gym and hire out all of their equipment, so that you can do sprints on a rower, a million burpees an hour and beat yourself into the floor like you normally would do.


You could potentially use this time to learn new skills. For example, you could be practising some bodyweight movements, practising some gymnastics, you could practise and improve at running or perfect your form in squats and lunges using just your bodyweight. Try practising and polishing up on movements that you may have been putting off.


In this period of time, lowering intensity and moving for health is going to be the best bet. With regards to aerobic activity then, turn down the dial.  If you are running, just go on a gradual jog, do some aerobic intervals, you don’t need to do sprints and to beat yourself into the floor. You really don’t need to do hill sprints and make yourself completely knackered.


Doing some form of resistance training is a good idea, this can be just doing push ups, squats, lunges, and other easy bodyweight movements. If you’ve got a pair of dumbbells then you can do some single arm presses, some dumbbell rows and some deadlifts. This is great if you can do so, but you don’t need to make them as heavy as possible. You don’t need to do it as fast as possible. You don’t need to do it with large amounts of intensity.


You just need to move and do so gradually. We are nearly all now out of routine and we’re doing new things. We don’t need to add more stress to the system. Our bodies can only adapt to so much.


So my best advice for all of you in this time is to do aerobic activity. So just move, go out for a walk, go for a nice jog or a nice bike ride, enjoy the weather that we’re having at the moment. Put yourself in a place where you can make the most gains when you return to normal training by maximising your nutrition and your sleep. Do resistance training yes, but don’t worry about hammering the intensity.


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