‘Go-Kill-Yourself-Workout guaranteed to drop your pant size to XYZ. Follow the 90-day program and see the results.’
We are constantly bombarded with such messages, infomercials and also bootcamp style training programs. The programs work – if you follow it for the number of days suggested by the program. For that matter all programs work – for a certain time. Then people are either bored or injured. After those 90 days or the number of days suggested, people flop down on the bed or sofa for the next 270 days. Most adapt to that particular program and do not see the amazing results they were observing during the initial stages. What gives? Why are people injured? Why are people not motivated to do the program again?
To answer this, let’s focus on the bootcamp style ‘Go-Kill-Yourself’ programs.
There is a big perception that unless one gives 100% to the workouts or sweat out like a garden hose, one is not working out or training. These perceptions are fired on by movies like ‘Rocky’ or ‘Chariots of Fire’. The usual theme in such movies would be the underdogs (usually a western protagonist) battling out the Goliath (an eastern bloc communist) using 200% intensity, all-out workouts. Then we have these ‘insane’ infomercials where each participant in the video would have lost 100 kilos of weight following the program and would be seen doing ‘insane’ workouts for more than an hour and at ridiculously high intensities.
The reality is a lot different. A LOT DIFFERENT. The underdogs have been learning the programs of these Goliaths because the Goliaths have been delivering results. No movie will talk about this. The Goliaths have very basic programs where they ensure that people don’t get injured. These programs ensure 80-90% intensities during their most training workouts. Many times these Goliaths don’t even put 100% during competitions to ensure not getting injured. The 80% intensity does not sap out the athlete mentally and he/she is charged to come to the training camp/gym the next day.
The ‘insane’ infomercials, if done in those intensities in most cases will ensure that you are tired the whole day, or you are injured or you are mentally drained to do it the next day or the next.
Giving 100% all the time does not work.
This new year, consider a new thought: Workout or train with 80% intensity, in 80% of the workouts for 80% of the week.
- 80% of week = 5 days approx (rounding it down)
- 80% of 5 days = 4 days approx (rounding it down)
- 80% intensity = 7 to 9 on RPE – Rated Perceived Exertion. Difficult to be at 8 all the time and hence the range of 7-9.
- 1 day out of 5 keep the intensity between 80-90%. Try not to overshoot beyond 90%.
*RPE = Intensity of your activity based on your perception. It is a 1-10 scale. 1 being very light like watching a TV. 10 being max effort like out of breath and cannot talk.
Why 80% intensity?
- You have something in your tank to go about doing your other work.
- You should feel strong and not drained.
- Quality of the workout would not suffer. Bad form will not creep in thus avoiding injuries.
- You will keep getting stronger because you are out of your comfort zone.
- Your CNS (central nervous system) will not get overloaded thus ensuring higher motivation levels for the next day.
So, give it a shot – Workout or train with 80% intensity, in 80% of the workouts for 80% of the week.
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