The Right Exercise Intensity for Your Best Body

It's hard believe that longer and harder workouts don't always = more fatloss or a better body when virtually every fitness site you see these days screams out their hardcore workout message at you with bold titles and marketing slogans such as: Extreme this and Rip that or SWAT Warrior Turbo something or other.

I mean seriously, Turbo Barre! Since when did ballet barre crossover into "hiit" territory.  It's hard to escape the "Insanity" of more and harder but when it comes to real improvements you must focus on doing it right, getting better, and training smarter.  

the more exercise intensity myth

It's hard to ignore the hundreds of research findings from the past decade that found increasing exercise intensity for short bursts throughout your workout burns 9 times more fat in less time than steady state cardio.

Some of these studies even found that more intensity helps you manage stress better which is better for your heart too. Then there's the thousands of people (myself included) who get great results from dialing up intensity of workouts for a short time but when is more intensity not smart training? How do you know when moderate intensity exercise or even low intensity exercise is a better option than exercising like you're training for the crossfit games?

when moderate & low intensity exercise actually works better

High intensity exercise is a form of stress that is often not appropriate for 68% of American adults and 33% of American kids who are obese or overweight.  Most of them dealing with a variety of diseases including: diabetes, heart conditions, fibromyalgia, depression, cancer, pain syndromes, adrenal fatigue, etc.

A more intense workout routine could create more problems especially since most people dealing with health complications are nutritionally deficient and not healthy enough to recover from demanding exercises like the ones in the video.

According to Jayson and Mira Calton authors of Naked Calories, 6 or more hours per week of VERY strenuous exercise is enough to deplete your body of the very vitamins and minerals you need to get healthy and fit. If you're eating the typical American diet that includes factory farmed animals filled with hormones and antibiotics, pesticide produce, and highly processed carbs then too much hardcore exercise can make you less healthy and cause no or slow weight loss.

According to Holistic Health expert Paul Chek author of How to Eat Move & Be Healthy, "over-exercising can be every bit as bad as not exercising enough. It can cause immune system suppression, lead to increased upper respiratory infections, chronic fatigue, and a number of other maladies". In other words increasing exercise intensity when you're already stressed, sick, and nutritionally deficient means less health and no or poor results.

Now if you've seen all that demeaning "fitsipration" disguised as motivation such as "your workout is my warmup" it probably makes you feel that you need to "train insane beast mode" all the time otherwise you won't get results but remember that your body can only get better when it also gets healthy not when it's broken down further with exercise that increases stress hormones.

Finding The Right Exercise Intensity Tips

Below are some questions you can answer to determine how hard you need to exercise plus the simple 80/20 rule to dial up the intensity that works for everybody.

  • Are you obese or overweight or struggling with pregnancy or menopause weight gain?
  • Do you have a serious illness or are you recovering from one?
  • Are you suffering from chronic stress and stress related syndromes?
  • Do you have serious injuries, chronic pain, or severe postural issues?
  • Are you very physically active at your work, because of a sport or other?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then your best bet is to focus more on eating healthy foods that increase metabolism and to exercise at a moderate to easy intensity more often for a while. So instead of going hard all the time train at a moderate to easy intensity 80% of the time and add in bursts of higher intensity exercise 20% of the time.  

For example 80% of your workouts each week should be moderate and 20% should be slightly more intense. If you're working out 20-40 min. 6 days a week (and you should be) then 4-5 of your workouts should be moderate and 1-2 should be more intense.  You can also focus on non exercise activity thermogenesis throughout the day to boost metabolism further.  Modifying exercises and workouts to your current needs is actually easy to do as you can see in video below.

How to switch to 80/20 Exercise Intensity 

Once your health and fitness levels improve you can change the ratio or intense to moderate a bit and go 60/40 or 50/50 or even flip it to 80 intensity/20 moderate like my bodycon metcon fatloss plan. Remember that it's all about challenging your body progressively not just killing yourself every time you train.  As my favorite health and fitness expert Paul Chek says "train don't drain the body."  Watch video here to see how easy it is to modify intensity.

All the fitness plans here at ybff show you how to do this with every single circuit so you can train at the right level for your needs and get better results faster.  Need a routine that boosts health metabolism and jump starts results.  Get started with your best female figure plan.  It's simple and easy to customize to your level.