Stick figure hoisting a heavy barbell overhead.

Optimal Intensity: Why minimal effort will lead to minimal results.

Overtraining! It is something you hear about often; but we would venture to say less than 2% of gym goers have the potential to suffer from it (overtraining). Actually recently FFT Owner Mike has been paying closer attention than usual to what is happening in the gym. What he has observed; he has found on average 10% are working hard; 20% are giving it their best effort & roughly 70% are just going through the motions. Unfortunately 10% will get decent results, 20% will improve and 70% will stay exactly the same, assuming decent nutritional input. Anything is likely better than nothing so let’s just get that out of the way. To the 70%; it’s ok; you only know what you know so assuming you are reading this; you want to get improve!

What is the optimal intensity to achieve consistent and sustainable results?

Ask this question to twenty professional trainers you will likely get twenty slightly different answers. But let’s start first by saying what we believe optimal intensity is not. Optimal intensity is not doing cardiovascular exercise where you aren’t even slightly out of breath, lifting weights which don’t challenge you, lifting weights too heavy for you, doing cardio machines on level one, focusing on only one or two muscle groups each week when strength training & possibly even doing too much for your experience level.

By learning what to avoid; you have essentially learned what TO DO.

Three types of gym goers exist. Beginners, intermediate & advanced. What is required to get results will change with each successive level of person. Beginners will need the least; advanced will need the most (time, intensity, etc).

Obviously if you want a specific plan for yourself that will take into consideration YOU (health history, injuries, goals, & body type) you should reach out to Formal Fitness Training or another credible fitness company but here are some standards to strive for.

Lastly I will touch on intensity required for results; for weight training you want to be able to complete the recommended repetitions and leave one or two repetitions in the tank (repetitions you don’t complete) this way you are pushing near failure (inability to complete another repetition) but you are unlikely to hurt yourself. For cardiovascular exercise I would recommend a minimum of level three on cardio machines and make sure you feel as though you are at a perceived exertion of about 7/10. Perceived exertion is how hard you think you are working. 

We are here to help you improve and support your mission to improve yourself & we certainly don’t want anyone to feel attacked but with that being said we believe many of you can be pushing yourself 10% harder then you are right now and that will yield consistent & sustainable results. If you use some of the tips in this article you will also minimize risk of injury so you can keep going to the gym and improving for many years to come.


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