Ever hear the phrase "Go heavy or go home?" This basically means train as heavy and as hard as you can. Intensity matters... big time. It is not necessarily the workload however. It is the amount of effort you put in to each and every repetition.
Turn Up The Intensity
If you are just going through the motion of each movement, you will reap few results. You must execute each repetition with strict form and the right amount of force (weight).
You don't want to take too much rest between sets; move from one set to the next relatively quickly. The idea here is to keep the heart rate elevated. For example, if you are doing an arm curl and your next exercise is an arm extension, do the curl, wait 10-15 seconds, and then do the extension.
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Use a weight you can perform the desired numbers of reps with. If you are doing twenty reps, then use lighter weight. Make sure the last two are damn near impossible to get. Do not break form to get a rep, and stop when form break occurs.
Try not to exercise more than seventy-five minutes in one session, this includes cardio. Warm-up for five to ten minutes on the cardio equipment, weight train for about forty minutes using proper technique and timing, and keep your heart rate elevated during weight training.
You should finish the workout with a one half hour cardio session. Try to train four to five times per week. Do a cardio session at least four times per week. Try running two of the days for cardio.
Sometimes, do the cardio first and then follow with the weight training. Just make sure you maintain an elevated heart rate. This will give you a chance to mix up the workout a bit. Always remember, training with proper form is most important. Do not sacrifice form for a repetition, a poor one at that. Pretty soon, your whole set would be poor and results compromised.
There are many different ways to train. Intensity must be present in all types of training. This is the foundation for a successful program. Whether you are lifting heavier weight or doing more repetitions, do it with intensity and you are sure to get results. By not resting long between sets, you get more work done in a shorter period of time. You can accomplish more by staying focused and training intensely in one half hour, than you can by taking longer breaks.
Try to form good habits. Bad habits are so hard to break and can hinder your training. Train with a professional once in a while to keep your workouts fresh. Share what you know with others. Information is power, empower someone.
Sometimes music helps us become more intense during the workout. Invest in an iPod or mp3 player. I know that it personally helps me. I workout just a little harder or run just a little faster with the music playing. Thus, making the workout more intense.
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Find what works for you. Some people don't like the music. Some like watching television; others will read a book or magazine during cardio. What ever will keep you moving is what you should use for motivation.
Remember, work out for no more than seventy-five minutes, and only stop when form is broken, keep the intensity level high, and find your motivation. Only you know if you are just going through the motions or turning up the intensity.