Two guys (or girls for that matter) can do the same exact fitness routine with the exercises, the same number of sets, and the same number of reps, yet still have two completely different outcomes as for positive results (not accounting for genetic differences or anabolic aids).
The intensity of how each rep and set of each exercise is done. You've probably heard the phrase "you get out what you put in." That is the heart of intensity.
Intensity is very difficult to put into words. You either get it or you don't. According to the dictionary, intensity is the extreme degree of strength, force, energy, or feeling. A measure of the amount of energy transmitted.
Exceptionally great concentration, power, or force. Intensity is all of these. All of these make a difference in your workouts. Intensity goes hand in hand with overload. Sure, just plain overloading the muscles with more weight will increase your strength and muscularity to a degree.
Train intensely with progressive overload together and the stress produced on the muscles will force them to adapt and grow bigger and stronger. A certain synergy (working well together) is created.
Intensity involves a certain mind-body connection. It is both mental and physical. You literally have to feel the rep, feel the range of motion, and feel the stress on the muscles. Sounds corny, but if you are doing the exercise just to get it done, you will not see good results.
You know when you have a really INTENSE workout. I am willing to bet that this was also a really GOOD workout. You remain focused, nothing distracts you, and each and every rep feels light. Everything just goes perfectly. This is intensity.
No matter which exercise it is you are doing, it will benefit if you use the utmost intensity while doing it. When you can continuously harness this intensity, the gains you make will truly amaze you.
Past studies have shown that the likelihood of injury to the body is reduced as the degree of intensity is increased. If you are comfortable with the intensity you currently use, KICK IT UP, USE MORE. Always try to outdo yourself. Try to hit a higher "peak." This is what separates modest gains from superb gains.
You must have the desire to change your body from where it is now. Without desire, you are setting yourself up for failure. You must want your goal bad enough that you are willing to endure some short-term pain to receive these goals.
Link pleasure to working out and pain to missing workouts. You must condition your mind. Stop talking yourself out of going to the gym and start talking yourself into it. With this program, you have been given a point in the right direction; you now must put forth the effort to go where you want to go. Soon I will offer a list of exercises to do.
If you do them just to get them done without putting forth a complete, intense effort, I will not be surprised if you do not reach your fitness goals. I would be more surprised if you did reach them.
The most effective repetition range for most, if not all, exercises is 4-to-6 repetitions. It is much easier to maintain maximum intensity for lower reps than it is for higher reps. These short, intense bursts of energy with maximum overload are what will cause future muscle growth.
Keeping your workout close to 30-45 minutes will allow you to maintain maximum intensity throughout the workout. It is difficult, if not impossible, to work out with extreme intensity for an hour.
Only training one or two muscle groups per workout will allow you to focus more intensely on those groups. Never train the whole body in one workout. How can you possibly maintain maximum intensity this way?
Intense exercise significantly affects the release of growth hormone and other anabolic (muscle-building) hormones in the body. Once again, these short, intense bursts of exercise are a catalyst for growth hormone release.
There are going to be days that you do not feel like going to the gym. There will often be legitimate excuses why you shouldn't. Family emergencies, an injury, and sickness are a few.
But not going because you just don't feel like it is no excuse. By all means, if you are nursing an injury or the flu, stay in bed at home and rest. Any form of physical activity under these conditions would put you further behind.
If you are just a little tired or fatigued or had a bad day at work, do not allow your mind to talk your body into skipping your planned workout. It should not be that easy to just want to miss a workout. If you are tired from working a long day, often times a good, intense workout is the perfect remedy to make you feel better.
I do not necessarily advocate using supplements for energy before a workout, but sometimes you need a kick in the pants to get going. A coffee shortly before working out may give you that extra boost that is needed to get you through a workout.
I have tried many "energy-enhancers" on the market, and some are quite powerful, but they should not be used with any regularity. Try to "naturally" get pumped up for your workout. That is why it is important to have strong reasons for wanting to go to the gym. You must have a "driving force" to keep you going when the going gets tough.
From this point on, make the pact to yourself that each and every REP, SET and EXERCISE you do will be with the utmost intensity. When it is time to do your set, it is ALL business. Focus on the task at hand, moving as much weight as you can with as much energy as you can.
While you are doing your set, nothing else in the world matters but performing this set to the best of your ability. Once it's done, you cannot get it back. It is just you and the exercise.
You want to consistently try to hit a new "high peak" when doing an exercise. Warm-ups can lack a certain bit of intensity for it is more important to train intensely on your heavy sets, but your warm-ups should not lack focus.
Working out with the utmost intensity is the deciding factor between getting results and wasting your time.