The Importance of Intensity

What is Intensity?

Intensity can be defined as the degree of effort, strength, force, or energy. At Foundation, we designate a varied intensity to each of our three days: BUILD (90%), POWER (80%), and GRIND (70%).


Why is it Important?

The amount of intensity in your workouts can be the difference between significant progress and minimal progress. The amount of intensity can also determine whether you are overtraining and risking injury OR training consistently in a sustainable way. In the long run, the latter will provide more efficient results. Appropriately pushing intensity on certain days while purposefully moderating intensity on other days helps design an effective, sustainable training program.


Intensity is Relative.

Intensity is relative to the individual. For example, the 70% row pace of an Olympic level rower is going to be far different from the 70% row pace of myself. Your available intensity can vary day to day based on a variety of environmental factors like stress, sleep, nutrition, water intake, and overall recovery. It is important to gain awareness around your body to control your relative intensity.


Why have different intensities? Shouldn’t we always go as hard as we can?

In short, NO. High intensity exercise is extremely beneficial as it pushes our bodies to adapt, however, high intensity exercise on a daily basis is not sustainable. Pushing to our limit with high intensity exercise results in stress on the body and therefore increased cortisol production. You may say— “But exercise is my stress relief! That’s when I let it all out!” That may be true for you mentally, however, your physical body does not discriminate between what is producing the cortisol. Your body just knows there is stress coming from somewhere. Eventually, day after day of high intensity exercise results in cortisol pouring over the top of your limit, which leads to overtraining, increased risk of injury, and often plateaus in performance.


What is Ideal?

As a Strength-Driven fitness space, Foundation bases intensity primarily around the amount of weight being lifted as well as the length of the conditioning portion of each day.


On BUILD days, we focus on absolute strength using a barbell. This is our heaviest lifting day, coming in at 90% intensity. It is also the shortest conditioning day, where we encourage more of a sprint pace.


On POWER days, we focus on explosive, athletic strength and power using primarily dumbbells and kettlebells. This is our moderate lifting day, coming in at 80% intensity. It is a moderate length conditioning day, where we encourage a moderate pace.


On GRIND days, we focus on mostly bodyweight strength using your… own bodyweight! This is our lightest lifting day, coming in at 70% intensity. It is a lengthier conditioning day, where we encourage an easier, very sustainable pace.


Each of these days shows up twice a week, allowing a balanced relative intensity throughout the week. You can fully expect to hear us encouraging you to speed up or load up on certain days and slow down or lighten up on others.


Have questions about intensity or how to approach your workouts? Reach out to one of our trainers next time you're in class!




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