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How High Intensity Exercise is a Key to Optimal Health

I see you person on the outside of our gym looking in. I see you stalking our social media wondering when the next “sale” will be to help push you to get started. I know you’re there, because I was there too. 

For years, I stalked CrossFit gyms before I ever stepped foot in one. “Why are they sweating so much?” “Do they know they don’t have to work that hard to stay fit?” I wondered to myself, content in my globo-gym routine. 

I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I’m no stranger to sweating or getting beat in the Florida heat. But when it came to CrossFit and HIIT (high intensity interval training), I didn’t get the point of putting yourself through such pain. And then they call these workouts “fun”? How is that even possible? 

Now that I have done high intensity exercise for over 11 years and over 3000 workouts, I think I’m starting to understand why they’re so vital. That’s a joke of course, we wouldn’t be programming these type of workouts if we didn’t believe in their potency. 

But let’s answer that question of “WHY”…”WHY workout so HARD?” “Can I be fit without sweating so much and breathing so hard?”

You can make your definition of “fit”, fit whatever standard you want to have for yourself. I know I did back in my globo gym days…but there was a whole level of fitness beyond what I was experiencing. 

That higher level of fitness emerges from the many benefits that come from high intensity training (HIT). 

Let’s HIT on a few (pun intended):

  • Burn more calories throughout your day. Apple watch users may say, my BeachFit workout only registered a few hundred calories burned. But rest assured your watch worries, because HIT will help you burn more calories AFTER your workout. The benefits don’t stop when the clock does. The “afterburn” effect is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), if you’d like to research it further.
  • More efficient metabolism. Related to calorie burning is how well your metabolic furnace works. This helps you burn more fat off your body and helps regulate energy levels through your day. You’ll also experience efficient metabolism in your workouts when you feel energized. Feeling sluggish after a month off from workouts can be partially due to your body not efficiently burning the energy inside you. (No worries, it will come back!)
  • Improved insulin sensitivity. HIT has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is a very serious subject for overweight individuals, as insulin resistance has been linked to heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and more. 
  • Healthy heart. By using your cardiovascular system to it’s fullest, you’re strengthening your heart and blood vessels. Reducing the risk or heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditons. Researchers are just scratching the surface on seeing how connected things like VO2 Max and HRV (heart rate variability) are to health and longevity. Both of these are improved by doing workouts with higher heart rate ranges. 
  • Better nutrient absorption and waste clearing. Better circulation means oxygen can get to the places it needs to go along with needed nutrients. It also means waste products can clear out the body faster. Sweating is another way your body clears out toxins. 
  • Clears your mind and helps you focus. More blood to the brain and an efficient burning metabolism will ensure your brain works at it’s best. People will often say how a morning workout is needed before their workday. 
  • Happy hormone response. Endorphins are released with HIT that will give you a “high” similar to what drugs can do. Oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin have all been known to be released with HIT. These are key to combat feelings of stress, overwhelm, anxiety and depression. Not to mention, the group setting in HIT classes gets you laughing, smiling, and connecting with others. Another big way to release these hormones.
  • Well rounded strength. When we perform HIT workouts, we hardly ever isolate one muscle. This variety and combination of movements engages our neuromuscular system and strengthens that connection between brain and body. These workouts will also build a strong base of legs, a solid core through your middle, and a firm grip to be able to hold and handle anything life throws at you. 

All these benefits should be more than enough to start working out harder. You will achieve a higher level of health and fitness when you include a higher level of intensity into your workouts. 

We didn’t even mention the benefits of looking better in a bathing suit, making new friends and strengthening your bond with old ones, and getting IN and OUT of the gym in a very short amount of time, 45-60 min max! 

High intensity is 100% relative to the user. My high intensity at 39 years old is different than it was at 27. My high intensity is WAY different than your high intensity. That’s what is great about the workouts written out for you each day. Everybody can use their personal intensity gauge to get the most out of it for them. 

Push yourself in hard workouts at least 3x each week. You don’t have to get to the point of seeing FitTown unicorns or losing track of your car in the parking lot, but you do have to push yourself into the discomfort. 

Discomfort is where we grow. Don’t fight it…Fight for it. 

-Coach Tony