No one said that intensifying your workout would be easy. The moment that your body starts to grow accustomed to the workout that you’ve been doing is the moment that you need to step it up and intensify it. You can intensify in a few different ways – longer time, more repetitions, or more weight. It all comes down to what you are trying to do.
When it comes to working out in the gym, you may need to add weight to what you have already been doing. When it comes to swimming, you may need to intensify by trying to swim more laps at a time to build up your endurance.
There’s a psychological side to the workout when you have to push yourself further and increase the intensity. There’s going to be a voice working against you telling you it’s too hard and that you’re fine at the level you are at. You need to pull motivation from deep down in order to turn that voice off. Depending on who you are and what your drive is, this may be harder than it sounds.
You need to be honest with yourself and figure out why you are trying to accomplish a certain goal. Captain Matthew Webb was the first person to ever swim the English Channel unassisted. 51 years later, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel – and she did it about 7 hours faster than Webb did. These are impressive goals and take a significant amount of self-discipline.
In order to intensify a workout, the self-discipline has to be there – and this is psychological. You have to have a driving force behind each and everything that you do. You have to be willing to give up other things in your life to accomplish these goals. If you want to intensify a workout, you have to push and push.
When you are training, you have to train on a regular basis so that your body grows accustomed to training. You can take a day or two to rest, but then you have to go right back to it. You don’t have the luxury of taking a week or longer off because it could be enough to get you out of the habit – and this means that you would have to retrain your body and your mind.
If you do the same routine long enough, your body and mind have formed a habit of doing this. If you were to suddenly stop doing it, your body would crave it and your mind would give in as an attempt to give your body what it is asking for. Once you establish this psychological connection between your body and your mind, you have an “all systems go” for being able to reach your goals – and this includes being able to intensify your workout.
Regardless of whether you are looking to become stronger or build up your endurance (or both), you have to focus on the psychological aspect, not just the physical aspect. You will not be able to accomplish the physical if your mind isn’t involved. You won’t want to pick up the added weight or swim the extra lap in the pool. Your mind will convince the rest of you that doing something else is more important – and this simply cannot be allowed to happen.
Mind over matter is what’s needed. There needs to be a driving force to push yourself to take your workout to the next level.