Exercise: Finding the Right Intensity for You!


Mid way through last year I was in a bit of a state with my health. I was working with another personal trainer at the gym, lifting heavy weights, and following a training regime that required a fair bit of gusto!

After training for about six weeks this way, it became clear to me, that I was getting only a fraction of the gains I should have been seeing from the time and intensity I was training at.

I was so busy and all consumed by what was going on in my life – stressed, pushing myself, not getting enough sleep, and ignoring an injury that was perpetually getting worse, that I was not paying any attention to the niggling signals that were telling me I needed to pull back.

How do you feel after your train?

Energised? Happy? Fatigued to point of being unable to complete your daily tasks? Nap worthy? Run down? High? Angry? Deflated? Pumped up? Teary? Wired?

…often our body gives us a signal long before we pick up on it’s subtle cues…

Generally we should feel positive physically and emotionally after we work out! As I stated in a recent interview I did with the lovely Naturopath Jules Galloway, “Exercise is not a one size fits all kind of deal!” There is a time to go hard, and a time to go gently. What makes one person feel great, may make another completely wiped out.

Your training regime should…

Reflect what your realistic goals are (small timely steps to bigger goals). It should work in and around any injuries you may be nursing, match your current fitness levels so you feel confident to perform your workout, yet challenged. It should most certainly be life enhancing and support your current lifestyle to make life easier, happier and more energetic!

Personally, I love high intensity training! I love to sweat and feel like I am going to collapse at the end of my work outs (in a healthy, endorphin rush kind of way). I like being pushed – lifting weights, doing spin classes, boxing and practicing Bikram!

Having said that, last year when I had my “Aha moment” – I noticed I was feeling worse after training than if I was not training at all. Being in the industry, I know too well that my exercise regime should add to my well-being, not take from it.

So I took up swimming again (my favourite past time), I began stretching every day and walked the beach instead of charging up the lighthouse full pelt, which was further draining my already fried adrenals. I pulled right back, it was hard, but necessary.

Taking some time to drop it back a notch meant I could then go back and hit my favourite high intensity workouts with the energy they required, rather then dipping in to my dangerously low reserve tank without getting any of the gains.

If you are under a large of stress load at work, find it hard to stop moving (or thinking for that matter), have a competitive streak + ignore injuries, and have a fair bit on your plate, it may be time to include more yin forms of exercise like: yoga, swimming or Tai Chi. Practicing a physical activity that integrates mind + body, and allows you to slow down and re connect to your essence.

Conversely, if your constitution is sluggish, you find it hard to get motivated, and your energy levels are low from inactivity – you may consider higher intensity, yang type workouts: joining a group where you have accountability to turn up to each session is great for these types. Interval training and boxing are two great ways to lift your energy and increases your vibration to a more productive state! >> Byron ladies, my CFIT Program will shake things up if you’re stuck here, to get the details on joining (click here).

This doesn’t mean to say that you should always avoid boxing if you have a highly strung personality type, or you wont benefit from yoga if you have the temperament of a sloth.

Like my own discovery last year, there will be times when you should focus on different intensity levels, depending on where you’re at emotionally and physically. The trick is to tune in and listen to what your body needs in the given state of your health & lifestyle.

Though this is not always easy to do – I love to go hard, am a doer in life and therefore have a hard time accepting when I have to stop and slow down… it does feel nice when you begin to notice where your body is at and in return give it what it needs to feel healthy and energised.

Exercise should enrich your life, not wear you down.




What do you think? Comments welcome below...