12 Months of Fitness: Challenge #5 – Increase Your Intensity

Are you ready for your next 12 Months of Fitness (#12MoF) challenge? For the next month, your goal is to increase your weights during strength training and/or up the incline on your cardio workouts.

Are you ready for your next 12 Months of Fitness (#12MoF) challenge? Check out the introduction to 12 Months of Fitness here.
My testers have been tackling this challenge since mid-March and are
sharing their experiences with increasing the intensity of their strength training and cardio workouts.

12 Months of Fitness: Challenge #5 – Increase Your Intensity


12 Months of Fitness: Challenge #5 - Increase Your Intensity

For the next month, your goal is to increase your weights during strength
training and/or up the incline on your cardio workouts. The reason? After four
weeks, your body memorizes your routines and your muscles stop improving. That
means, that in order to continue to effectively burn the optimum number of
calories and continue toning your muscles – you must change up your work-out
routine every 4-6 weeks. And the changes can be as simple as changing up your
weights and reps or upping the incline during your cardio workouts by 5% Every
little change works your body. Suggestions for accomplishing this are:

  • When you’re doing your cardio – try doing
    your regular workout  but at the next incline level. So, if you normally
    walk at 1% incline, try walking at 2% incline instead.
  • Move up to the next weight during strength
    training. If you can’t do all your reps/sets at new weight then do as many sets
    as you can and switch down to your “old” weight for the last one (for each
    exercise).
  • Try incorporating interval training into
    your cardio. For every 5 minutes you work-out, do 1-2 minutes at the highest
    incline you can handle. For the remaining minutes, return to your normal
    incline.
  • Keep in mind that nearly every cardio
    machine at the gym will not mimic the standard incline that walking/running
    outdoors will. In order to match that, you’ll need to consider 1% your lowest
    incline. Pretend 0% doesn’t even exist.
  • Want to really push yourself during strength
    training? Try doing 5 sets of 5 reps of each exercise at the highest possible
    weight you can (while still maintaining proper form). This is what I do during
    strength training and I love it!
  • Try doing drop sets during your strength
    training. For each exercise, start with the highest weight and do 1 set of 12
    reps. Then do the next weight down and 1 set of 10 reps and then another weight
    down and 1 set of 8 reps. Finally, use the next weight down and continue to do
    reps until you experience muscle fatigue.

And to help you stay motivated, here's how it's working out for our #12MoF testers (you can meet them over on our Facebook page!):

"I
just got back into weight training so for many exercises, I didn't feel ready
to up the weight. I did increase the weight for my biceps curls and bench press
(I workout alone at home so I am very careful about increasing BP weight). I
also added 15-20-second planks to my routine. In a couple of weeks I'm going to
increase the weight for my triceps and lats." {Ariella}

"This
was the toughest challenge so far because I hadn't lifted weights in forever!
My fiancé had me start doing (tough!) interval training on the treadmill and
elliptical, and my arms always felt like jello after lifting weights (10-15
lbs. dumbbells, no more 5-8 lbs. for me!) or doing kettle bell swings. I
really do feel like I see faster results by incorporating weight training,
though. I always thought doing just cardio would do the trick… nope." {Kaleena}

"My workout of choice
is yoga, so I had to adapt this month's challenge a bit for my situation. I
decided to turn up my strength training by focusing on improving my chaturanga, or yoga push-up. I
threw more reps of chaturanga into my practice than what was typical for me,
and tried to hold them longer. I have been THRILLED with my progress and am
going to keep working on this strengthening pose to get my arms ready for
summer!" {Elizabeth}

See? You CAN do it! Share your #12MoF struggles/triumphs with Tulle
Nation on Twitter, our Facebook page, or take photos on Instagram. Be sure to use the hastag #12MoF so we can all support you!

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