“I want to see if I can. I don’t know if I can. I want to find out. I want to see. I’m going to do what I always do: I’m going to break it down to it’s smallest form, smallest detail, and go after it. Day by day. One day at a time.” - Kobe Bryant
Balance beyond standing on one leg, in our habitual training, day after day, we must find a balance between high intensity training and low intensity training.
What does this look like in real time practice? Simply put, do a high intensity workout on Monday and a low intensity workout Tuesday. Repeat this cycle, day after day.
What is a high intensity workout? It’s any workout that gets your heart rate up to 70-90% of your maximum heart rate. How do I find my heart rate percentage? 220-Age = heart rate max. Then, multiply by .7 for 70% of heart rate max or .9 for 90%, .6 for 60%, etc...Or on the Rate of Perceived Exertion, or RPE scale of 1-10 where 1 is easy, 10 is hard, a 7, 8, or 9 (in this 7-9 range, it’s hard to have a conversation with someone).
Some examples of this kind of workout may be kickboxing, circuit training, sprints, long distance runs, fast dancing, swimming fast and/or long distances, heavy strength training and anything that takes you into the 7-9 challenge zone.
What is a low intensity workout? Now that you understand the RPE scale, any workout that feels more like a 5-7 (I put 7 in both high and low categories, because it may be high intensity for some people who are pregnant or have high blood pressure and low intensity for some people like athletes on some days). This only gets your heart pumping slightly more than it would in a resting state where you’re going for a walk or a slow jog, or 60-70% of heart rate max. Some exercises that qualify in this range are yoga, foam rolling, pilates, light banded resistance, walking, slow dancing and jogging, and stretching.
Why does balancing out these two workouts benefit me?
First, consider this question, what if I only do high intensity workouts? High intensity workout trains the mind and body to enter into a stressed out state, the sympathetic nervous system or fight or flight. This is an important state because it activates our response to danger. Plus, the stress hormone cortisol released during this stage can make us feel good on top of endorphins being released during exercise.
Back to Balance!
Do you see how switching up your workout intensity can reward your mind to feel good and prevent you from exhaustion and feeling over-stressed? Slow down, do some low intensity workouts between high intensity days. This will enhance your workout, just keep doing both and feel the difference.
Including soft tissue release aka foam rolling, stretching, and HIIT we can achieve our own self restoration and feel better as we workout while we’re having fun!
In Part. 2 I’m going to share with you how to get back to balance with strength training and share a sample weekly program that incorporates both HIIT and strength training!