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5 Reasons to Workout at High Intensity

Us CrossFit trainers are always preaching about how upping the intensity and how it is the key to fitness. While there is no doubt a need for the traditional style of low to moderate intensity cardio when it comes to overall fitness, here are five good reasons to keep the intensity up rather than down:

1.) High intensity workouts allow you to reap lots of the same benefits as traditional cardio. For example, both high intensity workouts and traditional cardio make your heart and lungs more efficient at utilizing and delivering oxygen to your muscles. However, you are able to receive these benefits in significantly less time with high intensity workouts versus longer (20 minutes or more) monostructural workouts (just running, rowing, biking, etc.) performed at a low to moderate intensity.

2.) Traditional cardio utilizes your aerobic system primarily; whereas, high intensity workouts utilize both your aerobic and anaerobic systems. This means that not only are you improving your oxygen efficiency, but you also develop more stamina, along with some power and strength.

3.) Working out at a high intensity keeps your body working well after you have finished exercising in order to regulate itself. This means that you continue to burn more calories simply by going on with your day after a high intensity workout.

4.) High intensity workouts tend to be less boring. We all need some excitement in our lives! Rather than simply running, rowing, or cycling for an extended period of time, high intensity workouts tend to be more creative with different movements rather than the same repetitive motion over and over. The more exciting or different the workout is, the more likely it is that you will actually do it!

5.) Perhaps the best benefit of high intensity workouts is that it improves insulin sensitivity. This makes your body better at stabilizing blood sugar levels. Pair this with a healthy diet and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success!

Again, the traditional style of cardio still needs to be trickled into your training in order to achieve well rounded physical preparedness, especially with how we define fitness (work capacity across BROAD time and modal domains). However, living primarily in the realm of higher (relative) intensity workouts, coupled with proper nutrition and recovery (sleeping, rest days, mobility), seems to give your body the best benefit in the most efficient manner.

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