All About the Intensity

Does a ‘Good Sweat’ always equal a ‘Good Workout?’  It depends, honestly.   Sweating is definitely a large part of WODing.  So is a high heart rate, and pain and suffering.  We can elicit a good sweat by pacing back and forth in the summer heat, or telling someone they will be a key note speaker to an audience of thousands in 5 minutes.

But in our world sweating is not, by itself, equivalent to a great workout.  Nor are any of the other markers by themselves (heart rate, pain) etc.  A good workout in our world is equivalent to Intensity, or Power.  And Intensity is moving large loads, long distances, quickly.  Intensity is where the good stuff is.  Whatever you want out of this program, burn fat, build muscle, get stronger, go faster, more flexibility, punch harder, jump higher, get better at Oly lifting, you will achieve it with higher intensity workouts, not less.  And high intensity workouts are fast and hard and uncomfortable.  It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking longer, lighter workouts are better for you.  But the more advanced athletes know it is not the 30 or 40 minute WODs that are to be feared, nor are the 20 minute AMRAPS, (though both are very important and very hard), but the 5 minute AMRAPS, the sprints, the max efforts, the reps to failure.  How long does a 400 meter or 800 meter sprint take?  How about a 500 m or 1K row?  A fast Fran or Helen?  Would you consider them easy or pleasant?  Our world is work capacity based, movement and capacity based, and all other markers are only correlates.

Long sweaty workouts are famous for fat burning.  Jogging on the beach for 30 minutes (aerobic, low intensity) absolutely burns more fat than, say a 5 minute ‘Fran’ (anaerobic, high intensity.)  But the fat burning effect in the 30 minute jog stops immediately when you stop, whereas the fat burning effect of a 5 minute Fran that wrecked your life stays with you for 12 to 18 hours, and has up to 9 times the fat burning effect of the 30 minute jog.

Below are a few more links on the same topic:

Fundamentals, Virtuosity, Mastery, article by Greg Glassman
The Metabolic Pathways
, post by Zeb
Anaerobic vs Aerobic Training
, post by Zeb
Anaerobic vs Aerobic lecture video
, 15 minute video with Greg Glassman, discussing the same information from the above articles