In order to reach your fitness goals, it’s important to understand what an intense workout is. Let’s say you’re getting into working out as a new thing, but you’re not getting the results you want. Or, maybe you’ve been working out for a while but you seem to have hit a brick wall. Or, finally, maybe your experience with physical fitness is lacking, but you have some big goals in mind. Wherever you are, in order to make progress toward the goals you’ve set, you’ll have to define and carry out intense workouts. Easy workouts may be stress relieving or a fun hobby, but they’re more likely to just sustain your current physique, as opposed to progressing toward weight loss goals or muscle gain goals. If you are in it for bigger goals, or if you have something specific to accomplish, understanding the definition and value of intense workouts is a must.

Given that everyone comes from differing backgrounds and experience levels when it comes to working out, let’s take some time to define what an intense workout is. Here are three defining factors of a really intense workout:

  1. High Exertion – Often, trainers refer to a scale of exertion, which is just a ranking of your effort during a workout. Just like your doctor may ask you to rate your pain 1-10, try to rate how you feel during a workout. If you’re at a 1, then maybe you’re flailing legs forward on a treadmill, but you can also have a conversation on the phone and eat at the same time. The 7-8 range comes in when you can’t talk any longer and your body is producing a good amount of sweat. Give yourself a 10 when you’ve maxed out and literally can’t go on. If you’re working around a 7 or more, the amount of energy you are exerting can be defined as intense. Some people find it helpful to use supplements which target your metabolism and mental focus during workouts. You can try products such as PWO-Max to greatly increase energy and focus to get the results you want.

  2. Increased Heart Rate – Being familiar with your resting heart rate is part of understanding what a healthy rate is, and what you should strive for in a workout. If you don’t have a Fitbit to measure your heart rate while working out, there are likely metallic heartrate sensors on your machine if you’re at the gym. By using a heart rate calculator, you can easily find out what an ideal target is for your workouts. By maximizing your target heart rate for short periods of time, your workout could be considered an intense workout. HIIT, or high interval intensity training, uses bursts of high-energy periods separated by low-energy periods to increase your heart rate drastically for a more intense workout, and to burn more calorie. For instance, doing 10 sets of 30 seconds sprinting/30 seconds walking can be more effective in calorie burning than a full hour of moderate cardio exercise. Since the body grows accustomed to a consistent form of exercise, HIIT workouts produce a drastic range of heartrate, which in turn works to jump-start the body to use stored bodyfat for energy. This type of intense workout isn’t for everyone, but is a great way to reach your goals.

  3. Post-Workout Fatigue – The mentality going into Intense workouts can also be defined by how you feel after the workout. Intense workouts are challenging not only for the body, but for the mind as well. Having the willpower to keep going when it becomes uncomfortable is a specific skill that makes you stronger. Some who engage in intense workouts challenge themselves so hard that they describe intense workouts as feeling the need to vomit after the workout. However, others describe the after-effect as simply being physically or mentally exhausted, which can be a very positive feeling. It’s letting your mind know you’ve done something good. After exerting so much energy to help reach your goals, your body’s exhaustion functions as an indicator that you’ve done something right—something intense!


Even though intense workouts can be defined in different ways, there are some common things that indicate you’re doing meaningful, engaging, and intense workouts. The more energy you exert in workouts, the more intense and effective they will be. Exercise can range from walking to your next meeting to doing an intense HIIT sprint. But if you have big goals, your focus should tend toward more engaging, demanding, and more intense workouts.

Keep in mind things like target heart rate the next time you’re working out. Also, think about physical exertion and how you feel during a workout, as well as how you feel afterward. Your body is smart enough to tell your mind that you’ve done something good, even in feeling the post-workout exhaustion!


  • Sep 25
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  • Alex Osherow
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