There is a reason why high intensity training, and I mean true high intensity training, is tough. It takes a some serious self reflection, commitment, mental strength, and I hate to say it, but willingness to fail. Training at very high levels of intensity, again, I mean true high levels (I’ll get to this in a minute) is hard to swallow. It’s the difference between studying physics and math. Trust me, I’m no good a either, so I feel like I can speak their respective difficulty!
This is all driven by one's willingness to be exposed to failure. Failure is where we truly learn about ourselves and truly find success. Watching my 7th grader fail a math quiz is exactly what it took for her to turn it around and get straight A’s in math. You have to be willing to see what your own personal edge is, you have to be willing to try it once and just once, then and only then do you learn 2 things:
I will be ok if I take it all the way to the end and a step beyond. (And you will be ok, but you have to see for yourself.
This feedback is all you have for how hard you should be working any given day. Without the knowledge of what your edge is, then you can only be guessing at how fast to run, or how much weight to lift.
The knowledge of where you currently have an end point, (aka your edge) gives you the understanding of how to get better. You don’t have to live in that scary place, but at least you have something to compare it to. It is rather eye opening.
The scientific definition of intensity is force/distance over time. It is not how red your face gets, how much you sweat, or even how high your heart rate is. (!) We can determine intensity by doing a blood lactate test. But, since we're not in a lab, we have to find a way to identify intensity. In the studio we do it be testing your edge and ultimately finding failure.
The payoff is not only in the health benefits, but also your physique. Athletes who live in a world of training that includes short bouts of intensity tend to have lean, chiseled bodies like sprinters. In contrast with many of our endurance athletes who are more slight and more frail.
It’s true, these workouts that are high in intensity are tough, but the thing is, the body adapts to this work in a way that shows results, makes us healthier, and creates a better all around athlete.
Sooo.... just try it .... find your edge!