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Effort Increases Fitness

Why are some people drenched with perspiration after a workout while others are barely winded? Fitness level and body chemistry are two reasons, but another that is seldom discussed is effort. The amount of effort each person exerts during a workout varies. This is especially true when the workout has become so tedious that no concentration is needed to complete it. It doesn’t matter if you are doing kickboxing, aerobics, weight lifting, yoga or martial arts, if you are not concentrating on the required movement, then you are not putting forth 100% effort.


Laborious effort is necessary during workouts to benefit the heart, circulatory system and muscles. As you become fit, you will need to increase your resistance, time, weights or an element that will make the workout harder to get the same benefits that you got when you started. This means that if a very fit person does the same exercises at the same intensity as an unfit person, the fit person will not garner the same health benefits. Each person should work up to 60 to 80 percent of his or her maximal heart rate (220 – current age). The unfit person will work out closer to the 60 percent and the fit person will work out closer to the 80 percent.


Many people think that personal fitness trainers don’t have to train anymore, because they work out during their job. Most trainers work out before or after work to get in their target heart rate zone to stay fit. If the trainer is used to running a five-minute mile, but the client runs a 12-minute mile, then the trainer is not exerting enough energy to break a sweat.


The trainer is burning calories, but the fitness level would actually decrease if this were continued. If a martial arts black belt only trained with white belts, then the white belts would benefit by being highly challenged, but the black belt would not be challenged enough to progress. 


This also means that people just starting a fitness routine should find their target heart rate and work up to it. Don’t think that you have to start there or you may find it so difficult that you give up. Plan ahead and start slowly. Tell yourself this is for the long haul, and you are going to increase your endurance level slowly so you do not hurt yourself or become discouraged. Build up to your target zone slowly and then increase as needed. This will not only help prevent injuries, but will also keep you motivated.


When a fitness routine becomes so easy that it can be done with no effort or without breathing heavily or feeling any exertion, then it’s time to train harder. Increasing the time or the level of training can help a person climb to a higher level. The old workout may be comfortable, but the routine should be changed every six to nine weeks to maintain a proper fitness level.


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