Energy and Intensity

Pictured are two glasses of water. One is full, one is filled part way. Each represent the amount of available energy that you may have on a given day. Some days you have plenty or perhaps even a surplus. Others you may feel drained or don’t have much in you. This example can help you understand and come to terms with your "bad days" and understand there really shouldn’t be a bad day, so long as you have a proper mindset. Let’s consider the trait most commonly associated with results in a fitness program, intensity.

Intensity: amount of effort versus available energy. If you had 10 units of energy and expended all 10 units.

Now imagine that today’s WOD is a benchmark, one you’ve done before and you’re not having your best energy day, let’s say a 5 out of 10. The energy require to set a new record on this workout is probably 10 or close to 10. You can start now getting comfortable with the idea you are not always going to PR. What is important is tht you have 5 units of energy available and that if you use all of them you can still hit 100% intensity (where training effectiveness happens) without setting your best time.


Your ability to consistently bring the intensity each day is what will determine your results over time.


To be clear, just because you expend energy doesn’t mean you’ll continue to get fitter forever. At some point you will have to improve your efficiency in order to improve your intensity… so you might as well start working on the efficiency immediately.

Efficiency: amount of needed to complete a task verus amount of energy expended to complete the task.

Time to use your imagination again. Take one of the glasses from above, based on how you’re feeling today, Full of energy or not so full. Take that imaginary glass and dump that water into another empty glass. The amount of water in the new glass as compared to the first glass is efficiency. How much of the energy transferred exactly towards the goal. 

The movement example… 200lb Deadlift moving 2 feet(from floor to full extension). 400 foot(lbs) of work is how much work the perfect deadlift will use. Now consider if instead of that 2 foot straight line from floor to standing you traveled an extra foot(started with the bar out in front, you stripper bootied it up, and then hitched at the knee). 200lbs x 3ft= 600ft(lbs). In our efficiency equation we get 400/600= 66% efficient… not so good. So what happened you’ve now expended more energy on one rep that you didn’t need to. Now you’ll do less reps and lose intensity!


Use the water glasses to help you set your daily expectations, create your intensity goals and keep your training effective!



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