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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Do You Train In The Red Zone?

In order to get optimal results from fitness training of any kind, intensity is a key factor.

My world as it pertains to fitness started in the performance arena and later included the body composition realm as well. I started training in fitness and martial arts when I was 12 years old at a local karate school. I quickly learned that to be better at any physical thing, it required practice and intensity.

In order for me to get good enough to get my next belt or to win the sparring match against a better opponent, I had to train constantly and intensely, if I wanted it to happen any time soon.

Intensity during fitness training is often misunderstood. People commonly use heart rate monitors, rate of perceived exertion, feeling the burn and "getting a good sweat" to judge and rate intensity and exertion.

Back in the day, when I didn't know any better, I used all of these intensity gauging frauds. Then I realized that I only made significant progress when I pushed myself to a very hard and demanding level. I later named this hard and demanding level of exertion and intensity as the RED ZONE.

Then I adjusted my training program parameters to operate within the red zone. This red zone concept applies to all types and forms of fitness training. It implies operating within maximal or near maximal output on all events. We are talking about the 80-100% output, exertion and intensity level.

This means that you are constantly trying to improve your PR, 1RM, TIME, REPS and any other standard of measure including physique, weight, measurements, and bodyfat %.

For example: While in the Army, I had to run a certain pace in order to pass and max the 2 mile run. So every time I ran, I tried to beat my last time. In order to beat my last time, I had to run as fast as I could. I had to push myself as hard as I could for as long as I could.

Another example is the bench press. If I wanted to improve my PR and 1 rep max on the bench press, I had to lift heavier each time. Sure, there are many different programs that use percentage of your 1 rep max and other progressive set and rep counts to improve your performance and many work well. But I want to get better now! Not in 6 weeks or 3 months. So by operating in the red zone, I can increase my 1 rep max weekly or bi-weekly.

To operate in the red zone, it requires the right mental attitude. Run as fast as you possibly can. Lift as heavy as you possibly can. Do as many reps as you possibly can. Work towards beating your time, every time. Maximal output with extreme effort in everything that you do. Strive to max the event instead if merely passing it.

Many say that training like this is not productive or healthy. Many say that you can't sustain that level constantly. I call bullshit on that although you do have to train smart. Recovery, deloading plans and nutrition are all part of the concept. You do have to do these things in order to sustain operating in the red zone. It's an integral part of the concept.

Train hard, eat right and take care of yourself. If you operate in the red zone correctly, you are guaranteed success and that success will come now, not later.

So the next time you workout, push yourself as hard as you can and get your mind wrapped around that idea. Your brain will fight you on it. But your body will respond to the challenge and get better fast to meet the stress placed upon it.

That old bull about walking for 20 minutes, briskly, three times a week and follow a sensible diet plan is outdated and a waste of time. That's why everyone is still fat and weak. Get your nutrition plan straight and go sprint till you think your gonna die. Lift something so heavy (with proper form and technique of course) that you think you are gonna explode.

Train yourself to be comfortable in the red zone. Live there, exist there, desire to be there. Then you will accomplish great things. Give it a try. Mediocrity is for the losers in life. Strive to be the best that you can be in all aspects of life. The red zone is waiting. Get on it. Yesterday you said tomorrow. The red zone is today.

Dempsey's Resolution Fitness
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