Thursday, October 9, 2008

Boredom and intensity cannot co-exist


We've heard it more than once and may have said it ourselves a time or two - the word as in boring or bored. Younger people, kids especially, say it all the time - "I'm bored" or "it's boring". I once heard my little niece say that she was bored to which I replied that if she was bored it means she's boring. She hasn't been bored since.

You'll often hear the B word when someone says that running is boring and that's why they don't run, but it isn't limited to running. You'll also hear it in discussions of exercise in general, particularly by someone whose newbie zeal has worn off and the grind and routine of regular training has settled in.

To everyone who says they are bored with their workouts or that running is boring, I have the same reply as I did for my niece; if you are bored it means you're boring. And it also means that your training lacks intensity.

The person most likely to say that running is boring is a trotter, a slow jogger, one whose idea of running is moving at a snail's pace for 30 minutes to an hour. Thumping their feet that barely clear the ground with each stride as they run in an up and down feet-dragging fashion; almost as if they're running in place.

The other bored fitness buffs can be found in the gym doing the same day-in and day-out workout they've always done. Three sets of 8 reps of this and 3 sets of 8 reps of that of the same exercises with about the same weight and with about the same rest between sets, maybe favoring exercise machines rather than free weights because they afford more sitting opportunities. Not only are their minds bored but so are their muscles.

What should they do to rid their miserable selves of the boredom? The answer is simple - get rid of the B word and replace it with the I word as in.   I've never seen someone running a mile as fast as they can afterwards say that they were bored. Nor have seen someone who just completed a tough CrossFit circuit workout for time afterwards say that they were bored.

Intensity provides greater strength demands to keep muscles guessing, greater anaerobic demands on the cardiovascular system, and does a better job of stimulating the body's natural production of human growth hormones.

But guess what? Intensity feels uncomfortable because it elevates the heart rate, makes breathing harder, and requires more strength exertion and muscular endurance. It's real fitness work at its finest, not the leisurely stuff like reading a magazine while striding on the elliptical machine slow enough to be going backwards.

So next time you say that you are bored with your workouts or that running is boring, remember that if you are bored it means you are boring. Replace your boredom-based workouts with some intensity-based workouts because boredom and intensity cannot co-exist.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

4 comments:

Charles Long said...

You are absolutely correct. I haven't been bored with my workouts ever since I stopped doing wimpy workouts and started doing high intensity body weight circuits. Good post.

pierini said...

Thanks for your comment Charles and thanks for stopping by.

I must admit that if I ever get bored it will be my best kept secret because I wouldn't want anyone to think that I am boring.

Have a great day!

CliffA74 said...

Amen, and Amen!
I have YOU to thank for telling me to up my intensity when I run/jog/trot.
You said I might feel like I'm going to die, but I wont be bored.
I took your advice, and have not looked back.

Thank you!

pierini said...

AttaCliff, give yourself a pat on the back for looking Mr. I in the eye and not backing down.

And do keep your pedal to the metal.

Have a great day!