By Jackie Babington
What REALLY is intensity?
'Exercise intensity refers to how much energy is expended when exercising. Perceived intensity varies with each person. It has been found that intensity has an effect on what fuel the body uses and what kind of adaptations the body makes after exercise. Intensity is the amount of physical power (expressed as a percentage of the maximal oxygen consumption) that the body uses when performing an activity' ( Thanks Wikipedia )
So the Open is over. The cheers of your team to pump you up and the handful of others in your heat is over. The 'got nothing to lose', 'I'll give it everything I've got, cause heck, it's the Open' and 'I'm gonna hit this one hard, cause this is my jam!' headspaces are over. I know everyone will have learnt something valuable in this years workouts (eg, time to work on muscle ups) and found new movements they can start to conquer after their first time hitting them in the Open.
But one thing a lot of us can tend to forget once it's all finished is, the intensity of these workouts helped us achieve. There were so many members I heard say 'I don't think I've ever pushed that hard in a normal workout'. Well, what I want to know is, why not? Now I'm not saying you should hit Open-like intensities in every single workout of the week. Of course, as everyday Crossfitters with things we still need to function for like kids, work, being able to walk down stairs and sit on the toilet effectively this doesn't work out awesome on a daily basis.
Intensity = Progress
As mentioned in the description of intensity, it is really important for progress as the higher the intensity the better chance you have of taking bigger steps forward with your training results. When we force our body more out of it's intensity comfort zone, then we are essentially forcing it to adapt to a new level of what we perceive to be challenging, both physically and mentally. Intensity, just like our our many other skills in CrossFit, is something we need to continually practice.
So the next time you hit a workout, part-way through, mentally touch base and see if you've got another gear you can kick up to and 9 times out of 10, I'm pretty confident to say there is always a little more you can push. If all else fails, refer back to how hard you pushed in the Open workouts to give you perspective on if you are giving the majority of workouts in your week, your all. You've got nothing to lose and lots to gain. Enjoy!