Calculating Intensity For Weight Loss

Calculating Intensity For Weight Loss and Muscle Tone

How do we calculate intensity and how can we apply it for each person?

First we can apply a basic rule of exercise principles called FITT which stands for Frequency Intensity Time and Type. The good news is that when the Intensity is high the Time is shorter and the Frequency is reduced, so you train for less time and less often. The limiting factor is our stores of muscle glycogen and our capabilities to recover from exercise.

The Intensity of the weight training workout is tailored for each person’s strength and fitness levels, although the same components still apply for each person. Here are the factors that affect the Intensity. Warm up, weight, reps, sets, time, rest between sets, technique and exercise selection – how we manipulate these factors will dictate the intensity and hence the effectiveness of the workout specifically for each person.

Warm Up

The contractile potential of a muscle or group of muscles is limited by its specific temperature. Hence if the muscle is cold we can not achieve a high level contraction or number of contractions sufficient enough to stimulate any change in the composition of the muscle fiber. It’s a bit like putting an elastic band in the freezer and then stretching the band apart, it will snap with very little pressure If we leave the band in warm water for a few minutes and then pull it apart the elasticity will greatly increase. Warm up for weight training is body part specific starting on a light weight and then progressing the weight with each set in combination with proper technique allowing us to recruit more muscle fiber as the temperature increases The more fiber we recruit the more fiber we will breakdown and the more energy will be required to rebuild the muscle. By incorporating appropriate stretching techniques in conjunction with the progression in weight and the increase in muscle temperature we can safely execute what we call a high intensity set causing a positive physiological response in the muscle or group of muscles.

Progressing the resistance with each set creates what we call a peak set or high point that will produce the stimulus to encourage your body to burn more calories every day 365 days per year.


The whole process of muscular overload is dependent on resisting the natural movement of the body with weight. How much weight we select is dependent on whether we are doing a warm up, intensive set or what type of exercise, how many reps we want to do, what range of movement we are going to use and what degree of fatigue we are looking for from the set. Hence there is no such thing as a heavy weight or light weight it is relative to what we want to achieve.

When we refer to Progressive Overload, it is the progression of resistance placed upon the adapting muscle Through proper levels of intensity and rest our muscle groups and nervous system will adapt and require progression with intensity levels and this may require a gradual progression in weight. However it is important to emphasize that we are not entering a weight lifting competition and the weights we will use are controlled with proper training technique. Gut bursting exertions are not required.

Reps Sets Time and Rest

A rep is a unit of movement controlled by technique. A set is a number of reps completed with a particular amount of weight. Time or rest is the amount or recuperation time between sets. These components are compounded together. The ability to manipulate these factors allows us to adapt the intensity levels in innovative ways so each individual is challenged in precisely the right way on every workout.

Exercise Technique

The over riding factor controlling the safe and effective use of weight training is technique and more than anything influences the intensity levels of each workout. A trainer requires a thorough understanding of advanced anatomy and biomechanics in order to apply the elements of technique .As with the relation of sets reps and weight the components of technique are even more important.

Grip or Stance

Effects the emphasize of the exercise and can be manipulated to enhance the effectiveness and safety of an exercise posture.

This component is crucial to the proper functioning of the particular body parts been trained. Correct alignment allows for proper biomechanics and better contraction in the primary muscle groups. This adds to the safety and intensity of the exercise.

Speed of movement

All weight training movements are separated into the concentric and eccentric action. We don’t just lift weights we need to lower them as well and lowering or eccentric part of the movement needs to be significantly slower to maintain maximum contraction. This technique has the general effect of decreasing the amount of weight required for the exercise and allows us to maintain high levels of intensity with lighter weights.

Line of movement

The line of movement through which the weight travels is primarily affected by the posture and grip. This can be manipulated to by controlling the travel of the bar or dumbbell to enhance the contraction of the muscle groups whilst reducing the stress on joints and connective tissue.

Range of movement

The distance we lower and raise the weight is called the range of movement. This range of movement is again effected by other factors and in simple terms can be varied for particular training effects and for the suitability of each individuals biomechanics.

Controlled use of proper technique will allow you to achieve optimum levels of intensity on every workout with minimum strain and maximum effects with regard to your physical condition.

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