4 signs you’re ready to increase workout intensity

4 signs you’re ready to increase workout intensity

Is your body is ready for more? Look out for these signs that you’re ready to increase your workout intensity level. If you start listening to your body and understand when it’s time to increase your physical challenge, it will help you to avoid hitting the dreaded exercise plateau.

Exercise is something that should be progressive in nature. As your body adapts to the increased demands that you place on it with your exercise routine, you should respond by slowly increasing the workout intensity. Training in this way will help you to keep improving and building on your results over time.

Athletes have trained in cycles that involve increasing the intensity, duration or load in their training routine for many years. It’s been proven to be a very successful way to continually keep your body improving. As a personal trainer and group exercise coach, I think that everyone can benefit from training in cycles and adapting their exercise routine every few months. Each workout cycle should be based on an individual’s response to an exercise program.

Our bodies all respond to a new exercise routine differently. In general, many people will start to notice some changes after following a plan consistently for 6-8 weeks. When you first start exercising, the physical changes that you go through and indicators that you’re physically improving tend to be quite pronounced. As you become fitter, knowing when it’s time to switch up the challenge becomes a little harder to notice.

01signs you’re ready to increase workout intensity

Bananas and Human Growth Hormone

Here are a few simple indicators that your current routine may be in need of a boost. Follow my simple tips on how you can increase your workout intensity.

It feels easy

This is if a routine used to provide you with a challenge but it now it seems easy. Your find yourself able to simply go through the motions without too much effort. It’s time to increase the difficulty level.

Tip: If you are only a few weeks into a new routine, increase the difficulty level by adding a balance challenge. This will provide you with an opportunity to work the small stabilizing muscle groups in your body.  Try using an upside down 1/2 ball for your squats. It will keep you focused throughout your routine.

Heart rate

If your time on the treadmill or cardio equipment used to get your heart rate up and have you feeling out of breath, but in recent days you seem to have a stable heart rate and can easily talk through your workout, it’s an indication that your cardiovascular fitness has improved. In order to push yourself and burn additional calories, you need to increase the challenge.

Tips: Increase the duration of your cardio workout if you wish to work on your endurance level. You can opt to increase your speed or incline if you wish to improve your strength and maximize your calorie burn.

Safety tip: Monitor your heart rate and be sure to keep it within the safe guidelines for your age and current fitness level. Your overall aim should be to push yourself to improve but not to push yourself too hard too soon. Most cardio equipment has a chart that will help you to understand the correct heart rate range for your age and your goals.

Weights are too light

If you’re lifting weights as part of your workout and they feel too light, you may need to increase the weight you’re using. I often see people lifting very light weights for a high number of reps. Honestly speaking, this doesn’t provide your body with a very effective challenge. You can use your time more efficiently by increasing the weight.

Tip: Select a weight that you can use to perform about 10-12 reps while maintaining good form. The last 3-4 reps should feel like a challenge. I like to follow a no more than 10% weight increase every 3-4 weeks. Repetition is essential for mastery and muscular change, so spend time when you first start out to select the best starting weight. Then you can work on increasing intensity only when it feels too easy.


If your workout has you feeling uninspired, unmotivated or simply bored stiff, then it’s definitely time to change it! It’s hard enough to stay motivated and stick with a plan in the first place. If you’re dreading your workout or can’t wait for it to be over, you risk falling off the fitness train altogether.

Tip: Try a new class to get some new ideas. Choose exercises that challenge your mind and keep you mentally engaged. Exercises that work two or more muscle groups at once, or exercises that require you to put together complex movement patterns will help to keep boredom at bay.  If running is your workout of choice, start incorporating a time challenge or make an effort to find a picturesque trail to keep you stimulated.

Remember that an important part of any good fitness plan is a sensible eating plan/nutrition program. I believe that a fitness plan will only fail if you quit. Make an effort to keep your results evolving by listening to your body and knowing when it’s time to change.