Intensity or Enjoyment: Which is better for long term health and sustainability?

IMG_0664With a year under our belts here at the PITT training facility in Bozeman, Montana there are some topics up for discussion that we want to clear the air of.


#1 We are not a facility that aims to crush our adults with various workouts so we can feel good about ourselves as coaches…We are a facility that aims to get our members real results using a safe and sustainable pathway of exercise.


#2 We are not a facility that claims to get our adults amazing results with only 1 or 2 days of workouts per week, and especially not in 10-30 mins…We are a facility that encourages our members to train 3-5 times per week by creating a friendly team based environment, and by varying workout intensities to promote a higher volume of training to be sustained over time.


#3 We are not a facility that only works with elite athletes…We are a facility that works with anybody who needs help and is willing to work for their results.



If you are still using lack of time as an excuse not to exercise, then it is time to understand you don’t have a time issue, you have a behavior issue.  Unfortunately, about 96.8 percent of Americans have a behavior issue as they don’t even get a combined 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days per week (the suggested amount is 150 minutes a week by the World Health Organization).


With lack of time being the most common American excuse, trainers, magazines, and gyms nationwide are encouraging shorter high intensity workouts as the solution to our behavior problems.  Meanwhile they are lashing out against moderate-intensity exercise, but science is now proving that this high intensity interval approach is not sustainable for a very large percentage of our population (


One reason for this strategy not being sustainable is the link between high intensity work and displeasure.  Intense workouts are not fun for the majority of our population, but we see the workouts these personal trainers, professional athletes, and fittest people on earth are doing and we as an industry want to promote these workouts as the answer?  These aren’t the people who need help! The people who need help are those who are struggling to have strength and energy to play with their kids, who can’t barely pick themselves up off the couch, or who have trouble getting from their work to their car in the parking lot.  So let’s stop crushing these people and creating an association between exercise and punishment.


Here at the PITT we utilize various levels of intensity during our conditioning workouts to meet the specific demands of our various energy systems while also allowing our members to keep coming back for more. Our main priority is that our members enjoy their time while putting in their work.  Don’t’ get me wrong, we do high intensity workouts, we just don’t do them every day!  Here is a sample of what our conditioning workouts might look like:


Day 1 (Cardiac Output emphasis): 6 – 10 stations completed for 3-5 rounds with a work to rest ratio of 45 seconds on and 15 seconds off at 50% of your max effort.  Exercises might include treadmill running, cycling, jump rope, sled pushes, etc…


Day 2 (Lactic Power emphasis) 6-10 stations completed for 3-5 rounds with a work to rest ratio of 20 seconds on and 60s off at 100% of your max effort.  Exercises could include heavy bag work, sprinting, battle ropes, medicine ball work, etc…


Day 3 (Anaerobic Threshold emphasis) 2-4 stations completed for 1 round of each with a work to rest ratio of 3 minutes on and 1.5 – 3 minutes off at 80-90% intensity.  Exercises might include treadmill running, jump rope, plate pushes, etc…