3 Surprising Ways to Increase Your Workout Intensity

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What I Learned From My Workout with Vince Del Monte

It’s cold here in New York – a fact made all the more obvious since I just got back from yet another travel excursion. This time, I was in Tampa: a town known for beautiful weather and (evidently) some incredible gyms.

While I was there, I got to spend time brainstorming with some of the best and brightest in fitness: Craig BallantyneIsabel De Los Rios, Scott Colby, Rob PoulosJoel Marion, and that rapscallion Vince Del Monte.

I want to take a few minutes to talk about my workout with Vinny D.Del Monte dominating the stage.

It’s not often one has the opportunity to train with someone like Vince. Del Monte and I have some similar ideas on certain training methods, and some that are radically different. Getting to train together was a great opportunity for the both of us; and the only thing faster and more intense than the workout itself was the exchange of ideas.

As I’ve mentioned before, my training is generally pretty intense and this session was no exception. Given that I was working out with a muscle gaining expert, it made sense that we’d do a more traditional body-part split workout, rather than the full body dynamic training that I normally do.

So, off the bat, there were three factors increasing the intensity of my workout, and I wanted to share some tips with you.

3 Surprising Factors to Increase Your Workout Intensity

  1. New Training Environment – working out in Powerhouse Gym in downtown Tampa was a great time. This gym in particular was well stocked with great equipment; however, in my experience, any change will give you a boost in training productivity.
  2. New Training Method – okay, a body-part split isn’t exactly new for me, but it’s definitely different from what I’ve been doing. A change of this kind always increases intensity.
  3. New Training Partner – I normally get trained at least two to three times per week by one of the other trainers at my facility. I  believe that everyone needs a personal trainer. But training with a partner is completely different; I do not mean it’s better, just different. Working out with someone is almost like working out against someone: pushing yourself to beat them and prove yourself. Well, Vince is a worthy opponent for anyone, and I think he’d say the same about me.

This was probably one of the most productive training sessions I’ve had in a long time, and that is saying a lot.

So, of course, I vomited.

And it was a good one.

I know what you’re thinking—and yes, we took video. I’m going to share it with you, of course.

The workouts, that is.

Here I am leading pretty boy Vince through a mechanical advantage drop set for chest. (I was a little delirious at this point, so I screwed up some math.)

Here we have Vince putting me through the paces of a traditional drop set on the seated row (with slight cambered grip).

My point is this: from time to time it’s a great idea to make change for the sake of change, if only for a day, to up the ante and get a workout that’s completely outside the realm of what’s normal for you.

Whether it’s changing gears in your workout regime, or trying out a new gym for the day, changes in stuff like this can lead to tremendous changes in your physique.

In a semi-related note, if you don’t have a trainer or strength coach, get one—even if it’s just for the occasional re-assessment or augmentation of a pre-existing program. If you have one, ditch him/her every once in a while to train with a friend who is intent on showing you up.

Using the above tips and a little ingenuity, I urge you to make the effort to incorporate some small changes to increase the efficacy and the intensity of your training.

Of course, intensity is a really nebulous kind of concept: much like love, you just kinda know it when you stumble upon it.

Speaking of love, did you see the way Del Monte was looking at me in those videos? That guy is totally into me. A bromance begins.

And if you’re feeling a little love for Vince himself, you’re not alone. The guy put on 41 pounds of muscle using some of the training tips above—click here to find out how he did it!



About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

Comments for This Entry

  • Vince

    Vassup! (In my best Bruno voice).

    November 8, 2009 at 8:32 pm

  • John Romaniello

    @Fred - Hey Fred; I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. It was funny ( the way it was written, obviously, not the information) and really on point. I remember the moment I hit bottom as well--I'll detail it in another post, but I know your pain quite well. You definitely did the right thing with consulting a trainer. It is the single best thing you can do regarding fitness. It gives you motivation, accountability, and some direction. Not to mention objectivity. I'm impressed with the progress you made, and I don't doubt it changed you life in a significant way. Thanks again for sharing, your story is great. BTW, let your trainer know I think he's awesome. There are a lot of shitty trainers around, and sometimes I give them a hard time. I'm glad you found a good one.

    November 7, 2009 at 4:25 pm

  • Per

    Yeah, well, I'm not too surprised, especially after the way you kept touching his pecs...

    November 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm

  • canada

    What? You and Vince? What happened to you and Elmo?

    November 3, 2009 at 7:36 pm

  • Fred

    I know exactly what you are talking about with regards to getting a trainer/strength coach. Someone who can push you that extra mile can really make all the difference in the world. Also, it's quite boring going to the gym all by yourself. Believe me, gym-time is not equivalent to social-time for me (except but to laugh a bit at myself as I do my fancy warm up routine in front of the mirror - yeah, other people can laugh too (and they do, how rude!)) but I sure as hell perform much better when I have someone in there with me, prepared to kick my ass. After which, of course, I'd be more than happy to return the favor. Give me a call and I'll hook you up :-) Just as an example, I'd like to share my story: I used to work out alone or with moderately serious friends for a few years, and I wasn't really seeing the results I wanted. No shit, given my lack of true dedication, and having mastered the fine art of the good 'ol on-and-off periods of "exercising". So, I came in after the summer break having successfully neglected all things training related - especially in the gym - for at least 2 months. As you can imagine, I was looking great. In my own showdown of epic proportions, some Japanese girls and I, boldly producing the mighty 15 pound dumbbells for biceps curls, were battling out who was to be crowned "grand champion of bad-assery". They were doing most of the thrash talk... and heavy lifting. Really hurt my feelings. Anyway, that remotely embarrassing moment led me to the formidably clever realization that I would have to do something about it, or forever hold my peace. As in silently whine like a little girl in the corner. And hope that the Japanese girls didn't hear me, because then I would be in trouble. So I manned up (a.k.a. put down the 15 pound DB. Or tried... In the end, I actually had to ask one of the Japanese girls to help me get it back on the rack, but it's all good) and got myself a PT. Fast forward 3 months. 3 months filled with blood, sweat and tears (and the occasional vomit). Serious commitment and accountability, both to myself, but also to my PT, who really became a good friend of mine along the way, got me in the best shape of my life. He was so cool to me, and really wanted me to succeed, that I felt like I couldn't let him down, and that meant that I sure as hell wasn't going to let myself down either. With nothing but good food, great training programs and an iron determination, I kicked some serious Japanese-girl ass - unless they got to my level as well, but that would just have been scary. Anyway, starting out with the 40 pound DBs in the flat bench press, I successfully got 2-3 reps with 345 pounds on the barbell on flat bench 3 months later. And I went from 400 pounds to a 1000 pounds in the leg press (for 1 RM). The really cool thing is that I was around 165 pounds myself. Obviously, I went through a complete transformation, and I humbly devote a lot of it to my trainer. I know for sure that I never could have seen such results by working out on my own, or by working out with rather undedicated friends. So, I Just wanted to make a point of how much impact a great trainer/coach had for me.

    November 3, 2009 at 6:37 pm

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