Anyone that has read this blog in the past few years knows that I am a fan of HIT (High Intensity Training). Machine-based workouts performed very slowly without locking out at the top or pausing at the bottom. When the movement gets extremely difficult, I might perform a static hold. Then I lower the weight. One set to failure. Do 3-5 exercises. Done for the week.
That is what I would like to do, but I don’t. I have been forced to scale back on the intensity. No more 1-set to failure. These days, I might do 2 or even 3 sets at a lower intensity. I’m actually going to the gym twice a week now.
Am I getting better results now? Nope. The reason I was forced to trade intensity for volume is that my Glitter Gym keeps the temperature too damn high. My limiting factor for generating intensity is room temperature. Today it was 70 degrees. Way too hot for a gym. Dr. McGuff discovered with his gym that maximum intensity happened at 61 degrees. I believe him. When I was doing my outdoor HIT, my intensity was much higher in the 50s.
From The Workout Environment by Dr. Doug McGuff:
In a workout, we want to lose heat at a quick enough rate, so that the muscles fail because of maximal inroading, not because of heat buildup. By the time your body has to resort to an evaporative heat-loss mechanism, it is already too late. You will fatigue prematurely because of heat buildup. If the temperature is at an ideal 61 degrees, you can effectively lose exercise-related heat buildup through conduction and convection. At the beginning of your workout, it feels uncomfortably chilly, but by the conclusion of your workout, it will feel perfect to you and you will not have a drop of sweat on you. More importantly, you will have inroaded as efficiently as possible and given your body the greatest stimulus for improvement possible.
I have complained and complained to Fitness 19 Seattle and they have ignored me. They set the temperature to please the working staff. Other members don’t complain, because they falsely believe that sweating is a sign of a successful workout when in truth, it takes very little effort to break a sweat when the room is already 70 degrees.
For me, this is even less about intensity than my tendency to get exertion headaches at higher temperatures. A typical set of HIT has one breathing rising rapidly at the set progresses. If an oxygen debt happens, you will get a piercing headache. As much as I’ve tried to accelerate my breathing before I need it, it is a gamble for me to pursue full intensity at the Glitter Gym.
If some tech billionaire looking to throw money at something is reading this, open a chain of gyms called Fitness 61, where the temperature is kept low enough that the people working out actually had to generate true intensity to stay warm. Hell, drop the temperature down to 50. The only downside is you’ll have trouble hiring staff.
I do like my Glitter Gym equipment and it is within walking distance. In the winter, I step outside between exercises to drop my core temperature. This is not an option this time of year though.
My fitness progress has stalled this summer. I am merely maintaining.