I have been seeing some pretty intense workout videos and systems becoming more popular. This week’s question, because of my advanced years, is: Are intense workouts suitable for everyone/anyone? Should a 20 year old and a 50 year old workout in the same way? Suggestions on how to stay intense and have effective workouts when older. (Over 40 and overweight, like me).

I want to welcome our newest Team Bold Spicy Fitness Expert and Superstar, Heather Frey. Heather is the founder and president of SmashFit.com, the first personal trainer and fitness matching website on the net. Think matchmaking, but for fitness. Clients match with their ideal trainer, and trainers match with their ideal clients so it’s a match both ways. Heather brings a sense of fun and real world experience to SmashFit and to helping people reach their fitness goals.  Heather is our featured Fitness Photo and our first Expert Answer this week.

1. Are intense workouts suitable for everyone/anyone?
Yes, and no. First, intensity is a relative term. Often when we think of intensity, we think of an all-out, hit the wall kind of workout, but intensity also means “highly concentrated”. So anyone can have an intense workout based on their current fitness level and how much they put into it. Intensity depends on the degree to which you push yourself beyond what is comfortable (though not in terms of pain). This level is different for everyone -different for the “newbie” and different for the trained athlete. But both can have what they would consider an intense workout. But wherever you are on the fitness spectrum, proper warmup and preparation is always necessary. Those new to fitness may have to work up to what would be deemed “intense” for their level, but it’s certainly possible for most people.

Should a 20 year old and a 50 year old workout in the same way?
I don’t focus on age. I think it can hinder what we think is possible. Frankly, no two people will ever really workout the exact same way as there are so many factors involved. What’s more important is someone’s current health status and fitness level. Though I’m not 50, I’m not 20 either, but I workout harder than most 20 year olds. I’ve worked my way up, through time and conditioning, to a high level of training. Again, we’re talking relativity. An overweight, inactive 20 year old would need a different workout strategy than an lifetime active 50 year old. It is certainly possible for a 50 year old (and beyond) to have ultra fitness. Just take a look at the competitors in marathons or local bodybuilding competitions. There are amazing results out there. I don’t like to see people limit themselves simply based on age. Strategy changes with time (perhaps to account for injuries, past medical issues, changing physical needs) but the end results can be just as spectacular.

Suggestions on how to stay intense and have effective workouts when older.

“Older” has little to do with intense. It’s all about what you put into your workout regardless of how old you are. It could mean 5 more reps, 10 more minutes of cario, of putting a little extra “umph” into your workout. Mental FOCUS is the key. What keeps you intense is your end goal. What do you want? (health? Muscles? To run a race?) And how badly do you want it? You have to know that sticking to it will help you *get it*! Giving up too soon, or so-so workouts will only keep you stuck and give you so-so results. Plant in your mind your goal – visualize your winning outcome and know that every positive thing you do will get you closer to that goal. Ask yourself – is *here* where I want to stay forever? If not, then push through. There isn’t a magic way to stay intense, you simply do it!

Heather Frey
President and Founder

2. Are intense workouts suitable for everyone/anyone?

No. Although intense routines can be modified, intense training like our BCx Boot Camp requires good health. You don’t have to be fit to do them, but you should be in good physical condition with no injuries or limitations.

Should a 20 year old and a 50 year old workout in the same way?

In our BCx Boot Camp, our youngest participant was 14 and our oldest was 74 (an active healthy 74yr old). They both were equally challenged doing the same exact workout and simply modified the workout according to their abilities. As long as you are able to pace yourself, or modify an exercise, you should be able to have different people at different fitness levels doing the same workout. Of course that is an extreme case, but we have a ton of ladies in their 40’s and 50’s doing these same intense exercises. As long as someone is giving their 100%, they are getting what they need out of the workout. This may mean one person may do 50 push-ups next to someone else doing 15 push-ups within a 60-second span – but if they they are working out at their maximum potential, the both walk away burning a ton of calories and getting stronger. However, if someone is unable to perform an exercise properly, using good form, it would be safer for them to choose a less intense workout. All in all, our bodies are capable of doing a lot more than we think. We have put thousands of people through our boot camp and their intensity is a big part of their success. Intense workouts increase the value of a calorie. We have found when someone works out that hard, they are much less likely to blow all that hard work on poor food choices.

Suggestions on how to stay intense and have effective workouts when older.

The body is much more capable than people ever give credit for. I believe we let our mind get in the way of our success. We tell our body what we can and can’t do, instead of letting our body decide for us. You can do the same types of workouts to the best of YOUR ability. Listen to your body and modify accordingly. As you get stronger, you can push harder. If you go slow, expect slow results and slow progress. If you push yourself harder, you’ll shave years off your life and see progress a lot faster. As my grandmother says, “Age is a matter of the mind. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”. 🙂
Regardless of your age and condition level, when you work out, you should be working out to the best of your ability and giving it everything you got. Also, age is not a factor. A fit 50 year old can be in better health and condition than an unfit, unhealthy 20 year old.

Bonnie Pfiester
Longevity Clubs
3. I have written many articles on how to stay focused and intense in the gym no regardless of your age and in one of my most recent articles, Avoid these 5 Common Exercise Mistakes.

Fitness Professional
Specialist in Fitness Nutrition
Natural Health Advocate


4. 1. Intense workouts are for people of a certain fitness level. Beginners should challenge themselves but not kill themselves. 2. A 20 year old & 50 year old can workout in the same way if they’re at the same fitness level. 3. For an intense workout, try Peak 8 once or twice a week. I’ve got a handout if anyone is interested.

I suggest taking a look at some of this great information as well: www.mercola.com

Debbie Barker, CNHP

Health Coach Take pounds off quickly and learn how to eat for life!
Personal Trainer Come experience the efficient 30 minute workout!
Reiki Master Technique to relax the mind and body!
Pranic Healer Level I Get more energy in your body!


5. Are intense workouts suitable for any one?

That depends on the individual. I’ve seen 50 year old couch potatoes do “advanced” poses, and 20 year old athletes with hamstrings like concrete.

Intensity is relative. Every Yoga pose I teach has steps. Every student – whether it’s their first Yoga class ever, or they have been with me for several years – begins with Step One in every pose. The more experienced student will quickly move through all the steps of a pose quickly, based on a well-established foundation of strength, flexibility and endurance. New students start with step one to begin work on that foundation.

I keep a keen eye on every student – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced – gauging their preparedness at every step and determining if they are ready for the next step. Every student is an individual so progresses at a comfortable personal pace.

Because Yoga poses are akin to a fine tapestry – poses interlock or overlap with each other via movement, body part, and the like – strength in one pose can be utilized in several other poses. This explains why the steps in every pose are so important. So if a student is struggling in the steps of one pose, the effort they are applying may bolster another pose that they can do; so the steps support the overall practice. This is how we progress in Yoga – equally as in life – each experience is a layer that makes us stronger, more resilient and able to endure.

Yogini Valarie Devi


Damon Ladd-Thomas (36 Posts)