5 Ways to Step Up Your Workout Intensity (+ a Healthy Post-Workout Muffin Recipe)

Let’s face it: we all have days where we just don’t feel like working that hard during our workout.

Maybe you’re tired from staying up too late the night before. Maybe you’re feeling sore, or lazy, or your mind just keeps drifting elsewhere. Maybe you’re just not really that sure if pushing yourself hard makes much of a difference—it is so much easier just to breeze through your workout after all.

But here’s the thing: it does make a difference. The harder you push yourself, the more you’re going to get out of your workout, and the closer you’ll get to all your big goals. It’s not easy, but it is worth it.

In partnership with AllWhites®, here are 5 ways to step up your workout intensity:

Remember it’s Only 12 Minutes

On those days when you’d rather be laying on the couch watching Netflix than lacing up your shoes for the gym, a short but efficient HIIT workout is your best bet and will allow you to get the most done in the shortest amount of time.

Since HIIT workouts should take no more than 10 or 20 minutes max (more than this and your workout turns into a moderate intensity workout), it’s really a very minimal amount of your day that you’ll be pushing through your workout.

And if your workout is only 12 minutes long, you might as well give it your absolute all. You can do just about anything for 12 minutes!

Create Motivating Fitness Goals

Although most people start a fitness habit with general health or weight loss goals, this is just about the least motivating approach and will most likely lead to lackluster or inconsistent workouts. On the other hand, if you create fitness and performance goals you’re actually excited about, not only will you be more likely work out on a more regular basis, you’ll also be willing to push yourself harder during those workouts.

The reason is that it’s a lot more motivating to go after something you’ve always wanted to be able to do—such as to do your first handstand or compete in a Tough Muddler race—than to try to do something you feel like you should do, like exercise more to lower your blood pressure or lose 10 pounds just because health magazines told you to.

For example, putting in the work and doing more pull ups during your workout will make a significant difference on your next rock climbing adventure, while improving your conditioning will help you outlast your opponents during your next pick up basketball game.

By creating motivating fitness goals, you’ll be more hyper aware of your progress and therefore be more motivated to work hard (and have more fun during the process).

Listen to Energizing Music

I don’t know about you guys, but I have way more trouble focusing and pushing hard through a workout if I happen to forget my headphones or my phone dies unexpectedly.

It may seem silly, but having energizing music on during your workout can make a huge difference in your workout intensity. Not only will an upbeat song get you feeling pumped up beforehand (I’ve more than once caught myself dancing or shadow boxing when my music gets extra good before a workout), it will also help you push through those last torturous reps.

Find Someone Who Inspires You

One of the best ways I’ve found to motivate yourself to work harder and step up the intensity in your workouts is to find someone who inspires you with what they can do.

For example, if as a female you’ve never been able to do a pull up before, yet you see another girl bust out 5 or more pull ups at your local fitness park one day, all of a sudden you might be inspired to work on your own pull ups. Since you now know that pull ups are possible, and you’re automatically more willing to work hard to get your own pull ups.

Personally, I’m most inspired by people that didn’t start out doing amazing athletic feats as a kid, and who aren’t necessarily gifted athletes that can master any sport in a matter of days. These people start out as more “normal,” yet they put in so much work with so much passion that they end up being amazing athletes. This is what gives me hope and inspires me to work as hard as I can during every workout.

Eat a Pre-Workout Snack

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may think you can get away without eating much before your workout. But if you really want to up your workout intensity and crush all your PRs, a solid pre-workout snack is a must.

Think about it: have you ever had days when you realize partway through the workout you just didn’t eat enough that day and you completely crash? You run out of energy and you can barely make it through what normally would be easy for you.

We’ve all done this before—it’s called bonking, and it’s not fun. Check out the recipe below for an easy, delicious pre or post-workout recipe made with one of my favorite protein sources, AllWhites® 100% liquid egg whites.

Healthy Pre or Post-Workout Blueberry Chia Muffins

Here’s a high-protein muffin recipe perfect for a pre or post-workout snack to help you work even harder and crush that workout:


1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup regular or whole wheat all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup AllWhites® 100% liquid egg whites
1/4 cup almond butter
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with silicon liners or grease the muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oatmeal, applesauce, milk, AllWhites, vanilla, and almond butter.

Next, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, coconut sugar, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Pour in the applesauce mixture and stir, then mix in the blueberries until just combined.

Scoop the batter in the muffin cups, then bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don’t overbake or the muffins will be dry. Eat plain or slathered in almond butter, Greek yogurt, or your favorite topping!


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