GET IN TO A
STATE OF MIND
What about intensity? How do you know if you're exercising hard enough? How do you know if you're exercising too hard?
Take a look at the slideshow to see a way to gauge intensity as it applies to you. I would recommend enlarging the slideshow player.
We can subjectively measure how hard we're working by using and sharing a “virtual” intensity scale. If we both agree on this scale then we can relay information back and forth on our different workout intensities. You can use this method for resistance training, cardiovascular movements and flexibility conditioning.
Click "read more" on right...
If you want to determine the intensity of your exercise routine there are a number of gadgets and apps that can assist you.
Strap on a heart rate monitor to measure your heart rate. Install an app on your phone that tracks your distance and speed via GPS. Turn on another app that threatens to kick your ass if you don't pick it up a bit. Technology :)
In today's technological world measuring what you do, when you do it, and for how long you do it is as easy as turning on an app.
Although all of these methods can create measurements that could determine how hard you worked by the numbers, they don't tell you how you perceived your workout. Was it hard? Easy?
How intense did you work?
Imagine an Intensity Scale
Let's create an intensity scale. This will require some mental gymnastics but easy to do. Imagine a line with “0”(zero) on the left end of the line and a “10” on the right.
0 (zero) = at rest/sleeping
10 (ten) = physical exhaustion/can't continue!
Now we know the end values of this scale. Now let's determine what all the numbers in the middle mean. Let's work backwards on the scale, from 10 down to zero. Each stage represents what you are experiencing physically... How your body is reacting, physically and mentally.
Defining the Scale
Resistance Training Intensity
When doing an exercise or movement that challenges our strength we want to be at the higher end of the scale. On average your scale should be registering between 6 and 9. You're pushing your limits.
The resistance or movement may be at about a 6 when starting out but rapidly increases to a 9 within 90 seconds, assuming you are pushing to failure. Sprinting all out on a track, lifting heavy weights in the gym, or the hard hill climbs of a spin class are perfect examples.
You don't want to push to failure all the time and most of your resistance style workouts will be in the range of 6-8.
Cardiovascular Training Intensity
The scale has a wide range. Zero and ten are the extremes, the outer limits. Within those outer limits we will judge our intensity and match it to the activity in progress.
Using this subjective method for determining your intensity while doing cardiovascular exercise is a little tougher than rating yourself on resistance training.
My recommendation, do some cardio work and rate yourself. After doing several cardio sessions you will be able to determine where you are and what you need to do to improve.
If researching cardiovascular exercise you may find a lot of different information. Best type of exercise, what burns the most calories, what heart rate zone is best for fat burning...blah, blah, blah.
All of that information may be useful but a little overwhelming if you're a perfectionist or just starting out. The real point is to get moving. We can figure all that other stuff out later. Let's just move and rate ourselves on what we believe we are doing.
I'm off to do some cardio at a level 7 for 20 minutes.