It's one thing to be committing to an exercise regime but are you going through the motions or are you working out hard enough? Putting on your fitness gear and being active is commendable but unless you are working up a sweat you could be spending time on ineffective training. Sometimes a real push is needed to gather enough momentum to reach your goals or to jump beyond a fitness plateau.
Turning up is not enough to keep fit, what you need is some real effort in the right direction and in the right way. Working hard enough is not always about sheer cardio burn though, it can also include incorporating challenging strength training exercises and working on your stamina and endurance levels; not just going faster but harder and for longer.
Here are a few guidelines to see if you are working hard at your workout:
- You feel challenged - Intuitively your body will send you signals that you are engaging in a good level of exercise, where you feel the push but are not in pain or really uncomfortable. If you do not feel this sense of striving or progression then you may have plateaued.
- Your mind is focused - Get the intensity or the style of exercise just right and your mind will naturally be honed in on what you are doing or rather, you will feel 'in the zone'. If you are struggling to mentally engage or are not feeling in that exercise space then it could be that you are not doing enough.
- You have broken into a sweat - Depending on the intensity of your workout, you should start to perspire after a few minutes or certainly after 10 minutes with moderately intense exercises.
- You finish exercising feeling energized and exhilarated - A good workout really gets you firing on all cylinders and gets the adrenaline and neurotransmitters pumping. While you might have put your body through some tough physical tests, if you are exercising at the right intensity then you will feel full of energy.
- You can chat but you can't sing - You can carry on a conversation if you are exercising at a moderate intensity level but if you can easily break out in song then you might want to work a bit harder.
- You can speak but not chat in a flowing way - For a real cardio workout with some vigorous exercises, you can probably say the odd few words but not easy have a good conversation whilst you exercise.
- You are breathing deeply - The harder you work your body the more you need to pump oxygenated blood around your body and so you will soon start to breathe hard when the going gets tough.
- You are exercising at between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate - To work out your maximum heart rate you simply subtract your age from 220. If you are not in peak physical performance then you might want to start exercising with a heart rate 50% of this and up the intensity and heart rate level as you get fit and work out harder.
- You are seeing results - Those who complain that they have been exercising regularly but never seem to reach their goals could be either not pushing their activity intensity enough or could also be not working out in the best way possible to achieve their targets.
While you want to work out hard enough to make a difference, you also need to be aware of any health conditions that limit your exercise regime. At the same time, don't overstrain yourself either. Whilst you might be a fan of high intensity interval training, recovery time is important and can also enhance training and improve results. If you feel you are struggling then the best approach is to lower the intensity, working gradually back up so you feel the progression.
Are you in need of a good workout that will challenge every part of you? Get in touch and we will set the pace.