Is it possible to get a good workout without a sweat, or do we even need to? How hard should we work out? Perhaps frustratingly, that answer can vary depending on the day’s workout goal.
At the studio, we use a 1-10 scale for practically everything because it’s easy to apply in any situation. 1 is low, 10 is high; or, the difference between couch potato and all-out effort.
Here are some areas to use the 1-10 scale to qualify your training experience.
- Energy. At the start of the workout, ask what your mental and physical energy levels are. 1 is a sloth, 10 is full energy or all-out effort. Check back in at the end of the workout and see where you are at with both to see the differences. 🙂
- Load. What’s the maximal additional weight or resistance you can move while maintaining correct form?
- Complexity. How hard is the exercise to perform? Sometimes the weight seems easy, but the nuances of the exercise make it challenging to perform well.
- Intensity. This is where you’d want to feel an increased heart rate. Power relates well with intensity.
When I want my clients to really work on challenging and progressing themselves, I suggest they work towards a 7-8. On strength days, how much weight or resistance do they have to apply to be able to do 5-8 repetitions at a level 7-8? For endurance days, what kind of intensity or complexity provides the 7-8 for a specific time duration?
If you’ve been ill, a 7-8 may be too much to dive back into. Start with a 5-6 difficulty as appropriate to regain stamina.
For people with chronic health conditions, there’s a temptation to throw everything into a workout to “make the best” of available energy. Working at a 9 or a 10 any time you can force yourself to workout is probably going to cause injury and burnout. Instead, aim for a sustainable 5-6. As your body changes, you can increase the challenge.
How do you know when to advance? Once it starts feeling easier than a 7, it’s time to make it harder!
If you struggle with regulating exercise intensity, I’d love to help. Send me a reply and we can create your body’s training intensity ideal.