Mastering intensity monitoring of your workouts is crucial for achieving fitness goals. Here are a few methods to gauge how hard you are working during your workouts.
Heart Rate (HR)
One of the most scientific methods, measuring your HR during exercise, provides real-time feedback on the intensity of your workout. Use a HR monitor to track your beats per minute (BPM) and aim for a target HR zone, which is typically a percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR). Start by calculating your MHR by subtracting your age from 220. The American
Heart Association uses the simple 2 HR Zone breakdown.
Moderate Intensity: 50-70% of MHR
Vigorous Intensity: 70-85% of MHR
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
The new RPE scale typically ranges from 0 to 10, where 1 means very easy, 6 is somewhat hard and 10 is maximal exertion. This method is subjective, but provides a quick and easy way to gauge workout intensity based on how hard you feel YOUR body is working. Surge Fit recommends the following:
Strength Training: 6-7
Power Lifting: 8-9
This method involves evaluating your ability to speak during exercise. If you can talk comfortably, your intensity is likely low. If you can speak a sentence or two but then need a breath, you're likely at a moderate intensity. If you cannot talk, you're at a high intensity. The talk test coincides with ventilatory threshold (VT), the point in which pulmonary ventilation increases disproportionately to O2 uptake.
Incorporating these methods can help you work harder as well as tailor your workout intensity for optimal performance and health outcomes. Remember, the best method is the one that aligns with your fitness goals, available resources, and personal preferences. Feel the Surge!