Most of us generally workout for a few reasons: to stay fit, healthy and yes, sometimes to lose weight. We don’t on the other hand, take 60 minutes out of our day to feel or get nothing in return. So how do we know if we’re doing it all right and whether it’s hard enough? Unfortunately, as research goes, we’re not very good at judging our intensity or how hard we push ourselves during exercise. Yep, we seem to really underestimate the amount of grunt we’re putting into our sweat sessions. So to find out whether you’re taking a back seat and need to turn it up a notch, here are 5 things to look out for.
1. You Actually Find it Easy
Working out is hard. At times you might find it enjoyable, but it should never be “easy”. Why? Because exercise should challenge you. It should push your heart rate up, make you sweat and make those muscles burn, and burn, and burn. And in order to improve your cardio fitness, you often need to push past your comfort zones in order to make those muscles stronger and fitter. Overtime it can get easier. You may find you can run for longer, or find you no longer need to walk at a rate of a snail. Bottom line: if you feel like your workout is too easy, then it probably is.
2. Your Heart Rate Isn’t Very High
If you’re looking to get the most out of your workout, an optimal heart rate is key. This is why many fitness classes have wearable heart heart rate monitors and why most machines can track this too. If you want to burn fat then you need to get your heart rate up. It’s said that the fat-burning zone is about 60 to 75 per cent of your maximum heart rate while the cardio zone is 75 to 85 per cent per cent of your maximum heart rate. This is a good thing to keep an eye on.
3. You Don’t Break a Sweat
You don’t necessarily need to walk out of the change room looking like you just had a shower in your gym clothes, but you should expect to break a sweat, a little. Sweating is your body’s natural way of cooling yourself from an increase in body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, all of which happens when you exercise.
“Although some people sweat more than others, you should have some visible sweat, which indicates you’ve worked hard,” PT, Kayla Itsines told WebMD.
4. You Can Complete All Reps – No Struggle
If you’re able to finish all repetitions of your workout routine without any struggle, it might be time to turn it up a notch. Take time to see whether you’re doing each exercise correctly or consider increasing the weight you are using. You should be using enough weight so that it’s a bit of a struggle to complete all reps, but not so much that you compromise your form.
5. You’re Not Seeing Results
If you’ve hit a fitness plateau and no longer seeing results, it might be that your body has become accustomed to your fitness regime – they’re pretty efficient like that.
If you’ve been doing the same fitness routine for a while, your body may have started to familiarize itself to the activity. As a result, you might not be burning as many calories as before or you might not see a difference in your muscle tone. If this is the case, try mixing up your routine for something new and try to target different muscle groups, especially when weight training.