(Photo by Express)
Leaving the gym with a sweat soaked top and sore muscles isn’t a good way to measure if a workout is effective. Even though challenges that are fun and can leave us sweaty and sore, we don’t always need to set a personal record to have a successful trip to the gym. Here’s how we gauge the effort and success of our workouts.
After warming up, try the talk test. If it becomes difficult to keep a fluid conversation going or hard to complete a sentence without gasping for air in the middle of our workout, we know we’re putting in a moderate effort. A good way to track the amount of energy we are using in a workout is to pay attention to our heart rate. When our heart rate increases our number of breaths increase in order to keep up with our heart. We like working out with a heart rate monitor that sends and tracks our activity levels to our smartphone. It’s helpful to see the graph and determine what exercise or movement spiked our heart rate. After completing the same workout several times it may not be as strenuous anymore. We will see the graph on our monitors start to plateau and that’s when we know we need to push ourselves a little harder next time. Trying to complete the workout quicker, increasing the weight or resistance, or trying something new all together can increase the difficulty of a workout.
We know a workout is a good challenge when we can barely finish our last rep. Knowing our numbers and being able to hit a percentage of our maximum is one of the most accurate ways to determine the intensity of a workout. This can be tricky because we need to know how hard to push ourselves in order to reach our max. The key is to not be afraid of failure. Once we find our one rep maximum we try hitting three reps at 80-90% of our max. Hitting this high of a percentage is a great workout!
In addition to hitting our numbers, we may see our success. After completing a vigorous weight training program more blood is pumping through our muscles, causing them to expand and swell. This is one of our favorite signs because we love seeing visible results. #GAINS
It’s important to remember that after a successful workout we shouldn’t always feel drained. Working out should build us up; it’s not uncommon to have more energy and a mood boost when leaving the gym because our body is releasing endorphins. If we seem more alert, productive, or focused, it’s a sign that we had a successful trip to the gym.
Another post-workout sign of success is feeling hungry. Our bodies need fuel in order to perform after a workout. Proper supplements and healthy snacks or meals are important to ensure our body stays nourished and energized after we leave the gym.
The last sign to gauge the success of your time at the gym is the quality of your sleep. We find that the nights we sleep restfully are correlated with going to the gym earlier that day. What could be better than getting a solid workout in at the gym? A sound night’s sleep.