Last week I wrote a blog on HIIT classes or High-Intensity Interval Training. I talked about a few things that I don’t like about those boot camp style classes and a few things I think those classes really excel at.
In case you missed my blog last week you can check it out HERE.
In one part of my blog, I talked about intensity during your workout, especially during the conditioning part of your workout.
Today I want to highlight a few tools you can use to make sure you are working at a proper intensity during your workout.
1. Heart Rate
The first tool you can use to measure intensity is your heart rate. This is probably the most common way people determine if they have a good or bad workout. I would recommend you keep your heart rate somewhere between 75-90 percent of your max heart rate. In order to calculate that all you do is subtract your age from 220 and then multiple by the percentage. Although this is a very basic formula it will give you a general idea of how hard you are working. A few things to be aware of are, the device you are using to track you HR and any medication you may be taking that will affect HR. Fitness watches are huge now and while almost everyone has one the HR monitors on them frankly are not accurate. You are better off using a chest strap or one that you place on your finger. Also, check with your pharmacist or doctor if any medications you take will impact your heart rate, you may be working harder than you think and it is the medication keeping it down.
2. Talk Test
If you don’t have access to any HR monitors don’t worry you can gauge your intensity by how you are talking. If you are working hard you should not be able to carry on a normal conversation, you should be breathing heavily and have some trouble getting a full sentence out. You still should be able to talk a little though so don’t overdo it.
3. Sit Down
Last but certainly not least is based on how you feel when you are done. If you finish up your conditioning and simply grab your stuff and walk right out of the gym you probably didn’t work hard. You should feel like you need to sit down, grab some water, and let your heart rate come down.
Next time you are in the gym using one of these tools to determine the intensity of your workout. If you want to get strong and lose weight prioritize strength training and then do some intense conditioning at the end.