Many people often wonder what a “good workout” feels like. While heart rate monitors and step tracking devices can be useful when reflecting on daily physical activity, one of the most common questions we receive from clients is “how do I know if I am doing enough while I’m working out?”
The easy answer is to listen to your body, but what happens when your body and your mind don’t speak the same language?
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is how hard YOU feel your body is working. Exercise speeds the heart rate up, breathing becomes faster and deeper, sweating increases and muscles begin to fatigue. These feelings provide a rough estimate of your exercise intensity. RPE is a great tool to use for beginners or those who have been inactive for an extended period of time.
With EVERY exercise, continuously ask yourself:
On a scale from 1-10, how difficult were each of my final three repetitions? How difficult was my final repetition? (See table below)
Where am I feeling the exercise? Is this where I should be feeling it?
Could I lift heavier and maintain good form and technique? (Y/N) > If yes, how many more repetitions could I potentially do? (5+ reps; increase weight by 10% and reassess using questions 1 and 2)