This is quite often the issue with any fitness program being ineffective – the workout intensity is simply too low. This of course is not always the case…but after personal training hundreds of clients over the years and instructing literally thousands of group fitness sessions, I would say it is more times than not.
The most accessible and accurate way to measure workout intensity during cardio exercise is through your heart rate. There is a great online heart rate calculator at Mayo Clinic Heart Rate Calculator.
Since this requires a little skill and patience, I often like to use the Rating of Perceived Exertion method for determining intensity.
Refer to the chart below and give yourself an honest evaluation of how you feel during your workouts. If you are in decent health but all to often find yourself at a level 3 and under, you definitely need to up the intensity in order to see results from your workout regimen.
You can also apply this chart to weight training – just remember the more weight or reps you lift…the higher the intensity.
Since the appropriate intensity level is determined individually, remember that these are just general guidelines.
Working outside of your comfort zone, even momentarily, will definitely help to make your workout more effective and you will see results quicker!
TIP TO TRY TODAY: Try doing bouts of higher intensity intervals at a level of 7/8+ to benefit even more from your exercise session. For example, if you usually walk for 30 minutes at a consistently quick pace – every 4 minutes increase your speed to a fast run for 1 minute then return to your quick walk and repeat the cycle throughout your session. You can modify this for different types of cardio but the 4:1 will teach your body to feel the added intensity and eventually you can extend your elevated training time.
*For an added challenge try entering the “high performance zone.”