Exercise Intensity | Working hard or hardly working


Are you getting the most out of your workouts?

How do you know?

Well, if you workout at the same level every single time, you may not be. True, working hard is important but if you’re gasping for air and feeling too sore to move after every workout you could be setting yourself up for overtraining and burnout, or worse yet, sickness and injury.

On the other hand, if you’ve been working out for a while and have no health issues but your workouts feel about as challenging as pushing the cart at the grocery store, well then that’s probably not giving you the results you want either.


Some of this AND some of that.

No, what you want is balance. That means there’s a mix of vigorous and moderate workouts during the week based on your fitness level and your goals, along with at least one or two recovery days. Again, the mix depends on what you’re trying to achieve and what your overall goal is.

What’s the difference between moderate and vigorous activity?

This is actually subjective because it’s based on how hard that physical activity feels to you. That’s why you can take a class with a friend and come out all sweaty and completely DONE while he or she barely breaks a sweat and seems unaffected. Maybe you pushed more or maybe they’re at a higher fitness level for that activity. 

One way to gauge your intensity is by how hard you’re breathing and how hard your heart is beating because the two are tied together. Generally, the higher your heart and breathing rates, the harder the workout. Keep in mind that certain medications and medical issues can affect your heart rate, too, so be sure to talk to your doc about it if this applies to you.


Here are a few more considerations from the Mayo Clinic for gauging your exercise intensity:


Moderate Exercise Intensity

  • Feels somewhat hard.
  • Your breathing quickens, but you’re not out of breath.
  • You develop a light sweat after about 10 minutes of activity.
  • You can carry on a conversation, but you can’t sing.


Vigorous Exercise Intensity

  • Feels challenging.
  • Your breathing is deep and rapid.
  • You develop a sweat after only a few minutes of activity.
  • You can’t say more than a few words without pausing for breath.


Get the biggest bang for your buck possible.

Time is irreplaceable. And you, like many of us these days, are busy. That means maximizing the time you spend exercising and taking care of yourself is important because not only is it an investment in how you look and feel, it’s also an investment in the health of your future self. Get the most out of your efforts by considering the results you want and then applying the effort accordingly.

Need help figuring out the best weekly plan for you? Well, all you have to do is give us a call or contact us today.

We’re happy to help. 

More posts for you to enjoy:

Cardio the right way – SMARTER CARDIO TIPS
Show your ticker some love – FEBRUARY IS ALL ABOUT THE HEART

signature Tami at Wildfire Fitness

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