Healthy Perspective by Jen Pavlica

Are you training hard enough?

Although any type of physical activity is better than nothing, some workout plans are far more effective.  Increased intensity throughout various workouts make a huge difference with achieving the desired results faster.  A solid indicator of your workout having the right level of intensity in order to gain maximum benefit is by frequently monitoring your heart rate.  Whether you're focusing on cardio, weight training or participating in a class you should strive for 70-90% of your maximum heart rate.  This is roughly determined by subtracting your age from 220 (ex. 220-30 years old=190 max).  Your heart rate can be easily tracked by either purchasing a heart rate monitor fitness watch or simply using the metal grips on select cardiovascular equipment.  If you don't have access to one of these you can follow this simple test.  If you can carry on a conversation while training, you are not training hard enough to achieve optimal results.  Short pauses and relatively short cool downs are an effective way of spiking your heart rate back up.  Short breaks are highly emphasized and you generally want to keep that heart rate up doing the entire workout.  Try to avoid the same intensity throughout your entire workout as mixing up your routine with cardio, strength training and stretching yields better results.
Also try to mix it up and pick up the speed or increase the resistance for the numerous cardiovascular machines (treadmill, stairmaster, elliptical, rower, etc.).  If your primary workouts consist of strictly weight training, try to add in some sprints, burpees or even jumping jacks.  This keeps the blood flowing and improves flexibility and endurance.  It also keeps the body guessing which delivers a well-rounded, quality workout.  If you are an avid cardio machine user, group class enthusiast or strictly a weight trainer you must always try to push yourself past your comfort zone.  To many this can be uncomfortable, but studies show that the majority of those who apply these methods experience a significant leap forward to reach their goals.  Sometimes you need to feel a little uncomfortable from more challenging fitness regimes to achieve the fitness goals desired.  It is always easier to say no, but trust me, you are stronger than you think!  So pursue a more active lifestyle and try new things.  These tend to be the game changers for obtaining your goals.  Most importantly, have fun.  It's an amazing feeling to see physical improvement due to your hard work paying off.  The summer is always a nice motivator to step it up by increasing your gym visits, trying new classes and getting outside!

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