Is your workout hard enough? Personal trainer Stephanie Mansour gets this question from her clients and says it can be tough to tell if your exercise routine is effective or if you need to push yourself more. If you’re questioning the intensity of your fitness program, ask yourself these questions to evaluate it.
- What do I hope to accomplish with my fitness routine? - You need to have a clear goal in mind to evaluate if your workout is hard enough. This could be a physical goal, like weight loss or toning, or it could be the desire to have more energy, lower stress or sleep better. So start with listing the specific goals you want to accomplish with your workout.
- Did I push myself to my max effort at least once? - Check in with yourself while you’re exercising and note if you felt pushed to the max at least one time. That feels different depending on what you’re doing, like in yoga, your thighs may burn from holding warrior pose, and with walking or running, you may feel like you need to catch your breath. If you feel that at least once, it’s a good sign your workout is challenging enough, and from there, try to increase those bursts that get you to your max output.
- How do I feel after my workout? - Are you completely exhausted post- sweat session or do you feel like you have more to give? Actually neither extreme is ideal. A good workout should invigorate, not deplete you. So if you feel like collapsing on the couch afterwards, it’s probably too hard. And if you feel like you didn’t do anything? That’s a sign you could push harder.
- Do I see changes in my body and strength? - If your jeans fit looser or you’re using a smaller bra hook, those are signs your body is changing. If you can run faster or hold a plank longer, those are signs you’re getting stronger. And all of them mean your workouts are working.
- Am I making progress toward my goal? - Go back to your goal and check in with yourself every few weeks to see if you’re getting closer to reaching it. If not, it might be time to tweak the intensity or change up your fitness routine for a bit.