Here's the hot proof you just nailed your exercise session
Many people think the more you sweat, the better your workout, but this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, the amount of fluid you lose is highly subjective and even comes down to genetics. The fitter you get, the less you can judge how effective your workout was from sweat and sore muscles alone. So what are the tell-tale signs that you’ve kicked some serious butt during your exercise session? Here are 5 signs of a good workout:
1. You couldn’t hold a conversation
Struggling to chat to your gym buddy during your workout is a surefire sign you’re exercising at a good level. Scientifically, this means you are working at a relatively high Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), which is defined by the American Council of Exercise as "use of a 0-to-10 chart to rate the feelings caused by your exertion." For example, 0 would be resting on your couch and 10 would be your absolute limit before passing or not being able to physically continue. Personal trainer Kerri Lyn Ford recommends aiming high in an article on the Huffington Post; “I tell my clients to work at a higher rate of perceived exertion because most people think they are working out at an 8 when they are only at a 5.”
2. Your heart was thumping fast
When your heart rate is up, you known what you’re doing is working. An elevated heart rate is a great indicator of calories being burned and your aerobic capacity increasing. Try using a HR monitor to get an accurate reading throughout your workout, which can help you determine if you’re exercising within your target heart rate zone. A quick google search will show you how to calculate your maximum heart rate and you can then check against this to stay at the right intensity. “When you're doing cardio to burn fat, you want to stay in the range of 65%-70% of your maximum heart rate. If the goal is to increase stamina and aerobic capacity, you aim for 85%,” suggests personal trainer Matt Danielsson.
3. You went with quality over quantity
Unless you’re training for an endurance event, it’s usually better to workout at a higher intensity for a shorter time period. “Exercises engaging fast-twitch muscle fibers (plyometric drills, sprints and High-Intensity Interval Training) burn more calories during your workout and maximize calories burned afterward (known as the after-burn effect.) The same holds true for compound strength training movements activating more than one muscle at once,” says Ford. If you went hard for a shorter amount of time rather than a lighter intensity that was sustainable, it’s a sign your workout rocked.
4. Muscle Fatigue
Did you feel your muscles giving out by the end of your session, despite your mind telling them to push on? Not being able to do the sprint at the end of your circuit or struggling to finish the last couple of reps are surefire signs that you’ve just worked out to maximum exertion. Remember to be careful not to push yourself past this point, as that can adversely result in injury.
5. You felt amazing afterwards and slept like a baby
Two of the great perks of a good workout are the exercise high that follows and the fantastic sleep the night following it. After you finish your session you should feel elevated and energised, not depleted. If you’ve worked at a good intensity, you should still have a bit of fuel left in the tank and will be feeling on top of the world due to the endorphins produced in the body post exercise. When you go to bed that evening, you should sleep soundly. This is a nifty byproduct of the hormones and cytokines released during exercise, which interact with neurotransmitters in your brain