Training with heart rate monitors gives us enormous insight into our clients efficiency and overall health. We can see when people over train, under train or simply are functioning at a lower level. Giving guidance to members during HR training gives us even more feedback. Some people experience a wake up call, and a quick connection to how their body is really feeling, and others choose to ignore the feedback and continue flogging themselves.
At the start of every session, we do our best to help guide our members on what their training needs might actually be when they arrive. Lifestyle factors matter so much more than many realise, and will determine the success of your workout, and recovery.
It's EASY to go to the gym and slog it out, and push hard. It's actually not much of a challenge for anyone. The bigger challenge is doing less.
Of course we feel better after the initial few minutes of movement in the workout. As circulation is enhanced, we begin to feel stronger, more efficient and more switched on. When those exercise endorphins kick in, an addictive cycle of intensity often begins, and many forget they walked through the doors not feeling on top of the world.
We use the below chart as a guide to help people more accurately select their workout intensity and stress load for the day. We modified this chart from the PTA Global daily readiness to train, and ask members to score themselves. Higher scores indicate a greater readiness and propensity for high intensity, or high volume training. Lower scored indicate the person is already struggling with mental, physiological or lifestyle stress, and so throwing even more stress at them in the form of exercise isn't a smart idea.
When we run through this chart, we notice a few significant factors:
Some feel it's a waste of time
Unfortunately many of us have been conditioned to be mentally tough and push through struggle. When it comes to fitness, this only takes us further away from results if fundamental lifestyle factors are compromised. It can be confronting to admit we need to slow down, and take better care of ourselves, so it may be easier to avoid acknowledging it.
Many over score themselves either intentionally or not
Unfortunately many people will over score themselves, because perhaps they deem lower scores as 'bad', or they perhaps are out of touch with the higher baseline of stress in their body. In these situations HR feedback quickly shows a lack of efficiency, and helps us remember the potential stresses of the last 24 hours, and correlate it with our lack of efficiency. We see this happen every single day.
This is powerful stuff. The more we can see how our lifestyle factors are hurting, or helping us, the faster we can course correct and accelerate results!
The old adage that more is better, and that a workout is futile unless we hit the top intensity zone, is a mentally that will only lead to exhaustion, and further from results. Certain parts of our personality may crave high intensity as a means to de-stress, even if it ends up costing us more energy than it provides.
Some members have the same score every single session.
While we all have bad days, or a poor nights sleep, our readiness to train should improve over time. If it doesn't, then we are not progressing with training, and failing to make important modifications to diet, hydration, lifestyle factors etc to adapt.
Checking in with daily readiness is designed to empower us, and help us get a better idea of what we need, and how to get it. It's there to serve us. Honesty is always the best policy.
The truth is, the best workout is ALWAYS the one that honors your actual readiness and efficiency.