The Proof of a Good Workout
Whether you just started working out or you are a professional athlete, chances are you want to make sure that you are getting a good workout in and not just wasting your time. But how do you know if you had a good workout or if you were just skating through this one?
The Common Misconception of a Good Workout
Some people think that just because you’re physically drained after a workout session you’ve gotten a good workout but that isn’t always the case. You may not be feeding your body properly to match the intensity of your workout which may cause you to be fatigued before you’ve put in enough time in the gym. Your sleeping patterns can also affect whether or not you feel more tired in the middle or at the end of your workout.
The only person that you have to prove that you got a good workout in to is yourself (and maybe your personal trainer), so there is no point in faking it because you’re only cheating yourself. Here are the best ways to determine whether you got a good workout, or you need more focused time in the gym this week.
A True Good Workout
A good workout is marked by a few key points. If you aren’t getting a good workout in then you aren’t going to see or feel any physical results but if you target your ideal intensity rate and focus on a steady workout that relies on variety then you can count on hitting the following markers and enjoying a good workout that provides results.
Your Heart Rate Is On Point
You can gauge the effectiveness of your workout at any point by quickly measuring your heart rate. During a good workout your heart rate should measure about ¾ of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes or longer.
To find your maximum heart rate take your age and multiply it by 70% (or 0.7). Subtract this number from 208. Using this equation a 30 year olds maximum heart rate should be 187 beats per minute. In this case your heart rate should be about 140 beats per minute to insure that you’re getting in a good workout.
You Feel Energized
After your workout you shouldn’t feel exhausted or run down. If you do, you are probably working at an unsafe intensity and should consider dialing it back a notch or two. After a good workout your body will actually feel energized and ready to take on the day. This is why morning workouts are suggested by most professionals and why you should avoid working out right before bed.
You Recover Quickly
If your workout routine of choice involves high intensity interval training (HIIT) then you might be able to gauge how good your workout is going based on how quickly your heart rate recovers in between the high intensity moves. The length of time that it takes your heart rate to return to its resting state measures how healthy it is, but if you find that it’s taking longer to return to its resting point than usual that particular workout may not be as effective as it could be.
You are likely working out at an intensity rate that is too high for your current fitness level. Although this sounds like it would provide good results in the long run it is actually far less beneficial to your body. You could end up injuring yourself causing a long period of recovery that derails your fitness or you could simply not be hitting your optimal numbers for the best results possible.
You Feel Stronger
Immediately after a good workout you may feel stronger than you did at the beginning of the workout. It’s more likely that you are actually slightly weaker at the end of your workout due to muscle fatigue but because of the amount of work that you put in you will feel as if you are stronger.
This perceived strength often makes people push themselves harder than they normally would during their next workout, but rest days and recovery workouts are especially important after particularly intense workouts.
You Feel More Focused
One of the main reasons that experts suggest working out in the morning is because after a good workout you are more likely to be focused for the remainder of the day. The goal of a workout should always be to feel better walking out of the gym than you did when you walked in. During a good workout your body will release endorphins that make you feel happier and more confident which will in turn increase your focus and productivity.
You Sleep Better
A good workout should make you feel more energized and less tired at the moment which is pretty amazing. But what is even better is that making exercise a regular part of your routine is a great way to improve your sleep quality. You don’t have to workout in the morning to achieve this benefit but you should avoid working out too close to bedtime or else your mind and body will both be too revved up to relax into a deep and restful slumber.
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