Over the holidays, I went to a gym in Atlanta, GA with my step-mother. She felt it was time to join, in order to amp up her exercise habits. When I showed her how to use the cardio equipment properly, she asked if the pace she had set on the machine was “terrible”. I realized that I get asked this question quite often from both clients and students. My response to her was, “It is absolutely not terrible. You’re here aren’t you?”
What Really Matters
When you walk into a gym, or your personal training studio, or tie up your sneakers for an outside jog, you have just stepped into something extraordinary. The moment you begin your work out is a time to be thankful, because you’ve given yourself the necessary time to take care of your body and mind. Whatever intensity you’re working at, you are doing something far from terrible!
How Do You Know You Are Working “Hard Enough”?
Whether you set the cardio machine at level 3, 8, 10, or 25, ask yourself if you feel challenged. Do you feel your heart pumping, muscles working, and body beginning to sweat? Answering yes to these questions is how you will know if you are working hard enough. If you are truly taking on a challenge and reaching for goals up ahead on your horizon, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way you are choosing to work out. Here are a few other questions I receive from clients, students, and everyone in between:
• Is walking good enough to count as a workout?
• Do I have to run on an incline on the treadmill to see results?
• Is working out three times a week enough?
These are all valid questions! However, let me encourage you to answer them for yourself. Only you can truly know whether you’re working hard. Ask yourself some of the questions I mentioned earlier:
• Am I really challenging myself, or just going through the motions?
• Do I feel my body working and sweating?
• Am I inspired by my own work out?
If the answers are yes, then keep up the good work and amp it up when you and your body are ready.
When it comes to exercising, we are all different. We need different settings on the cardio machine, different sized weights, and different exercise programs. In fact, depending on our daily energy levels and stress levels, sometimes the kind of exercise we need actually changes from day to day.
Questions You Should Ask a Trainer
You should feel that you can ask your trainer about anything exercise-related. Instead of doubting your own ability and jumping to the conclusion that your fitness level isn’t up to par or you aren’t “strong enough”, ask your trainer or an exercise specialist the following: How do I fine-tune my exercise program? How do I measure my progress and hold myself accountable?
I encourage you to honor your own initiative and your own courage–step in to your workouts and challenge yourself!