You’ve kept up with your gym commitments. You are eating well. How do you know that all this effort is paying off?
Because fitness improves gradually, sometimes it is hard to see progress. But if you know what to look out for, you can tell if you're getting fitter.
Here are seven signs that your workout is working for you:
As your cardio fitness improves, your resting heart rate should drop. Check it as soon as you wake up and before you get up. There is a theory that we all have a ‘ration’ of heartbeats over our lifetimes, so if your resting heart rate is reduced, perhaps you’ll have more heartbeats in the bank?
Fit muscles heal more quickly and so are ready for more work sooner. Be patient and don’t push to the point of injury, and you’ll find that a big workout no longer means a two day wipeout.
Physical tiredness goes a long way towards defeating sleep problems. If your sleep is improving despite those everyday stresses, you know that the exercise is working.
This isn’t just about being able to lift more kilos. As you get fitter you’ll find that those everyday life bends, twists and moves become non-events rather than big efforts.
The workout is at the right level for you when it is a struggle to complete those last few reps or lifts. Once that gets too easy, it is time to up the target. The numbers don’t lie – you can see that you are getting fitter.
Exercise isn’t just good for your physical condition. There are plenty of ways in which exercise can boost brainpower too. So look out for improved stamina and problem-solving ability. That shows that your workout is making you smarter.
The only real way to guarantee that you’ll stick to a workout is to find one that you enjoy. So if you have that, you are most of the way towards ensuring that it works.
I agree with Richard - definitely change the workouts around if you're not progressing. Even running your usual route backwards feels like a novelty. Personally, making sure I feel properly 'worked out' after exercising tells me I've made some progress and feel good.
Switch it up and do different workouts, that way you keep moving different muscle groups and keep it tough. Do different classes or swim, cycle, run, anything but keep changing it around. Do the same again and again and it will become easy
bit controversial, but this is one reason why I gave up on the gentler workouts - I simply didn't feel I was getting value for my time. I need to feel pushed and tired out afterwards. If that doesn't happen, the workout definitely didn't work for me.
My heartrate is always around 65, according to my fitbit, though I don't know what it would be if I didn't exercise. But it makes me feel like my workouts are keeping my heart healthy,.
interesting - I have wasted quite a lot of time on workouts I don't enjoy and it's quite right that those definitely don't last.