How to Tell if You’re Working Out Hard Enough

Two women exercising on yoga mats
Photo by Sriyoga Ashram on Unsplash

Sometimes after you do a work-out, you’re left feeling a little confused. Was that a tough enough workout? After all, you followed the plan you were given or the video you were watching. But your face isn’t red and your body’s not drenched in sweat and your legs don’t feel like jello. So could that still have been a sufficient workout?

What to Consider

The reality is that those things aren’t the only signs that you’ve worked out hard enough. Because, sure, sweating can mean you really gave your workout your all. But if you work out in a cold environment, you might not sweat a drop, even when you’ve been giving it 110%. So how else can you tell that you’ve worked out hard enough?

Rate of Perceived Exertion

Well, let us introduce you to a little thing called the RPE scale, standing for the Rate of Perceived Exertion. The idea is basically that you can subjectively rate your own experience of how hard you’re working out. A 3 is usually something you feel like you can keep doing for hours while a 9 means you can barely speak or breathe.

The great thing about RPE is that it’s personal, meaning that it’s all about how you feel rather than how you “should” feel. So instead of aiming to go as fast as the person next to you, you can aim for an RPE 7, which is when you’re short of breath and can barely speak a sentence. That way, you’ll decide for yourself how hard you want to work out and be able to tell when you’ve reached it.