If you’re already working out on a regular basis there’s a point when you wonder if your workouts are as effective as they should be. It’s tempting to just show up and go through the motions, and there are lots of myths about how hard you have to work to get results.
Hint. It’s not sweat or sore muscles
Many people think sweat is a good indicator, and that you should be drenched after a good workout. That’s not the case. While you should sweat during exercise, not everyone sweats profusely. It depends on hydration, genetics, temperature and the type of workout you’re doing.
If you’re just getting started on a new workout program, you may think muscle soreness is a sign you’ve worked out hard enough. While muscle soreness can be a sign you’re getting stronger, the truth is soreness will diminish as your muscles adapt to a new exercise, so it can’t be a reliable way to gauge effort.
Here are 6 ways to tell if you’re working out hard enough.
If you find it difficult to speak a full sentence and can only respond in a few words, chances are your workout has been effective. You should be winded, but still be able to talk a bit.
You struggle toward the end
Ideally, the final few reps should be a real effort. The goal should be to push yourself until you are about 2 reps short of failure, or a rate of perceived exertion of 8 out of 10.
You’re energized, not wiped out
When you finish an effective workout, you should feel tired but not exhausted. A good workout will give you energy and make you feel stronger when you leave.
You’re able to recover quickly
After a high-intensity set, your heart rate is up and you’re out of breath. Recovery should be fairly efficient, leaving you ready to continue your exercises. If you have trouble recovering, you’re working too hard.
You sleep soundly
After a good workout, you should sleep soundly without waking up much in the night. This has to do with the hormones and proteins released into your system during exercise that react to regulate sleep. To get the most out of your sleep, take magnesium before bed, keep the room temperature below 65 degrees Fahrenheit and make the room as dark as possible.
You notice changes in your body
Ultimately, you are working out hard enough if you’re seeing positive responses from your body. The first and most important change to measure is your strength. If you get stronger all your body composition and athletic goals have a greater chance of being achieved and maintained. You’ll also feel great and have more energy.