It can be hard to tell whether your workout routine is too easy. If you have a regular routine at the gym that you have been fairly consistent with, you should make sure it hasn’t gotten too easy. The first thing to do is figure out whether you are reaching at least sixty percent of your maximum heart rate during each workout. You may also want to observe your level of focus on exercise versus socializing and take note of physical signs such as sweat, heavy breathing and hunger after workouts.
EditUsing Goals, Time and Heart Rate
- Look at whether your routine is allowing you to reach your goals. You should take a hard look at whether your current workout routine is allowing you to reach your goals. You may have reached a plateau with your current workout routine if you are not seeing results within an expected timeframe and other factors like diet have remained consistent.
- If you have reached a plateau with your weight loss goals, you could try breaking up your workout into two workouts a day. This will allow you to multiply the calorie burning benefits of exercise, since your heart rate will be increased twice in a day.
- Count up the total hours in your weekly workout routine. Considering all of the workouts you do during the week, count up the number of hours that you put in. Guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least two and a half hours of activity per week. If you are not putting in at least two and a half hours, your workout routine may be too easy.
- Check your heart rate. You can manually check your heart rate with your index and middle finger. With one hand facing up, place your index and middle finger one inch below your wrist. Adjust your fingers until you can feel your pulse. Count the number of beats you feel for sixty seconds to get your beats per minute.
- If you prefer, you can use a heart rate monitor. Place the strap of the heart rate monitor around your chest and look at the wristwatch/readout to see your current heart rate.
- Figure out your maximum heart rate. You can figure out if your workout is too easy by observing whether your heart rate is too low. To figure this out, start by determining your maximum heart rate. A simple way to do this is to minus your age in years from 220.
- If you are thirty years old, your maximum heart rate will be approximately 190.
- If you are forty years old, your maximum heart rate would be 180.
- Reach at least sixty percent of your maximum heart rate. You will know you are not working hard enough if you do not reach at least sixty percent of your maximum heart rate. Some physical trainers recommend aiming for a higher percentage of your maximum heart rate during workouts, such as 70 to 85 percent. The percentage of your maximum heart rate you strive for will depend on your particular fitness goals, but you should observe your heart rate to make sure you are at least reaching sixty percent.
- If you are thirty years old, have a maximum heart rate of 190 and you want to maintain at least sixty percent of your maximum heart rate, you should aim for a heart rate of 114 beats per minute. If it goes below that number, you should work a little harder.
- If you are not reaching sixty percent, you could work harder by increasing the speed or incline on your treadmill. Run faster until you get to at least sixty percent of your maximum heart rate and then continue for the rest of your workout.
- If you are running outside, you could try running very fast for a minute and then going back to your regular pace. Repeat this process until you get to at least sixty percent of your maximum heart rate. You could also try other forms of interval training at the gym.
- Change your routine if your heart rate is staying low. If you have been doing the same routine for a while and you notice your heart rate is not reaching the same level as normal, it could be an indication that you need to switch your workout routine. Consider working a little harder or doing a new exercise to challenge your body in a new way. With your new routine, try to maintain at least sixty percent of your maximum heart rate.
EditNoticing if Your Cardio Routine is Too Easy
- Notice if you are sweating. If you don’t have to wipe any sweat off your brow while on the treadmill or other cardio machine, your workout may be too easy. Increase the intensity of your cardiovascular workout until you begin to sweat.
- See if you lose your breath at any point during the workout. Take a minute after your cardiovascular workout and observe your breath. If it is fairly deep and heavy, it is a good sign. If it doesn’t feel any different than if you were sitting at your office desk, you may need to run or cycle harder.
- Determine whether you spend more time socializing than exercising. The gym is a social place, which is great but can also distract you from your cardiovascular workout. The same thing can be said about other forms of cardiovascular exercise such as walking or jogging with friends. If you spend more time chatting with friends during your workout, it may have gotten too easy for you.
- To figure out if this is the case, observe whether you can easily talk with a friend while working out. If you can put together a sentence easily while working out, you may not be pushing yourself hard enough.
- Reflect on whether you focus too much on the entertainment. If you find yourself focusing on your book, magazine or television show more than your cardiovascular workout, your workout may be too easy. Look away from the television or magazine for a minute and check your heart rate. If it is below sixty percent of your maximum heart rate, you may not be pushing yourself enough.
- Do high intensity interval training. If your cardio workout is getting way too easy, you may benefit from a new, less boring form of exercise called high intensity interval training or HIIT. Whether you are on the treadmill, bike or swimming, push yourself very hard for between thirty and ninety seconds. Then, go slow for twice that length of time. Then, bring the intensity back up again for another thirty to ninety seconds. Repeat the process for twenty or thirty minutes for a good cardio workout.
- If you do HIIT training and it is getting easy, start reducing the rest period between periods of intensity. Keep reducing the period of rest until half of your workout is at a very high intensity and the other half is at a low intensity.
EditFiguring Out Whether Your Weight Training is Too Easy
- Observe whether the last few repetitions are hard. If you are strength training and the last few repetitions of your set are not difficult, your workout may be too easy. For instance, if you are doing three sets of 6-8 repetitions on a bench press, it should be very hard to complete the last few repetitions on your second and third set. If it is easy, it is a sign that your body has become more efficient with the exercise routine and is burning less calories to complete the same movement. To increase your strength, you need to increase the weight on the bench press or other weighted exercise. Try adding 2.5, 5 or even 10 lbs, depending on how you are feeling.
- If you add a lot of weight, get somebody to spot you.
- As Arnold Schwarzenegger puts it, “we are always stronger than we know it”. Your body naturally mislead you that it is the last rep that you can perform, even though you can do a few more; try it and you will see.
- Take notes on your strength training routine. After each exercise, take notes about the difficulty of completing the lifts, as well as whether you were able to complete them in good form. The next time you do a workout, check your notes to see whether a particular strength training exercise was previously completed in good form and to determine an appropriate weight.
- If you did the exercise seamlessly last time, you should add more weight. Add 2.5, 5 or 10 lbs, depending on how you are feeling. If you add a lot of weight, get somebody to spot you.
- If you were unable to complete the exercise in good form previously, do it again at a similar or lower weight until you have perfect form.
- Notice if you feel hungry after a workout. Your body needs protein and other nutrients to repair muscle tissue. However, if you are not pushing yourself hard enough in your weight routine, you may not get your usual hunger pangs after a workout.
- See if you feel sore. If you are not pushing yourself hard enough to experience some muscle fatigue after lifting weights, your body may have adapted too much to your workout routine. Try incorporating different movements and exercises into your daily and weekly routine. For instance, try a new group strength training class or get tips from a personal trainer on how to mix up your routine.
- If you normally do a flat bench press, try doing an incline bench press.
- If you normally use machines for strength training, try using more free weights.
- Consider whether you have been doing the same routine for too long. Although a consistent strength training routine is very important for tracking your progress, you need to change things up once in a while. The reason is that your body eventually adapts so well to a routine that it is no longer challenging and the fitness benefits diminish. If you have been doing the same strength training routine for two months, you should definitely try to switch things up or try a new exercise.
- Fitness trainers recommend switching your routine every six to eight weeks.
- If you don’t want to switch your whole routine, you could change part of it. For example, you could add a new exercise in the middle of your routine and keep the end of your routine the same.