To judge how your workout is going when you're in the thick of it can be tough at times.

Normally you can tell if your workout was hard enough for you. Other times its hard to tell if you are working hard enough to get any benefits from your workout. To judge how your workout is going when you're in the thick of it can be tough at times. So the big question is: how do you know if you're challenging your body enough during exercise?

One way to gauge your workout would be to track your heart rate. Newer cardio machines are able to take heart rates simply by you holding specific spots. The best way though is to take your heart rate at a pulse site (think wrist or neck). You can count how many heart beats in 15 seconds and multiply it by 4. There is a wonderful thing called a “Heart Rate Training Zone.” It's where you want to keep your heart rate so you get the most out of your exercise. To begin, take 220 and subtract your age, this is your max heart rate, DON'T GET CLOSE TO THIS!!! Unless you are a trained athlete. From here, WebMD says it best:

“Target heart rate zones range anywhere from 50% to 100% of your maximum heart rate (your maximum heart rate is based on your age). Aerobic exercise is anything less than 85%, and anaerobic exercise is anything above that. A nice starting point for a sedentary individual is somewhere in the range from 50% to 65% (you can always increase as you get more fit), and 65% to 85% for more conditioned individuals.”

Another way to gauge your workout is to pay attention to how you feel during the workout. This can be combined with your heart rate to get a good picture of how your workout is going. A good scale to use would be the Borg scale. This is a range of numbers from 6 – 20. 6 would be where you are during your warm-up, and 20 would be not being able to breathe during your workout (hint: this is too intense). You would pick a number that you best associate with how you're feeling at any particular time during your workout. The key here is to be honest with yourself. A 12-14 is a good place to get to and stay.

One way of telling you how hard your working is the “Talk Test.” This is a good one to use when working out with a friend or two. If you are exercising and can carry on a conversation comfortably, then you are probably exercising at a good intensity. To know if you are working harder, pay attention to how hard it gets to carry on a conversation. If it gets difficult, that's a good place to stay for a bit to get your intensity up. For more information, call the Y at (570) 253-2083 or visit us online at