It’s one thing to do the work, another to know what the work is
It’s happened to me. It’s happened to me more than once over the last couple of months. Injured. Injured enough that I can’t perform cardio and need to let my body heal. One fractured toe (or the metatarsal behind the big toe). At least that is what I think. I still can’t do lunged because of the pain. One fractured tibia, I think. I took a kick to the leg and the result of that was one big contusion. Then I noticed one day that my leg was swollen from just below the knee down to my ankle. It stayed like that for about a week. Not good. I’m going to skip describing what happened to my finger as no one needs to hear that story.
Enough about that, that’s not the point of my post to wine about my injuries. What I want to talk about is when you come back from injuries, how do you know where you stand? Is your cardio crap? Probably. It doesn’t take a whole lot of time off to impact your cardio. Have you lost muscle size and strength? Depending on the length of time you might have. But how do you know other than a general feeling.
You don’t know where you are until you know where you came from. Really. Of course you could guage your general feeling but that can change from day to day and is subjective.
I’ve posted about it before that you should keep a journal to keep yourself motivated. Writing down your performance levels each workout. The number of reps, the weight, number of sets. For cardio it can be a little tougher. If you are doing what I call traditional cardio, running, biking, you can always measure speed, distance, duration. But what about unconventional cardio, things like burpees, body weight exercises. How do you measure that? I think a good way is to write down the exercise, interval length, number completed and heart rate. A little complicated isn’t it. But, you don’t need to do this every session. Do it once a week to understand the gains you have made, to understand where you are in your life of fitness.
Measuring your heart rate is something you should be doing on a regular basis. If you need to perform at 90% of your max heart rate, how do you know if you are doing this until you actually measure your heart rate? You don’t! It’s really just a guess. If you are supposed to be performing the workout at 90% intensity and you are working out at 100% you could be over training. And over training can be as bad to your body and health as not training. I think we need to get away from balls to the wall training all the time and start to train using different levels of intensities. We need to train at 100% just as much as we need to train at 90% intensity.
We are far from the days of putting on our workout clothing and just start running, I hope. Time has shown us that working out to increase performance is a science. It can be complicated if you are an elite athlete but it can be fairly simple if you are someone who works out for heath and some performance gains. Can it take some time? Yes. Does it require a bit more of you? Yes. Can you benefit from it? Yes!
Start measuring and if not anything else, you will be able to reflect, look back and actually see how much better you are performing. Sounds like an awesome motivator doesn’t it.
But I digress. I want to get back to my own experience with this. I just started to run again (more than one run) this week. Did I suck? Sure did. And I knew that because I knew where my fitness level was and where it is. Man, I have some work to do to get back, but that O.K. I’ll get there. And I know I’ll get there because I know where ‘there’ is. You will too.
Yours in health,