How to tell if you’re working out hard enough|The chocolate cake test

Posted on September 18, 2009


Eat less? hmm…no thank you! Move more? oh yes please!! Maybe you are not as excited as I am about getting up & moving, but when you think of the alternative…becoming a blob of skin, bones, & fat & having to eat not so much food to lose or maintain weight? You should say, hell no! Here is how you should look at increasing your energy expenditure to see positive results in your body & your performance.
Cardiovascular exercise can be one of the easiest ways to take control over your health and fitness. Lower risks of heart disease– which is a leading killer among men & women- and shift the scale toward weight loss and maintenance by achieving regular cardiovascular exercise. US Gov’t guidelines state that it takes 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity most days of the week to achieve a healthy weight loss. This can be done all at once or be broken up throughout the day- but if broken up, each segment needs to be at least 10 minutes long.
For the beginner, moderate exercise is defined as anything that takes about as much energy as a brisk walk – an example for the beginner would be to walk 1.5-2 miles in 30 minutes. For someone already engaging in exercise, this will not be enough intensity to make a measurable difference in weight, so the intensity will need to be raised. The absolute minimum amount of cardio exercise a person should get is 25 minutes, done 3-4 times per week.

don't eat me!!

don't eat me!!

One study showed that moderate exercise done for 25 minutes 3-4 times per week improved aerobic function, but did not lead to weight loss. This means that the heart got stronger, but the caloric deficit was not enough to show a change on the scale. So if you want it, you gotta go for it, and go hard – if you’ve been exercising for a little while- hard is easiest measured by a talk-test. Say the following sentence: “The older I get the more I like to eat chocolate cake.” If you can say it all without having to take a breath mid-sentence or a big one at the end, you’re not going hard enough.
Wherever you are on the scale of fitness ability, the important thing is that you make an effort to do more today than you did yesterday and more tomorrow than you do today. And it is important to realize that you have the ability to take control of your heart health by the choices you make. It is not a daunting task to undertake when you set a clear goal of what you plan to achieve today, tomorrow, this week, this month.
So take a minute and look at your daily calender…where can you fit in 10 minutes of exercise? Where can you shift things around so that you have a block of time most days of the week to get a longer session of cardio in? For those who get fit and stay fit, it’s not a matter of IF they’re going to workout today, it’s a matter of WHEN. So when are you going to do it?
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