Everyone has limits. If you are just starting your exercise program or struggling to stick to a workout plan, you have limits. If you have loads of experience with exercise and you are in great shape, you have limits. Personal trainers will usually tell the novice exercisers that they aren’t working hard enough. Most inconsistent exercisers have never worked as hard as a personal trainer will push them. Everyone is motivated by different factors. Trainers help some people find something inside themselves they didn’t know was there or simply bring out results that wouldn’t have been worked for had a trainer not been there to urge along the extra reps and sets. Most trainers have learned the limits to prevent new exercisers from getting burned out, too sore, or going too far with their workouts, especially cardio work.
The first step in reaching your fitness goals is deciding that you are going to work hard. It doesn’t have to be an all day, every day experience to get into great shape, but chances are you will have to push a little harder than you currently push. As important as it’s going to be to push yourself, it’s also going to be just as important to know your limits. The same goes for the regular and experienced exercisers. Just because you have been working out for a long time doesn’t make you an expert on knowing your limits. Here are a few tips to make sure you always know your limits and never go too far.
Rest – Ahhh rest. The favorite word of the new exerciser. The rest referred to in this context relates to the type of workouts you perform. You never want to train the same body parts two days in a row. When you exercise and lift weights to fatigue, you break down muscle fibers. These fibers have to have a chance to grow back stronger. Working out the same muscle groups for a few days in a row could do more damage than good. You could work out 6-7 days a week as long as those exercises are controlled and focused on different muscle groups. Plenty of sleep and adequate protein also fit into this category. It is recommended to work out 3-4 days per week and train both the muscles with resistance training and the heart and lungs with cardio work.
Heart Rate. If you are going to push yourself for maximum results, the key is staying in a safe heart rate zone. The cardio work you do will be the main area in which to concentrate your efforts toward maintaining heart rate. Everyone will have their own limits, and it’s directly related to how in shape and regular your workouts are on a weekly basis. You can check your heart rate yourself or buy a heart rate monitor (recommended), which will make it much easier to check your heart rate in the middle of a workout.
Here’s a quick chart for reference:
Target Zone % of Maximum Heart Rate
60% – 75% – 85%
Max Heart Rate
Start out training in the 60% range until you can maintain continuous cardio work for 30 minutes. Next, progress to the 75% range. As you get in better shape, you can begin to train in the 85% range. You will do this in interval for and the workouts wont last as long. Don’t ever let your heart rate get near the 100% range.
Remember. You can lift weights every day as long as you are training different muscles from the previous day. You can run every day, but you need plenty of rest (your joints especially). Stretch daily to maintain the full range of motion of your muscles. Listen to your body. If it is telling you to stop, please stop.