First, congratulate yourself for asking this question. This means that you are working out regularly and are making sure that your efforts are efficient and worthwhile. I do not want to frustrate you with this article, in suggesting that you increase the intensity of your workouts. However, you should make sure that your workouts are continuing to benefit you, so that you are not wasting your time.
Here are a few tips to make sure you are on the right track:
1) Sweat. If you are sweating, chances are you are having a good workout. A sweaty workout means that your heart rate is in the moderate intensity range, and that your body is burning calories as fuel. Of course, when it’s hot, you will sweat easier, and if it’s cold it may take a bit longer, but use this as a rough estimate. Keep in mind that you must continue to drink water to replace lost sweat.
2) Breathing Hard. Breathing hard is a reliable sign of a good workout. Your body’s oxygen demand increases with workout intensity; therefore, if you are breathing harder, you are working out at a higher intensity. You want to breath hard, but obviously not to a point where you cannot catch your breath. If you are not expending much effort with breathing, pick up the intensity.
3) Muscle Fatigue. Muscle fatigue is another excellent indicator for the efficiency of your workout. Honestly, with every workout you perform, you want your muscles to get to a point where “you cannot do another rep, or run another 1/2 mile.” While low-intensity exercise is relaxing, you must work your muscles to fatigue if you want them to continue to grow and develop. This explains why 500 rep workouts are so great because they guarantee muscle fatigue, which results in excellent growth.
4) Target Heart Rate. Now we get more technical with the target heart rate, which is 220- your age x 60-85%. When exercising your heart rate should be within this range, but no more than 220 – your age (maximum heart rate). You can check your heart rate intermittently by feeling your pulse located on the thumb side of your palmar-side wrist. You may also purchase a heart rate monitor from a sports store. Think of your heart rate as the tachometer in your car. The higher you rev the engine, the more fuel (calories) you will burn.
I encourage to perform each exercise at a moderate to high intensity to continue to benefit.