Perceived exertion my a**!

I went to the gym this morning – seems to be turning into a nice Saturday morning ritual to go to the gym for a good cardio and strength workout… working on turning it back into a daily habit (the cardio part at least 😉 Anywho, thought I was all set – I’m on the elliptical thingie and have my:

towel…check
ipod… check
heart rate mon… oh crap. Seriously!?! I forgot it!?? It was sitting on the table in front of me as I had coffee & a bit of breakfast. How could I forget it?!?!

*sigh* fine…

There’s this thing called ‘percieved exertion’… basically it’s your personal perception of how hard you’re working on a scale of 0-10. 0 being practically asleep, 5 is a middle range where you can hold a good conversation as you’re, say, walking around the mall, 10 being *gasp*oxygen*gasp*plz*gasp*kthxbai*gasp*

About 10 min into my time on the elliptical I realized what a load of cr@p the PE scale really is… Think about it… you’re asking me, a person who is finally learning what an actual portion size is, a person who still hasn’t quite gotten the hang of intuitive eating and figuring out if I’m /really/ hungry enough at the end of the meal for a second helping or just wanting to eat… so this is the same person you’re asking to figure out how hard I’m really working. Seriously?

Problem is, I feel like I’m working at a 9.5 when my heart rate is at 140 and at a 6 when I’m at 160 (if I’m actually wearing my HRM, that is), so how is it I’m supposed to trust myself to believe I’m really working that hard when I don’t have that fairly accurate feedback loop.

Ok, yes, I realize I answered my own question – it’s about trusting myself and my efforts.

Thing is, I don’t… at least not entirely.

I’m a loooot further along in trusting myself than I was when I first started this journey, but it’s been a lot of work, too. It takes me a while to really ‘get’ the things I keep reading or hearing, things like ‘track your way to success.’

Ya know what, it’s really true, and there’s many reasons – for me at least – why tracking/writing things down really does make a difference in how fast I’ll get to my goal: Tracking helps me monitor my success, I have data to look at and see what I did last month, or yesterday and how it compares to today. It gives me instant feed back; if I eat this, how does it impact my ratios, my calorie intake, my sodium level? If I do this exercise over that one, what will the impact be?

But most importantly, it helps me build my instincts to start trusting myself. And it encourages me to be creative. I had a serious moment of panic the first time I didn’t have access to a computer to be able to track all my food one day. What if I screw up totally?! I had to *gasp* trust myself! I had to trust that I’d actually learned a thing or two in the process of logging my food.

Today I did the same thing. I sucked it up, decided it was more important to plow through the workout since I was there, rather than drive home and get my HRM (But don’t think I didn’t spend more time than necessary considering it!). Decided to use the level of resistance as a measure – so much at level 4, then 5, etc. It wasn’t the supah-stah workout that I had in mind, but I was sweating, my body was workin’, and, most importantly, I did it.

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