How to Monitor Your Effort During Cardio Workouts

Happy Monday!


How was your weekend? Or, should I say, how IS your weekend- to those of you lucky ducks who have today off! I have some fun, nerdy stuff to talk to you about today and I am really excited about it. I want to be a college professor, so I get really giddy when I have a chance to teach, even if it is via blogging. Smile But, before I do, let me first say…

Happy Veteran’s Day!

God Bless all those who have served and are serving for our country- thank you so much for your sacrifices!

Workouts Last Week~

I only got in 4 days last week, but 3 of the 4 workouts were crazy intense.. so I guess it all workouts out in the end. OR at least that is what I’m telling myself. HA!

Workouts 115 to 119

  • Tuesday AM- 3 mile run & Tuesday PM- Crossfit!
  • Wednesday- Olympic Lifts and Crossfit
  • Thursday- 3 mile walk
  • Friday- 400M sprints and Crossfit!

Weekend Recap~

I spent most of my weekend sleeping…


With my family…

[#tbt to when my little brother performed the his high school’s marching band]

&& teaching my dad how to hold a barbell in a front squat…


GO DAD! Smile

Rate of Perceived Exertion: What the Heck is it & How Do You Use It in Exercise? 


Yesterday, I ran a 5K around my neighborhood. [which, by the way, is super hilly and I should’ve thought about this before moving into my apartment… it’s a blessing and a curse] On Crossfit Endurance, they suggested doing a 5K at an 85% RPE.

Okay, so I have a leg up because I studied this stuff in college. So, when I read that, I thought “Oh- easy as pie” Well, it wasn’t easy to run the 5K. It was just easy to calculate my 85% RPE. But, then  I thought about just how confusing it might be to someone who didn’t spend endless amounts of hours calculating bodily functions.

What is an RPE?

RPE stands for the rate of perceived exertion. Take a scale from 1-20. If you were exercising and someone were to ask how you were feeling on a scale from 1-20, that’d be your RPE. The scale you use for RPE is called the Borg’s Scale.. just in case you were wondering. [excuse my nerd-ness]

What do the numbers stand for?

You actually use a scale that ranges from 7-20. Why? The numbers on the scale stand for your heart rate during exercise. The average resting heart rate is 70 BPM [give or take a few BPMs], which is why it starts at 7. And, it goes up to 20 because your Max HR [heart rate] is calculated by…

Max HR= 220- your age

… and most people who use this scale are over the age of 20.

So, your RPE is pretty much your estimated HR- but it is just an easier way to measure it during exercise. In a perfect world, you could use a HR monitor AND think of the RPE scale to make sure that everything is accurate.

It’s hard to say what a good RPE rating would be for an effective cardio workout. I guess you would have to think about what your goals are with the workout. Here are a few examples:

1. Loosing weight/ Anaerobic Power= Try to stick with an 18 to 19 rating for this one. I know that most people would assume that, in order to burn fat, you have to have a lower HR and spend more time on your cardio. BUT- that’s not the way I usually train my clients, and it’s not the most effective way to loose weight. It’s better to do a minute or so of high intensity cardio; this is also known as anaerobic power. In a nutshell, this will help you burn the most calories in the least amount of time- less time, more calories burned makes for the most effective weight loss.

2. Overall Fitness= Let’s say you want to go for a walk/bike ride/jog just to keep the heart tickin’ and to maintain your health. In this case, you could stick to an RPE rating of 14 to 16, depending on how old you are and how long you have been exercising. This will increase your HR just enough to train your heart and make it healthy. However, it’s a pretty sustainable HR- aka you won’t feel like you are going to die during your workout.

** It’s important to know your Resting Heart Rate (RHR)- be sure to get it checked by your doctor OR do it yourself when you wake up in the morning. (Before drinking coffee, eating anything, or your stinky commute to work- all of which will increase your HR) Once you have you RHR, you can figure out your Max Heart Rate (MHR) and know the percentages/RPE ratings that you should be at during exercise.

So there is your school lesson for the day… unless you are in school, in which case here is your 2nd or 3rd lecture for the day. Winking smile


  • Do you check your Heart Rate when you work out?
  • How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?

See ya~ Kay

About Kaylie @ FitnessMovesYou

I live for healthy living. It is my whole being and I believe a desire to live a healthier life lies within all of us. My goal is to educate in the most understanding way possible, and cater to a world full of busy bodies, unsettled minds, and tainted souls. This blog is not a diet regimen, nor will it guarantee weight loss. It is simply to gather information into one convenient place. It is a tool meant to be shared with the world. What you choose to do with it is up to you. Read, apply, disregard, or use. But, above all, enjoy!

Posted on November 11, 2013, in Cardio Workout, Running, Weekend Workout, Weekly Recap and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This was really interesting and informative to read! I need to get myself a heart rate monitor!

  2. Look at your dad! that’s awesome, and what a good daughter! Great info- I learned all this when getting my cert and decided I was just going to get a heart rate monitor! :)

  3. I love this… I don’t wear a heart monitor – I’m just getting to the point about caring about training where I time my miles during a couple runs a week…. but I do try to think about the breathing-RPE scale… I should really try a heart monitor.

  4. That pic of you sleeping is seriously so cute!

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