You may or may not be familiar with the RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) scale as it applies to fitness, but it can be very beneficial in determining if your effort level is where it should be.
RPE is essentially a scale that was designed to help people judge the intensity of a workout without having to invest in a heart rate monitor or other gadgets.
All you need is an honest opinion of how hard you’re working – it’s subjective, so you’re the only person who can truly say whether your effort level is 3, 5 or 8.
For the Core Envy protocol, I chose to go with an RPE scale of 1-10 (if you do a little online research you will see scales that go from 1-20) because it’s a bit more user friendly. If you’re not sure how to rank your exertion level, or what types of exercises qualify as hard or easy, here is a little guide that may help.
- RPE 1: sitting
- RPE 2: slow walking
- RPE 3: brisk walking, light housework, bowling can easily talk during activity
- RPE 4: gentle walking uphill, easy elliptical, easy cycling, heavy housework
- RPE 5: moderate walking uphill, moderate elliptical, easy jog, walking lunges, slightly out of breath but can still talk
- RPE 6: brisk walking uphill, elliptical with either quick speed or medium resistance, moderate jog, becoming more difficult to talk
- RPE 7: jogging uphill, ellipitical with heavy resistance or very fast speed, can only speak 2-3 words at a time
- RPE 8: fast run, cycling uphill, very difficult to talk
- RPE 9: sprinting, cycling uphill at very fast speed, impossible to talk
- RPE 10: all out effort, typically can’t last more than 20-30 seconds
Use this guide to help gauge how hard you’re working during your Core Envy cardio routines. With practice, you will become the master of your own personal RPE scale!
RPE is a great way to stay honest as you get fitter. As your fitness improves during the Core Envy program, you’ll notice that you’re able to work out harder at the same RPE ratings. In other words, you’ll be able to run faster or set the stair-stepper higher while feeling like you’re still working as hard as before. This is exactly what you want.
Just make sure that you aren’t sandbagging! If a 9:00 minute mile pace is an RPE 7 for you at Week 1 of Core Envy, make sure that your RPE 7 at Week 6 still feels like it’s the right difficulty. Don’t stick to 9:00 minute mile pace just because it used to be your RPE 7!
This post is from Core Envy by Allison Westfahl.
Allison Westfahl’s Core Envy will tone and sculpt your abs, back, stomach, and sides—and build a strong, sexy core you’ll love showing off. Core Envy solves the problems traditional abs programs ignore with HIIT cardio, functional core sculpting exercises, and a smart diet overhaul.