I’ve got a seemingly random question; If we were to jump into your car right now, how loud would your radio be playing? Chances are it’s at a level that isn’t too low or too loud. Sure, from time to time, you crank it up and sing loudly. At other times you turn it down when you’ve had a tough day at the office and just want to hear something soft to help reduce the stress of the day.
Now I want you to apply that same idea to the intensity of your workouts.
Some days you’re feeling like the Axl from Guns N’ Roses (feel free to fill in your front man and fantasy band here if it suits you), and you’re at a 10/10 on the intensity and feeling ready for whatever the workout may be. Kickass! Glad you’re ready to go hard, but not every workout should leave you in the fetal position gasping.
There is nothing, read that again, NOTHING wrong with turning the intensity down for a day if you’re not 100%. Maybe your nutrition was crap at the company luncheon, or your two-year-old has been having trouble sleeping, and it’s got you up at night (that’s me). Perhaps you’re in the gym for the 5th day in a row, and you usually come 3 days a week. Going hard for the sake of going hard may help relieve some stress mentally, but physically you’re doing a disservice to your progress. In fact, there is recent research to back this up.
Over the past decade, you have probably seen a large uptick in wearable technology to track physical activity. Companies like FitBit, Whoop, Garmin, and Oura Ring all have proprietary measures related to readiness for exercise. These wearable devices look at factors like resting heart rate, respiration rate, heart rate variability, and more. These readiness factors allow the wearer to gain insight into what their body is doing from a qualitative standpoint to help provide information about how to structure your workout. For example, researchers in Spain published an article in June of this year outlining how the metrics used by many of these wearable technologies were used to refine the training habits of cyclists and improve training outcomes1.
While these devices provide some great information, you still need to apply it appropriately. Furthermore, many of us don’t need these devices to tell us that we are feeling run down, ready to go. What we need is to find our workout of the day that aligns perfectly when our readiness state. One that is going to be the most beneficial for that day.
Having a coach that can help you set the focus and purpose for the day’s workout to align your readiness state, ability, and long goals are so important. If you need help getting the most out of your training, try connecting with one of our coaches to see what recommendations they have!
1. Javaloyes, Alejandro1; Sarabia, Jose M.1; Lamberts, Robert P.2; Plews, Daniel3; Moya-Ramon, Manuel1 Training Prescription Guided by Heart Rate Variability Vs. Block Periodization in Well-Trained Cyclists, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: June 2020 – Volume 34 – Issue 6 – p 1511-1518 doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003337