How Hard Should You Be Working?

Have you ever worked out and wondered, “Am I doing this right?” Have you worried whether you’re breathing too much, or not enough? Is your heart rate in the right range? It can get overwhelming to think about, but thankfully Julia Collins, owner of Ypsi Studio, is here with some workout guidelines. Take it away, Julia!

When you work out, you want to think about your exertion being in zones from one to four — one being up and awake, and four being all out, which you can only do for about 20 second stretches at a time. You’ll want to adjust your zones to ensure that you have ample time for recovery, and that you’re not demanding too much from your workout. For example, if you’re going for a long run, you obviously can’t be in zone four the whole time. You’ll probably want to be in a 2-3 in that case.

Here’s more about the zones and workouts therein:

  • One: You’re up and awake. You’re not breathing hard. You are moving, but it’s not difficult on any level.
  • Two: Comfortable work. You could keep this up for a long while, but you’re still exerting yourself to a degree.
  • Three: Uncomfortable work. This is challenging. Three is a really important zone — one of those places where it’s hard to stay there, but the more you can challenge yourself to endure zone 3, the more benefit your body will get.
  • Four: Anaerobic work. Here, you will be quite breathless, and sweating profusely. You’re only meant to endure zone 4 for about 15-20 seconds.

The trick about zones is that it’s all about perceived exertion. In other words, someone else’s two is your four. So the best thing to do is to check in with your body, and be mindful of how hard you’re working. In a typical 50-minute class, you should be in your 2-3 most of the time. So if you’re feeling like you’re breathless in your two, you’re going to pass out in a 50-minute class. In that case, slow down, and take it to a level that you can maintain through the whole workout. Conversely, if you’ve completed the whole 50-minute class and barely broken a sweat, you may need to adjust your zones so they’re more challenging.


Julia Looks Back, Looks Ahead

As many of us think about the start of 2013, I know we’ll be crafting New Year’s resolutions. What will we do better? What will we do differently?

This is all well and good, and goals are critical to success. But before you look ahead, I hope you’ll reflect on all the wonderful successes you had in 2012.

At Ypsi Studio, I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing people, day in and day out, and I know there are so many people reading this who kicked butt this year. 

For example, many of you ran races in 2012 that were big milestones. A first 5k, a first 10k, a first Iron Turkey, a first half-marathon, even a first Iron Man! And many of you set personal records when you ran said races. We call these “P.R.’s” and the number of times I heard the phrase “P.R.” this year was mind-boggling.

Many of you also challenged yourselves physically by beginning a personal training journey with Shirley, Josh, or another trainer at Ypsi Studio. These workouts are no joke, and I have seen the results firsthand. I am so proud of all of you who get up when it’s early, or when your muscles still ache from the LAST workout, and you do it even when you don’t want to. That right there is courage and grit and determination—all rolled up into one.

So many of you also got out of your comfort zones with Ypsi Studio classes this year. Whether it was giving willPower & grace a try, or TRX, or a group training class, or climbing on a bike for an indoor cycling class for the first time—I saw countless folks just getting out of their routines. I love to see that. Shaking it up, finding the workout you’re passionate about—these are keys to long-term success.

And I can think of so many people who have experienced a monumental physical transformation as a result of all this hard work. Weight losses, personal bests, added strength and confidence—this is what keeps me coming to my job day in and day out. This is the stuff that changes our lives. It is truly transformative, and I’m so excited by all of it. By all of you.

The community at Ypsi Studio is what knits us all together and keeps us on the right track. So for anyone reading this who is new to the studio, trust that the people you meet (and will become friends with!) will help you in your journey.

I thank all of you for making 2012 so great. Here’s to celebrating what you’ve all done, and to even more success in 2013!

Peace and love,