Sounds fancy, doesn't it? In reality, it happens to be quite the opposite. Determining your rating of perceived exertion is actually an easy way to gauge the intensity of your workout. And as you know, it's imperative that you reach a certain intensity to reap any benefits whatsoever. Us fitness professionals will tell you that this intensity is best achieved by working out at 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. But if you don't already know it, will you really stop mid-run to crunch some numbers? That's highly unlikely, right? (Especially if, like me, you detest numbers.) So instead, the RPE Scale comes into play. With a bit of subjective analysis, you can determine your rating of perceived exertion. All you have to do is assess how hard you're working based on the Scale itself:
So where should you be on the RPE scale? Generally speaking, you want to work hard while you're exercising. So aiming for an RPE between 4 and 7 makes sense. But to really, really push it—you'll need to take it up a notch. Of course, that isn't always necessary if the quality of your work at the "hard" to "very hard" stage is good. After all, at that stage, you should be feeling it. If not, assess your workouts and see if perhaps you need to switch something up a bit.
Speaking of switching things up. I found a gem of a peanut butter at the store yesterday. I was out, and headed straight for the all-natural store brand of peanut butter. It's cheap, and only contains peanuts and salt. No funny business that ups flavor or fat content. But as I made my way through the produce section, I happened to find this gem. Into the basket it went, afternoon snack it became:
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