Don’t get caught up in how much weight you SHOULD be lifting or how many reps you SHOULD be doing. That’s wrong-headed. If you want to know what you SHOULD be doing to make your workout most worthwhile, you don’t have to look at anyone else.
Everyone of us has different strengths and weaknesses, different experience with exercise, and strong or weak days. So never rely on comparison with anyone else, no matter how similar you may see them or how much you want to match their fitness.
VT1 and VT2
I’ve written about these before, but it’s been awhile, and a discussion this morning with a client had me thinking about it again.
VT is the “ventilatory threshold,” meaning the line you cross with regard to how much air you’re breathing in and what that means about how hard your heart is working.
Below VT1. If you spend your workout at a comfort level where you can carry on a conversation (or, say, recite the alphabet), you’ll be exercising below the VT1 and be getting only minimal gains. Your heart rate will be around 40%-50% of your maximum. Great for easing emotional stress and some weight loss.
At VT1. If you’re sweating and can NOT carry on a conversation–but you CAN respond to questions and ask short questions–then you’re at VT1, and you’ll gain aerobic capacity and fat loss much faster. Your heart rate will be around 60%-70% of your maximum. Hour-long studio classes like Zumba and BodyCombat live here. Once conditioned, you can exercise in this range for hours.
VT1 > VT2. If you push yourself beyond VT1 to the point where you can’t even speak, you’re nearing VT2. Your heart rate will be around 80%-90% of your maximum. You won’t likely be able to sustain this intensity of exercise for a few minutes at a time until you’ve condition yourself with activities such as HIIT or Crossfit. Then, you’ll be able to continue for 20-30 minutes as you near VT2. At this level, it’s not just more calories but qualitatively different effects; you’ll get increased fat burn but also EPOC effect which will burn calories for hours afterward and stimulate human growth hormone and improve insulin sensitivity.
>VT2. Those who push past the VT2 range do so for mere minutes and are likely increasing athletic performance. Past VT2 is the 100%+ range of your heart rate.
It’s YOUR workout! Focus on what your breathing and heart rate are doing at each workout. You may hit 80% when someone else is at 50% and chatting away. If you try to match what others are doing, you’re not accounting for the differences in day, diet, sleep, size, and other factors that influence our workouts every day.