Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Not me...

I'm a little more than just a little embarrassed to admit what I'm about to admit to you...but I decided to go ahead and write about it just in case there are others out there who have this same "problem".

Let me start by telling you about yesterday's workout - power intervals.  It was a brick workout on the spin/stationary bike and treadmill.  I start out on the bike with a warm up then do intervals of very hard and very easy resistance for an HOUR followed by a cool down...then I go straight to the treadmill for a 10 minute warm up, some very fast/easy intervals and a cool down for a total of 30 minutes. 

I've done this workout four times now.  It's hard.  The resistance on the bike should be such that my cadence is 40-60 rpm (normal bike riding is about 85ish).  If you're a bike rider, you know how tough 40-60 is...if you're not, take my word for it.  The treadmill speed should be set so that it's CONSIDERABLY faster than I usually run.  (I comfortably run about a 9:45 pace now...my interval pace is anywhere from 6:00 to 8:20.) 

Yesterday I told myself to make the most out of the workout, not to settle for anything less than my best.  ((I've written before about not knowing exactly what it means to do my "best", and I can say I still have no idea!!))  Every time I increased the resistance I told myself to PUSH; there was not a single time I didn't have more in me than I initially thought. 

Let me explain...my cadence (how many times the pedal rotates in a minute) during the easy minute would average around 75-85.  If I wasn't paying attention it would fall to around 60.  When I increased the resistance (from 2 up to 17 or 18 on the digital readout on the bike) my cadence would drop down to 39ish if I wasn't paying attention.  My old self would have decreased the resistance--making it easier to get the cadence up to 40-60 where it was supposed to be....or maybe pushed enough to make it up to 40ish.  However, yesterday I tried each time to make my legs work to get the cadence up to the 50s (sometimes even going above the 60 mark--which told me I needed to increase resistance).

Not me either...
What shocked me was how much I would sweat during those tough intervals!  I know some of you are laughing.  ...Yes, I was shocked working hard made me sweat.  When I told my husband this story he knew EXACTLY why it shocked me---I'm NOT used to working hard!!!  I'm not lazy (or maybe I really have been).  I always feel like I'm working hard when I think I'm working hard.  However, I've been finding out my definition of hard may not be accurate.

Eric was talking about power intervals the other night; he said if you're doing it right you are slinging sweat everywhere.  I thought to myself what I always think when that topic comes up..."I'm sure glad I don't sweat like that!!"  I have always thought I just don't sweat a lot...but yesterday's workout gave me a different perspective.  I want to be clear here--I do sweat when I work out...but yesterday I was POURING BUCKETS, but ONLY DURING THE REALLY TOUGH SECTIONS WHEN I WAS CONSCIOUSLY CHALLENGING MYSELF. 

Hear this---I'm not saying how much you sweat is a perfect indicator of how hard you're working...however it was remarkable how I started dripping ONLY when I was pushing "as hard as I could".   I could have made the cadence be in the appropriate range with a decent resistance (40ish at 17)...and be sweaty and breathing hard.   To anyone watching it would appear I was working hard.  But when I told myself to work HARDER--to make it HURT and not be afraid of that pain--(pushing up to 60 at 18) it was as if my body turned on the faucet!!

It's funny...I usually take a towel when I workout...most of the time it's fairly dry (not completely, but FAR from soaked) when I leave (again...keep in mind, I thought I wasn't a profuse sweater like "those other people").  Yesterday, my whole hand towel (not small rag) was wet. 

As I have been writing this I've been thinking maybe yesterday was a fluke.  Maybe I really don't sweat that much...yesterday I was simply expelling some retained water and it won't happen again.  ((I've never even really sweat that much in a sauna...but I haven't been in many saunas for very long-it usually gets too hot!!)) However...from what I understand, sweating is the body's reaction to muscular activity.   It would stand to reason more activity would equal more sweat, right??

So...I've said all this to say...  I don't trust my perception of exertion anymore.  In addition to my heart rate as an indicator of how hard I'm working, I'm going to pay attention to my sweat!!


  1. Okay...it's really funny...I linked the Perceived Exertion Scale but didn't actually read it. Interestingly enough, SWEAT really is listed as an indicator of exertion! ("sweating like a pig" is part of level 7) How about that??!

  2. You're an AWESOME writer!! This post was great!! Where have you been going to find a bike with a cadence monitor?


Don't hold back, tell it like it is....