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Perceived Exertion Scale

When exercising, it's important to monitor your intensity to make sure you're working at a pace that is challenging enough to help you reach your goals, but not so hard that you blow a lung. One way to do that is to use a Perceived Exertion Scale. The standard is the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion, which ranges from 0-20. Because I'm a math-idiot, I made up my own scale (see below) that's a little easier to remember. In general, for most workouts you want to be at around Level 5-6. If you're doing interval training, you want your recovery to be around a 4-5 and your intensity blasts to be at around 8-9. As you'll see below, working at a level 10 isn't recommended for most workouts. For longer, slower workouts, keep your PE at Level 5 or lower.

  • Level 1: I'm watching TV and eating bon bons
  • Level 2: I'm comfortable and could maintain this pace all day long
  • Level 3: I'm still comfortable, but am breathing a bit harder
  • Level 4: I'm sweating a little, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly
  • Level 5: I'm just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily
  • Level 6: I can still talk, but am slightly breathless
  • Level 7: I can still talk, but I don't really want to. I'm sweating like a pig
  • Level 8: I can grunt in response to your questions and can only keep this pace for a short time period
  • Level 9: I am probably going to die
  • Level 10: I am dead

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