ASK A TRAINER: 'How Do I Know if My Trainer is Pushing Me Hard Enough?'
"I've been working with a trainer for two months. I really like her as a person and she definitely knows her stuff. I feel like she works me hard but I don't feel like she's pushing me as hard as she could. I'm getting results but not as quickly as I'd like to? How do I know if my trainer is pushing me hard enough? How do I know if my current trainer is going too easy on me? PS-If you use my question, please withhold my name and city because I know my trainer reads your column."
This is a really good question and it's something I check in with my clients on all the time. The person you really need to talk to about this is your trainer. You say that you are getting results, which is great. People base whether or not they are getting a good workout based on a set of benchmarks that aren't always the best indication. I've heard people measure a workout's value based on how much they sweat or cited a workout as being particularly good because they puked. Neither one of these things is proof that you've gotten in an especially good workout. There is an old bodybuilding concept of lifting to failure; to perform reps of a given exercise until you can no longer physically perform one more. Performing to failure is impractical for anyone that has to continue living life outside the gym once that workout is over.
You can't judge the effectiveness of a given workout based on any of these things. In fact, an individual workout can only really be judged in the context of a larger plan, because it is only through consistency that you will see results. Your fitness journey should be an ongoing and constantly evolving process. You workouts should be progressive in nature. Also, your workouts should enhance your life not prevent you from living your life outside the gym in discomfort. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people judge the merits of a workout based on their inability to lift their arms over their head or walk without pain the next day or how much they sweat.