How to Calculate RPE

How to Calculate RPE

When it comes to fitness, every journey is different. So, it’s hard to calculate exactly what success means because it can vary from person to person.

Regardless of your exercise preferences, knowing where to start and how to measure progress can be challenging. Maybe you’re in it for strength, or perhaps endurance is your thing, but regardless, your journey is yours alone. When it comes to goal setting, you can use this to your advantage! 

Understanding RPE, or Rate of Perceived Exertion, can help you set exercise goals and measure progress. To learn more about what RPE is, check out our blog all about RPE.

RPE is a way for people to gauge their level of exertion. It was developed in the mid-19th century by Gunnar Borg, a psychologist who studied the connection between mind and body. Borg developed a scale of RPE so patients could more accurately track how they feel when performing certain tasks. 

When it comes to fitness, we can use RPE to establish how hard we’re working so we can move toward our goals with real numbers in mind. Basically, RPE allows us to have a tangible measurement to track our workouts and exercise intensity. 

How is it Calculated?

There are two scales of RPE: one that ranges from 6-20 and another that ranges from 0-10. 

The 6-20 scale was the first scale Borg produced and it’s based on your actual heart rate, not maximum heart rate. The 0-10 scale is a newer and more simpler version that is a bit more abstract and open to personal interpretation. 

The way to calculate with the 6-20 RPE scale is by simply multiplying your heart rate by 10. If you’re at rest (exerting the least amount of energy as possible), it’s probably around 60 beats per minute (though athletes tend to have lower resting heart rates). 60 divided by 10 is 6, which puts you at the bottom of the exertion scale. On the opposite end of the scale is a 20, which translates to 200 bpm. A level 20 on the RPE scale is only normally attainable by high-level athletes. 

The 1-10 scale isn’t based on target heart rate and is therefore more subjective; you have to be very in tune with your body in order to use the scale. When using this scale, you must check in with your personal interpretation of how you’re feeling and trust that perception—sometime’s it is a little less scientifically accurate, but is holistically beneficial and allows you to check in with yourself. 

How Can We Use RPE For Our Own Fitness? 

Naturally, when we discover a new fitness tool, we want to understand how we can utilize it to maximize our own fitness routines. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mayo Clinic, the American Heart Association, Harvard Medical School, and most other authorities on health in the United States agree that 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (or 30 minutes per day) is adequate to establish and maintain good health in adults. 

The keyword is “moderate,” which is a relatively subjective measurement. 

What does moderate mean for your ability? In order to follow the above guidelines, we need to understand how our bodies feel when they are doing moderate training intensity. This is where RPE comes in: it provides us with a standard system of measurement from which to establish what “moderate” means to each and every one of us. To establish what it means to you, consider using your heart rate to establish what that feels like and what you have to do to get your heart rate to 130-140 bpm. 

The beauty of moderate exercise is that it’s a broad term. It doesn’t describe what you need to do, it just describes how intensely you need to be doing it. So if you prefer stand-up paddleboarding, intramural soccer, or lifting weights, you can adjust your work to your lifestyle. 

Remember, your fitness goals will look and feel uniquely yours! Here at Chuze, we’re always working to support everybody’s goals and fitness abilities. RPE is a great way to check in with yourself and feel grounded in your own progress. While there are plenty of other tools for measuring fitness, such as a heart rate monitor, your blood oxygen count, and more, we recommend using RPE value to help you see how you overcome, grow, and develop as an athlete over time. 

For example, it feels so great when running a mile at a high RPE three months ago feels a lot easier today. However, without tracking perceived effort, you’d probably forget that a mile used to be a lot more challenging for you.  

If lifting weights, cruising on an elliptical, or taking a group class is up your alley, visit any of our 30+ Chuze Fitness locations today! We’ve got all of the tools to get your heart pumping in whatever way makes you feel good, strong, and connected to your body.

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Go For A Ride With A Power Meter: Studio Cycling

Go For A Ride With A Power Meter: Studio Cycling

Try out an indoor cycling class using a Power Meter and spin your wheels with a purpose! If you are looking to get more out of your workout with each pedal stroke you make, using a cycling power meter can help you take your training to the next level. The Power Meter display is a bike-attached console that allows riders to advance and enhance their training goals with real-time visual feedback using various metrics. Learn more about these classes and how we use technology to enhance your workout in them here.

What Is A Power Meter Ride?

The Power Meter Ride (PMR) is perfect for all levels of fitness and indoor cycling experience. The beauty of indoor cycling is each rider is in control of speed, resistance and position of their bike. During the Power Meter Ride, the instructor will coach various drills highlighting each of the metrics below as well as drills that combine metrics. Not only does this bike computer include reliable power measurements, but it also displays clear power data through its smart trainer technology. 

It tracks metrics like: 

  • Duration
  • Distance
  • Power Output (Wattage)
  • Cadence or Revolutions per Minute (RPMs)
  • Ground Speed (MPH/KPH)
  • Caloric Expenditure (min, max, avg)
  • Ability to pair some, but not all HRM’s for On-Display instant HR

Smart Trainer Technology

With this technology, the instructor could determine a duration/distance goal, asking the rider to eyeball the maximum or average wattage for the drill. Although overlooked by many, the PMR will allow for athletes to engage in a “working recovery ride” where the rider does not exceed certain parameters or thresholds, allowing them to stay in the right power zone for a comfortable ride.

Many Power Meters are ANT+/BT compatible for data collection. Some Power Meters have a USB port to record data to a memory stick for transfer to other training programs. A simple option for riders who want to track performance or data, simply take a picture of your final “Results” screen for comparing subsequent rides.

A significant benefit of the cycling Power Meter Ride, regardless of the metrics, is helping the rider overcome “mental drift” during the workout. A distracted workout can sabotage one’s precious training time and goals. The entire ride has energy and focus while the music drives the movement.

Wrapping Up

Whether you are an avid cycler or more of a beginner, doing a Power Meter Ride can be very beneficial to any rider, regardless of their goals. Tracking your progress and planning attainable goals for your rides can take your cycling workout to the next level. Remember to calibrate, listen to your body when you need rest, pace effectively, and most importantly—have fun! You can find more info about our cycling classes and more by checking out a location near you.


Article By Laura Roberts, Chuze Fitness Instructor

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5 Benefits of Isolation Exercises

5 Benefits of Isolation Exercises

With so many ways to exercise nowadays, it’s important to get back to the basics every so often. Isolation exercises are some of the most basic and simple exercises because they selectively isolate one muscle group at a time, allowing you to put your complete focus, attention, and effort into them. 

Today we’re exploring five benefits of isolated exercises

1 | Focus on form

One of the benefits of isolation exercises is that you solely focus on one specific muscle area at a time. You can allow isolation exercises to act as a type of meditation; find focus and power through your body’s movement and hone in on the proper form. 

When doing things quickly and focusing on multiple areas of the body, muscles can build and strengthen faster, however, proper form can also be overlooked. This is where isolated exercise can be beneficial. As you focus on a specific area in your body, you’ll notice where your form can be improved and where other muscles may have been overcompensating. We recommend finding a video demonstration online or working with a trained fitness or health professional who can help you correct your form. 

2 | Zero in on a specific muscle group

If you’re trying to build and focus on a single muscle group, isolation exercise will be your best friend. When it comes to isolating one exact muscle, isolation exercises give you more control than compound exercises would.

3 | Correct post-injury muscle imbalance

Isolation moves and exercises are commonly used during physical therapy to help people regain strength in a part of their body that is lagging behind the rest. For example, if you break your wrist and have a cast for six weeks, your wrist and arm muscles will be weak compared to the rest of your body. Isolation workouts designed to strengthen the weak arm, such as bicep curls or wrist circles, can help bring the wrist back up to par with everything else. 

4 | Revitalize balance and harmony within the body 

When every muscle in your body is aligned and balanced with everything else, you’ll feel your absolute best! This looks different for everyone since we all have individual and unique physical builds. Understanding how your body works, what it does every day, and having health-related goals you want to strive for can help you best structure your workout routine and lifestyle. 

This is why it is important to be mindful of how the muscle group you’re focusing on works in whole with the entire body. When you overdo muscle isolation exercises, you run the risk of over strengthening some parts of your body while neglecting others, which could have the opposite intended effect and lead to new body imbalances. 

5 | Reduce required downtime between workouts

When it comes to isolation exercise, you can use the “rotation method” to help reduce the downtime required between workout sessions. When you work your muscles to their max, you must rest and recover before you work the same muscle again. If you don’t factor rest and recovery days into your routine, you’re at higher risk for injury. Listening to your body’s needs will help you become fit in the safest and healthiest way. 

The “rotation method” reduces your required downtime because you can rotate between which muscle group you work each day, giving the muscles that need their rest the space to do so. Therefore, you don’t need to worry as much about injuring or overworking a recovering muscle because you won’t be strengthening it even though you still go to the gym. This can be a great method for someone who loves consistency and needs a routine in order to get themselves regularly to the gym.

Many strength training machines are designed with isolation exercises in mind and can help you isolate your muscle groups more easily. Visit a Chuze Fitness near you to check out the many machines and equipment we have to help you succeed in your fitness journey.

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What are Isolation Exercises? 

What are Isolation Exercises

When it comes to working out, there are so many fitness methods to choose from. Cardio and strength training are two major fitness categories that most exercises fall under. Cardio gets your heart pumping and blood flowing, while strength training increases your muscle mass and power. 

And while one might think that strength training is a single genre under the fitness umbrella, strength training can actually be broken down into many different subcategories, each with its own focus and specialty. There isn’t one subcategory that is necessarily better than the others because each type serves a different purpose. One form of strength training might be better for one person’s body type and fitness goals, but the same exercises might not be as effective for someone else.

Today we’re focusing on isolation exercises, a strength training category that works to isolate a specific muscle without affecting the rest of your body and muscles. 

Before we dive in you may be wondering, what are isolation exercises exactly? 

Well, they’re any movement that only uses one muscle or muscle group in your body while all other muscles are not impacted. For example, holding a dumbbell in your right hand and lifting it up towards your chest (a bicep curl) is an isolation exercise because you’re only involving your biceps. 

Opposite to isolation exercises are compound exercises. Compound exercises work multiple muscle groups at the same time. Squats are an example of compound exercises because they strengthen your glute, core, and quad muscles at the same time. 

Isolation Exercise Benefits

The benefit of isolation exercises is that they build muscle for a specific area while excluding all other areas. 

While isolated exercises are not appropriate for every fitness goal, they are particularly great for people who have weak muscles due to injury who need to restrengthen their specific area of weakness. 

If you’re on crutches for a month due to a broken leg, for instance, then the uninjured leg will be unusually strong while the injured one will be unusually weak due to lack of use. Isolation exercises are beneficial because they can be used to revitalize balance and harmony in the body. 

Isolation moves and exercises are also beneficial to those who are interested in the aesthetics of strength training—that is, if you’re looking into bodybuilding, you’ll definitely be utilizing isolation exercises. These exercises allow for controlled attention over exactly which muscles are being worked and built, which is what makes them so perfect for bodybuilding and advanced strength training.

Isolation Exercise Drawbacks 

If your goal is to strengthen the entire body as efficiently as possible, then isolation exercises may not be your best option. 

Whereas compound movement and exercises work many muscle groups at the same time, thereby speeding up the muscle-building process, isolation exercises only work one specific muscle group at a time and are therefore much slower. If your goal is to strengthen your entire body as efficiently as possible, we recommend doing mostly compound exercises and only working on isolation exercises to balance out or define specific muscles in small doses. 

If you have a weak muscle that needs strengthening to bring about balance in the body, then isolation exercises are great. However, if your muscles are balanced and you perform isolation exercises, you run the risk of over strengthening a specific target muscle, which can throw off the harmony of your body and potentially lead to injury. 

Therefore, isolation exercises should never be your main type of muscle-strengthening work. Instead, use them to refine and specialize your workout routine in accordance with your body’s ability. In some cases, you can actually turn isolation exercises into compound movements if you’re interested in building certain muscles and developing a balanced body in the gym. For example, regular bicep curls go from a basic isolation exercise to a full-body movement when you do them while balancing on one leg and holding the other out in front of you. Now, your legs are working, your core is working, and your sense of balance and strength is developing.

If you’re unsure if isolation exercises would be good for you, refer to a specialist such as a professional trainer or physical therapist. 

Examples of Isolation Exercises

When only isolation exercises are utilized in your workouts, they can create some unbalance in your muscle groups, however, if you’re mindful about them and sprinkle them into workouts that focus on compound movements, they can be a healthy tool used to focus on specific muscles.

 Here are some of our favorite isolation exercises: 

Bicep Curls

Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand using an underhand grip. Keeping your shoulders back and chest lifted, begin lifting the dumbbells towards your chest. Once you’ve completed the curl, slowly lower the dumbbells back down towards their beginning position. 

Tricep Kickbacks

While leaning over—either with one hand and the same knee on a bench with your back flat and parallel to the floor, leaning forward with your feet staggered and your front hand on your front knee, or leaning forward with your feet together and your back flat at a 45-degree angle—hold a light dumbbell in your hand (or one in each hand if your feet are together). Bend your elbow(s) to 90 degrees and, while keeping your upper arm in the same position, flex your tricep to straighten your arm(s) and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat without letting your arm(s) swing. 

Glute Bridge

This exercise is great because it requires no additional equipment and can easily be done anywhere. Begin laying on your back, bend your knees towards the ceiling so that your feet lay flat right beneath your glutes. Spread your arms out wide, palms facing flat on the floor. Press into your feet so that your hips raise up, go until you’ve reached your limit, then slowly return your hips to the floor, repeat. 

Where Can You Do Isolation Exercises?

Isolation exercises can be done anywhere, however, there are lots of helpful gym equipment and machines that can help you focus on specific muscle groups. If you think about it, most day-to-day movement requires compound movements that engage multiple muscles. It requires intention and focus to single out a specific muscle, and gym equipment and machinery are designed to do just that! 

Not sure which gym is the best for you? Join us at Chuze! We have locations throughout the southwest and have the tools, expertise, and machines you need to accomplish a great workout.

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