Exercise Efficiency - Make Every Move Count

Exercise Efficiency is a concept I developed to quantify and track the effort required to complete a physical activity. For this program, we will be quantifying and tracking the effort required to complete a given routine. Why is this important? As mentioned before, when we start a new exercise program the effort required to complete a routine the first time is high because everything is new. However, as our muscular and cardiovascular systems improve, the effort required to perform the same routine will begin to decrease. As the effort decreases so will the number of calories that you burn while performing the same routine, and as the number of calories decreases so will the calorie delta between the calories that you consume and the calories that you burn. As the calorie delta shrinks so will the results and benefits of the program. In other words, you will stop losing weight and stop toning muscle because you have reached the exercise plateau. The solution to this problem is Exercise Efficiency! By quantifying the amount of effort expended the first time you complete a routine, we define what is known in six sigma as: a baseline. A baseline is essentially a starting point, a point in time that we will use as a reference point to measure future workouts. As we continue with the program, over time our muscular and cardiovascular systems will begin to improve and as those two systems improve, the effort required to perform the same routine will begin to decrease causing the efficiency of the exercises to begin to decrease, getting
us closer to the exercise plateau. However, if we track the efficiency of the routine we can set alarms to warn us to make updates to the routine to increase the efficiency. These updates or changes to the routine can be as simple as substituting one exercise for another, increasing the difficulty of an exercise, increasing the weight of the kettlebell or increasing the exercise time by reducing the rest time. I developed this program close to ten years ago and I can honestly say that the effort that was required to perform my very first routine is the same amount of effort I needed to complete this morning’s routine; obviously many things have changed since then, but the routine and the ten minutes have not. Ten years later my body continues to change, to improve, and to rejuvenate.
So how do you quantify effort? I owe this discovery to Laurence E. Morehouse, Ph.D., who established the relationship between effort and Average Heart Rate (Avg HR). In the nineteen sixties when NASA asked Dr. Morehouse to develop a fitness program that would transcend gravity, his biggest challenge was how to measure effort. Dr. Morehouse knew that effort versus sets and reps was the
key to minimizing the impact of zero gravity so he made two proposals to NASA. One was to measure the amount of oxygen the astronaut breathed in and compare it to the amount of carbon dioxide they breathed out during exercise
to calculate the ratio of carbon dioxide to oxygen to determine if the astronaut was exerting himself. This option was expensive and would have added unnecessary weight to the spacecraft. The other more elegant option was simply to measure and track the average heart rate of the astronaut with a heart rate monitor. What Dr. Morehouse did was establish a direct correlation between the effort required to perform a physical activity and the average heart rate of
the individual. It made perfect sense because it was logical to believe that the higher the average heart rate the high the effort required by the individual to complete the activity. What Dr. Morehouse unconsciously did was decouple
the terms “tough” or “hard” from the physical activity and coupled them to the amount of effort required by the individual to complete the activity. For example, is running ten miles hard or easy? For me it’s hard and it would require high amounts of effort from me to run ten miles. For an Olympic long distance runner it would be easy and would require little effort; it is not the activity that makes it difficult or easy, but rather the amount of effort required to complete the activity that defines it as difficult or easy. In conclusion, thanks to the studies and breakthrough by Laurence E. Morehouse, Ph. D., we can easily measure the
effort required to complete an exercise routine. By using a heart rate monitor to continuously track our heart rate, we can then document it and use it as our baseline. So how do I know if I am exerting myself? An exercise routine is either too easy or too hard and this is determined by the amount of effort required by you to complete the routine. BUT how do you know that it was easy, hard, or
just right? This was an interesting challenge to overcome and I did it by developing an equation that will determine the zone your average heart rate should be.