Readiness and Rate of Perceived Exertion
What about readiness and rate of perceived exertion? How much should you exercise? Are you lazy for not doing that uphill run or are you supporting your body’s adaptive capacity by resting after a heavy strength training session, or after a night of poor sleep?
Exercise with variety and without injury is a cornerstone of health. However introducing variety and avoiding injury is the tricky bit. This is where the Oura wearable and the Omic App can help. Glenn Stewart and Dr Cindy de Villiers (co-founder of Omic and Functional MD at Health Function) have put together program recommendations personalized to your daily readiness.
Considering that exercise is a stress (a disturbance in homeostasis) that the body needs to adapt to, it is ideal to target this stress at the optimal level to provide just enough stimulus. This allows for positive adaptions, such as improved aerobic fitness, fat loss or muscle gain compared to stressing the body so much that it is no longer able to adapt. The latter may result in fatigue and inflammation and everything that tags along.
So, forcing yourself to exercise at a high level when your body has not fully recovered is not the way to go. On the other hand, not doing any exercise or movement is also detrimental. It is far better to take note of your body’s status and adapt your training program. Your body will love you for it.
Without going into an exercise lab, how can you know that you are training at the optimal level. Enter RPE.
RPE – Rate of Perceived Exertion
RPE is a well-recognized method of determining intensity and stress during exercise, without the need to be hooked up to a variety of machines and having your blood drawn while running on a treadmill! We can be grateful to Dr Borg and his research subjects for doing the hard work and developing what has come to be known as the Borg scale. This has been simplified into a 1-10 Category Ratio Scale (RPE) and then into the Talk Test. All scientifically validated. You won’t even need a heart rate monitor.
RPE and Training Zones
Traffic Light System
Based on your Oura Readiness Score of the previous two days, the Omic App uses a simple traffic light system to guide your training. The recommendations are a combination of intensity, duration and type of exercise. So, you may find that the recommended RPE differs for a particular category based on the type and duration of the exercise recommended.
You can expect your HRV to be lower for a day or two after exercise as your body adapts to the stimulus. If you are exercising optimally, your HRV will stay stable or improve over time.
Green: Exercise as a stimulus for further adaptation.
Amber: Exercise to maintain current gains; The exercises in this category vary depending on how long you have been in the Amber category and whether you have changed from Red to Amber or from Green to Amber.
Red: Steady state and the higher end and Recovery at the lower end.
Log into your Oura app first. This uploads your data from your ring which is then passed on to the Omic App.
Untrained individuals should train at the lower end of the suggested RPE.
Always check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
- Eston, R. Use of ratings of perceived exertion in sports. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 7, 175-182 (2012).
- Noble, B.J., Borg, G.A., Jacobs, I., Ceci, R. & Kaiser, P. A category-ratio perceived exertion scale: relationship to blood and muscle lactates and heart rate. Medicine and science in sports and exercise 15, 523-528 (1983).
- Woltmann, M.L., et al. Evidence that the talk test can be used to regulate exercise intensity. Journal of strength and conditioning research 29, 1248-1254 (2015).
- Schofield, G.Z., Caryn; Rodger, Craig. Sports Performance What the Fat, (Asia Pacific Offset Ltd, 2016).