Do you listen to your Body or Brain Threshold?

Body or Brain Threshold?

Do you truly know what your body and mind are capable of?

I think about this question often when prescribing exercise programs for beginner, intermediate & advanced clients. Everyone needs to know where to start and from there we need to unpack previous injuries, health issues, desire to be pushed, goals and the individual persons mindset.

Today I was on the bike and I was able to push just a little bit harder than I usually do which made me think ‘hey I’m getting stronger’ but I had an instructor someone who made me push harder than I otherwise would on my own. Having an instructor or personal trainer can be a priceless investment in your health which will allow you to at least push 3-10% harder than you would on your own. Even coaches need coaches!

Now physiologically you will only be able to push your muscles so far before you run out of glycogen and the lactic acid is ‘burning’ so bad that you can’t take it any longer. Find out where you are currently before you ‘assume’ your beginning point.

Aerobic training vs. Anaerobic training

For the purposes of this blog we will discuss what I believe is ideal for beginners when it comes to aerobic & anaerobic training in simple terms.

First how to figure out your HR Zones (You can buy a Myzone heart rate monitor to do this for you)

220-age = HR MAX (220- 20 year old = 200)

200 x.65 = 130 Min
200 x.85 = 170 Max

While writing a program you should look at the min 65% of your HR Max and the max 85% of your HR Max and these should be the zones you stay in.

Week 1 = Cardio at 65%

Week 2 = Cardio at 70%

Week 3 = Cardio at 75%

Week 4 = Intervals bouncing between 65-75%

Week 5 = Reassess your fitness level and make adjustments based on the

F.I.T.T Principle = Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type (Never adjust more than one of these variables at a time if you want to keep your body guessing and progressing forward) Keep it simple.

Anaerobic Training is based more on feel than specific numbers when it comes to your muscles ability to contract or perform.


Building Strength = 5-12 reps

Building Power   = 2-5 reps

Building Endurance = 12-100 reps

Building Hypertrophy or Big Muscles = Primarily 8-12 reps.

Now here’s when I dive down a rabbit hole:

If you are looking for remarkable results you need to push yourself there is no getting around it, but you need to be conscious of not pushing yourself too hard! If you are writing a lifting program pick one of the disciplines (repetition ranges/ goals) from above and then the goal on each set is to have ‘momentary fatigue’ at the prescribed number of repetitions. So if your goal is 5-12 reps and you easily performed 14 or 15 reps; you need to increase the weight. If you could only do 2, you need to decrease the weight. Get it?

Too often I see people casually strolling on the treadmill or doing a weight which is not challenging for them. It is still better than doing nothing and if you have injuries or health conditions that may be all you can do and in that instance that is perfectly ok. BUT if you are in good shape or are healthy and free of injuries you need to put in quality work while pushing yourself. Find a starting point and get better each day! 

Now the blog is called body or brain threshold. What does that mean?

It means your brain is always going to give out before your body. Now you know that so you can make greater progress in your strength and conditioning or aerobic routines. (Look up positive and negative self talk and start working on being more positive in the words you say inside your brain and I guarantee your life and body will change).

Become comfortable being uncomfortable and you will grow bigger more resilient muscle, mind and spirit. From there you become a better and tougher version of yourself.

*This article is not advising individuals to overtrain it just explains that you may have 20,30, or even 40% energy and glycogen left in the tank when you finish the workout and the goal should be to almost empty that tank before you leave the gym and then REFILL your tank with a high quality protein supplement and some fast digesting carbohydrates post workout. Post workout is a discussion for another day.

It’s Jan 19th 2021. Are you becoming better than you were in 2020 or worse?

Think about it!

Onward and upward always

Coach Mike

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