Percentage Efforts

Percentage prescriptions are an attempt to teach athletes that they have different “gears”. In fitness we don’t always want to push ourselves at full effort. One hundred percent all the time will not win the sport of fitness. It can be hard to differentiate between 75% and 85%. Try not to get too caught up in what exactly each of those numbers means specifically. Rather, focus on the relative differences in effort levels. Seventy-five percent is less than 85%, so you should be able to create 2 separate exertion set points when doing conditioning. Some percentage effort levels lend themselves well to aerobic power work, some better to aerobic endurance work, and others better suited for lactic power and endurance work. Below is a great description from a client of mine (Kate Brierley) of what the different percentage efforts mean to her.

Based on if someone were to come and ask her a question during one of these prescribed efforts:

75%- I can answer with a full sentence

80%- 3-5 word answer

85%- 1 word answer

90%- head nod

95%- don’t even look up

97%- i can’t imagine anyone would ask me anything at this point

100%- i’m probably dying