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  • Sierra Rathbun

Embrace Fitness as a Lifestyle: Edition 6

Welcome to the sixth edition of the Embrace Fitness as a Lifestyle blog! In this edition we will be covering:

  • What is Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)?

  • Coach Amanda's Story

  • Sierra Whiskey Fitness News

Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

What is Rating of Perceived Exertion?

RPE is a way to measure training intensity based on a scale of 1 - 10. Originally, RPE was developed by Gunnar Borg who created the "Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion". This scale is numbered 6 - 20. Now the scale has evolved into a more simplified rating of 1 - 10 (see chart below).

What are the benefits of using RPE?

RPE is a great way to individualize training based on how you are feeling on a certain day. I use this programming method when Coaching because I take a realistic approach to programming. Not every training day is going to be the same due to the unpredictability of life. Some days you are going to have great sleep and nutrition. Other days you are going to be a victim of Murphy's Law (aka everything that can go wrong will go wrong). This is why I use this as my preferred training and programming for clients.

The drawback to using RPE is that it takes time to figure out your what each number on the scale feels like to you. However, once you find the relationship of intensity and RPE, the process becomes seamless.

How do I train using RPE?

The first step is figuring out where you are on the movement pattern in relation to the RPE scale. For example, you deadlift 200 lbs and you feel like you could've done a few more reps. That would be an RPE 7 due to your perception of being able to do a few more reps based on how you felt during that 200 lb deadlift.

Next, you begin to apply RPE to a structured program based on your goals. In order to progress using the RPE model, you must progressively overload your movement patterns. Eventually a 200 lb deadlift at RPE 7 is going to feel like a warm up weight with time. My recommendation is to add a 5 - 10 lbs of weight to the bar every week as long as it feels right. After 4 weeks, drop the weight down to where you started in the first week to deload. It is important to give your body time to recover after a month of pushing your body.

The key thing to remember when using RPE is load the bar with weight that corresponds to how you are feeling. Not every day is going to be a PR but is an opportunity to progress.

Let's break this down further with a quick example!

In Week 1 you back squat 160 lbs at RPE 6. Week 2 comes around and you didn't sleep well/your nutrition was off. You attempt 165lbs but the weight felt soul crushing (RPE 8). You decrease the weight to 155lbs because that aligns with an RPE 6 in that moment. In week 3, you reattempt 165lbs at RPE 6 but feel that it is too easy. You also got your energy levels back on track and nutrition dialed in. You then increase the weight to 170 lbs at RPE 6. In the final week, you are able to back squat 180 lbs at RPE 7 due to progressive overload.

Coach Amanda's Story

This past year, I've connected with Coach Amanda on social media. She is a Registered Nurse, Home Gym Owner, and also a Strength Coach. Keep reading to learn more about how Coach Amanda maintains balance with her personal and professional lives!

Instagram: @coach.muldoon

About you: What is your name and what do you do for a career? My name is Amanda, and I’m a registered nurse at Upstate Medical University. I also work part time as a strength coach at Square 1 Wellness. What are your hobbies? My hobbies include lifting weights, hiking/being outdoors, reading psychological thriller books, and spending time with my three furr babies and my wife! What is your favorite food? My all time favorite food is pizza and chicken wings- nothing like it! What is your favorite life quote? “Take every chance, drop every fear”

This is one of my all time favorite quotes that can used in all aspects of life, its short but sweet and it's even tattooed on my body! Embracing Fitness as a Lifestyle: What is your program or training style of choice that keeps you active?

My preferred style of training is strength training, mobility training, and functional fitness. I also enjoy riding my bike outdoors a few days a week. What is your strategy to incorporate balanced nutrition into your day to day life?

I work 40+ hours a week as a nurse. The only way I can stay on track with my nutrition is by meal prepping. I am also the type of person who can’t eat the same meal five days in a row. I will typically meal prep on Sunday for Monday-Wednesday and then meal prep Wednesday night for Thursday and Friday. I also try to drink at least a gallon of water a day! My meal prepped meals also vary week to week! This keeps me from getting bored. How do you stay motivated to continuously embrace fitness as a lifestyle? Watching my strength increase week after week is what keeps me motivated. I LOVE feeling and being strong. I used to powerlift so working on my squat deadlift, and bench is still important to me week after week. But being older and wiser I also now focus on mobility and smaller muscle groups that need just as much attention. Do you have any tips for busy professionals struggling? Find a groove that works for you! You don’t need to be in the gym for hours at a time 7 days a week to live a healthy lifestyle. Start small and set attainable realistic goals that works YOUR busy life. Is there anything else you would like to share? home gyms >>> big commercial gyms

Sierra Whiskey Fitness News

Hey everyone! It's been a few months since my last blog post. I've taken a step back and have shifted my focus and energy into other things. However, I am finally in a space where I can write and publish this edition of my blog. With all that being said, there's been a lot of great things going on behind the scenes!

Here's some of the highlights since September:

  • My garage gym has been upgraded with two new pieces. I now have an Assault Fitness Runner and a Lat Pulldown tower.

  • I have published 2 new subscription programs called Functionally Fit and Barbells & Strength.

  • I announced that I am only accepting remote clients until April 2023 due to attending military training in the coming months.

Here's what's on the horizon for 2023:

  • I will be moving to primarily remote fitness coaching and will have limited spots for garage gym coaching.

  • I want to focus my Coaching on clients that are current, aspiring, or former athletes who want to be strong, be confident, move better, and perform better. I absolutely love teaching women the benefits of strength training. We've been taught for so long that we need to be skinny and not strong. I am here to kick that ideology to the curb and shift our focus towards the number of weight on the barbell, not the scale.

  • The blog will incorporate articles and also a monthly podcast.

That's all I have for now, until next time!

Coach Sierra

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