Perceived effort

Alex Honnold climbing Seperate Reality, a difficult over hanging roof crack, Yosemite, CA
Alex Honnold climbing Seperate Reality

Your “perceived effort” to perform an activity can be changed. If you can change the effort you feel you’re exerting, you can change how you feel about doing that activity.

For example in surfing when you perceive that you’re paddling less hard to catch a wave, you’ll enjoy surfing more. The amount of effort you need to paddle for a wave pretty much stays constant. But, your perceived effort to catch a wave can be changed if you get a little bit stronger.

The other day, I asked a surfer I’ve been weight training with for a few weeks if he felt stronger. He thought for a couple of seconds before saying that paddling for waves now seems easier. He didn’t feel noticeably stronger, but his “perceived effort” when surfing had dropped enough that he noticed a change there.

I asked another guy I train if he felt stronger. He paused too before responding that the 40 or so stairs he climbs to go to work used to leave him winded, but now he’s noticed that he no longer thinks about going up those same stairs.

I hadn’t thought about strength in terms of perceived effort before. Now it’s my new gauge of progress and effectiveness of a training program.