What the Heck are METS and Watts?

treadmillIf you work out on cardio equipment at the gym, then you’ve probably noticed the readouts for “watts” and “mets” on the machine. Many people have no clue what these two things measure, or how to use them as aids in their cardiovascular training. Those readings are on machines for a reason, so here is what you need to know to be able to use them wisely!

What’s in a Watt?

Watts measure the power you generate to turn or pump the pedals of the machine you happen to be on. When you set the machine at an intensity level it will take a certain amount of watts to exercise at that level. Watts are a part of a formula the machine uses alone with your age, weight, time exercised and intensity level at which you work out to calculate how many calories you burn. That’s why most machines as you to enter your information before you begin the workout program, so that it can more accurately calculate the impact of your workout.

Watts can be useful to keep track of so that you can track how many watts it takes for you to burn a certain number of calories. If you pay attention to the watts you use during a workout then you can tell how close you are to maxing out your workout in comparison to your previous workout.

METS – More than a Baseball Team

If you want to know how hard you are working during exercise, then you need to watch the mets readout. METS stands for “Metabolic Equivalent”. It shows the metabolic or oxygen you’ve expended during physical activity. A value of 1 met is about equal to a person at rest. Sleeping is less than 1 met. 10 mets means you are working 10 times harder than when you are at rest, and so on.

Mets are great to track so you can measure the intensity of your workout. When you’re training, mets are helpful in order to show your exertion level not only at your top speed but also during recovery.

In the End

At the end of the day, METS and Watts are a great way to understand the intensity at which you are working out and the power you are using to do it. These are numbers to pay attention to because you don’t want to get stuck in a workout rut. It’s important to challenge yourself and push yourself in order to make cardiovascular gains.

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Health Gauge

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This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.