Take a tour
invite your friends
- Select Menu -
Invite your friends
Heart Rate Training: Get the Most Out of Your Efforts! Part II
Here’s where monitoring your heart rate during exercise begins to become useful. As we become more fit, activities that initially brought our heart rate into a beneficial range become too easy. But many of us continue our routines and hence our efforts become less productive as they no longer stress our bodies to the point of gaining improved fitness; this ‘staleness’ is avoided by heart rate guided training. We can engage the same activities but are forced to work harder to bring our heart rate into this beneficial zone. But this is only one application. MHR can be tailored for much more specific training goals.
By breaking this wide training range into more narrow ‘zones’ we can use heart rate data to customize our workout intensities for optimal and specific results. Generally, I use 4 reference zones. All are expressed as a percentage of MHR with an upper and lower limit. Although there are overlapping benefits, generally speaking each zone has a particular result associated with it. The percentages of MHR for each zone are:
Zone I – Light Intensity 60 -70 percent of MHR
Zone II – Moderate Intensity 70 -80 percent of MHR
Zone III – Heavy Intensity 80 -90 percent of MHR
Zone IV – Maximum Intensity > 90 percent of MHR
So, again using our 45 year old as an example our target heart rates would be:
ZI = 105-122 BPM
ZII = 123-139 BPM
ZIII = 140-157 BPM
ZIV = 158-175 BPM
Here’s an overview for each zone:
Zone I – This is the easiest level of intensity you can work at and still gain benefit. It’s best used for overall health, flexibility and agility and maintaining a weight reduction. This is an excellent zone to stay within during the first 1 -3 months of beginning an exercise plan to avoid injury, especially for those who have not engaged in a fitness program for a long time. It’s also the warm-up and cool down zone to enter into or come out of more intense exercise.
Exercise at this level should feel easy and pass the ‘talk test’. You should never be out of breath, feel any pain or burning and be able to maintain this effort indefinitely.
Zone II –Working out in this zone effectively builds endurance, stamina and muscle tone without significant increase in girth. It’s also excellent for cardiac strengthening and building co-lateral circulation (adding more small blood vessels in the extremities). This is an excellent zone to stay in during the first 2-4 months of training.
When in this zone breathing should be slightly labored but not difficult. You can still converse comfortably. You should not be in a ‘no-pain, no-gain’ condition but may need to vary your effort from time to time. When fit you should be able to maintain this level of effort for a few hours.
Zone III - This is the best zone to use stored fat for energy, i.e., the most efficient weight loss or ‘fat burn zone’. Zone III balances maximum caloric demand while still remaining under the anaerobic threshold, the key criteria for burning fat. In less fit people training in this zone too soon uses more glucose than fat for energy. As we become more fit and can maintain this level of intensity for longer periods of time it becomes fueled by an increasing percentage of energy from stored fat. This is why you often hear people say that they started working out and are “exercising like crazy but not losing any weight”. This is exactly why I recommend to patients that want to lose weight and are just starting out that they exercise in Zone II for a while. Pushing too far too soon can be counter-productive. It takes time for the chemical plant in our muscles to adapt to the new demands of exercise. The cells that use oxygen in producing energy increase over time (this is known as Davis’s Law) so that we can sustain a Zone III level effort for longer and longer. It’s the physiological equivalent to learning to walk before you can run, or perhaps this analogy can be applied literally!
Exercising in this zone should be quite challenging but still not painful. It’s the highest zone you can be in and still be able to carry on a conversation, albeit difficult and in-between breaths. You should be able to maintain this intensity for up to about 1 hour but that may be much shorter initially and increase proportional to you level of fitness.
Zone IV – This is the anaerobic zone whereby we use primarily glycogen (glucose stored in muscle tissue) for energy. This zone contributes greatly to the efficiency by which our muscles can burn fat in the lower zones. By pushing ourselves into this zone we raise our ‘lactate threshold’, the line between using fat verses sugar as a caloric energy source. The more time we can stay in zone IV the higher our lactate threshold and the longer and stronger we can perform athletically. This zone ‘ramps-up’ our muscles to burn fat while we’re at rest by making our ‘oven’ more efficient. Most importantly, this is the zone where the most dramatic muscle building gains live. We could call it the Buff-Zone!
Exercise in this zone can be maintained for only very short periods of time, usually seconds to a few minutes maximum. If you can maintain this zone for longer than 3 minutes you are either not in this anaerobic zone or your name is Lance Armstrong. You can not talk during this level of exertion and are in significant pain. There is no significant fat weight loss in this zone but rather a break down of muscle tissue that leads to growth. This is the ‘no-pain, no gain’ zone and if you’re in it you should be hating life.
Remember, as you become more and more fit the beneficial changes that take place are reflected in your heart rate. Make a chart and plot your resting pulse by taking it first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. Do this for a few months and you’ll see over time the line slopes lower and lower! As your resting pulse plummets the range of your resting heart rate and your MHR increases allowing your heart to work less hard at the same level of effort. By using your heart rate as a barometer of how hard you are exercising you will avoid boredom, progress plateaus and stagnation.
You are now armed with valuable and useful information about heart rate training. You can now see how knowing and using your heart rate can help you maximize weight loss goals, achieve those 6-pack abs and keep you moving onward and upward to the fittest you possible. I applaud you for taking the time to read this article, see you in the gym!
Sat. Jun 7, 9:45am
How To Lose Weight- The Basics
Weight Watchers Points System
The Fat Smash Diet
The Eat To Live Diet
The Beck Diet Solution
How To Get The Motivation To Lose Weight
How To Be Successful Using PEERtrainer
How To Burn Fat
Online Weight Loss Support- How It Works
Does Green Tea Help You Lose Weight?
Tips On Using PEERtrainer
Visit The PEERtrainer Community
Diet and Fitness Resources
Weight Watchers Meetings
Learning To Inspire Others: You Already Are
Writing Down Your Daily Workouts
Spending Money On A Personal Trainer?
How I Became A Marathon Runner
How To Prevent Injuries During Your Workout
Flu Season: Should You Take The Flu Shot?
Are You Really Ready To Start PEERtrainer?
Super Foods That Can Boost Your Energy
Reversing Disease Through Nutrition
New Diet and Fitness Articles:
Weight Watchers Points Plus
How To Adjust Your Body To Exercise
New: Weight Watchers Momentum Program
New: PEERtrainer Blog Archive
Review Of The New Weight Watchers Momentum Program
Weight Loss Motivation by Joshua Wayne:
Why Simple Goal Setting Is Not Enough
How To Delay Short Term Gratification
How To Stay Motivated
How To Exercise With A Busy Schedule
Real World Nutrition and Fitness Questions
Can Weight Lifting Help You Lose Weight?
Are Protein Drinks Safe?
Nutrition As Medicine?
Everyday Weight Loss Tips
How To Eat Healthy At A Party
How To Eat Out And Still Lose Weight
The Three Bite Rule
Tips On How To Stop A Binge
Introducing The PEERtrainer Cheat System
How To Speed Up Weight Loss
How To Get Motivation To Lose Weight
Weight Watchers: The New Science!
3 Myths About Weight Loss With JJ Virgin
Related Article :
New PEERtrainer Articles :
Why Green Tea Helps You Lose Weight
How To Lose A Lot Of Weight, Fast
5 Things You Must Know Before Doing A Cleanse
New: How To Build Muscle
What Is The Best Kind Of Protein Powder?
The Master Cleanse
Will Removing Gluten From Your Diet Help You Lose Weight?
How To Obliterate Your Limitations
How To Get The Motivation To Exercise
How To Stop Feeling Tired
Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Super Immunity Diet
The PEERtrainer Diet
Is Portion Control Keeping You Fat?
The Ultimate Guide To Dietary Fiber
P90X? Do Burst Training Instead
Weight Watchers Points Changes For 2012
Can Diet Soda Cause You To GAIN Weight?
©2017 PEERtrainer, Inc.