Heart Rate Training

If you just can’t seem to get the scale to budge or are bored with cardiovascular exercise, heart rate training (HRT) might be for you. This popular method of cardiovascular exercise will provide you with feedback as to what kind of results you can expect to see from your workouts. Choosing the right heart rate to exercise at will help you maximize your fat loss or maximize your cardiovascular improvements. Monitoring your heart rate can also keep your workouts interesting.

Using the HRT method begins with finding your maximum heart rate. The easiest way to so this is to subtract your age from 220. This number will be an estimate of your max heart rate. If you are overweight or a complete beginner you may want to subtract your age for 114 for a more accurate number. Keep in mind that this is not an exact science, but an estimate. From here you can review the five heart rate zones and decide which will work best for your goals.

Used primarily for warming up and cooling down, zone one is 50-60% of your max heart rate. You may be in zone one while doing housework.

Hand with a stopwatch

Zone two is 60-70% of your max heart rate. The best example of zone two is a brisk walk. This is a good workout for those who are unfit or overweight. Two thirds of calories burned in zone two are burned from fat, though total calorie burn is lower than in the higher zones.

Zone three is 70-80 of max heart rate. This zone is excellent for endurance training. A jog would be considered zone three. Half of calories burned will be from fat.

At 80-90% of max heart rate, exercise in zone four is quite intense. This zone is often used for those who wish to increase their speed, and can also improve endurance. With a high caloric burn, more than 50% of calories burned are burned from carbohydrates in zone four.

Sometimes known as the “red line zone” zone five is 90% or greater of max heart rate. Zone five should only be used by those who are already in good shape. An example of zone five is a sprint that cannot be maintained for long. At this high intensity few of the calories burned are burned from fat.

Using the guidelines from the five zones you can decide at what heart rate you should train to best meet your goal. If you are trying to lose fat zones two and three might be beneficial for you. To be a better distance runner zone three can be very effective. Most importantly, you can try training in different zones and even create intervals between zones for variety in your workouts.

You may be wondering how you should determine your heart rate while exercising. If, for example, you picked zone four, use a calculator to figure out what 80-90% of your max heart rate is. While exercising you must periodically know what your heart rate is. The most accurate way to do this is with a heart rate monitor. A heart rate monitor is a device that is worn around the chest that gives you a readout of your heart rate. Heart rate monitors come in fancy and complex versions to the most simple. Price range is quite variable. If a heart rate monitor is not in your budget, you can periodically take your pulse while exercising using your watch as a timer. If you exercise on machines at the gym that have that tell you your pulse, such as a treadmill, keep in mind that there is some degree of inaccuracy with these.

Heart rate training gives you instant feedback throughout your workout and can help make a stale exercise program exciting again. It may help bring you out of a slump and get you that much closer to your goal. If you are not seeing the progress you want give HRT a try so you can maximize your results.

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