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  • Heart Rate Training – Utilizing heart rate monitoring for more efficient training

    If you took a poll of why most people work out on cardio equipment, 90% or more will tell you they want to lose weight or tone up (which you have to lose fat to tone up). So out of those people how many to you think heart rate train? Not many, some know what their heart rate is, but don't know where it should really be. So that is not helping them achieve their fat loss goal in the most efficient way possible. If I asked you if you wanted to lose 400 fat calories out of 600 calories burned in an hour workout verses losing only 150 fat calories out of 800 total calories burned in an hour; which would you choose?! Hands down you would pick 400! Well then why aren't people doing this during their workouts? It is because they do not heart rate train. All your top athlete's heart rate train and that is because they work with exercise physiologists which know how to get them to reach their top potential in the shortest amount of time possible.

    You are probably asking yourself what is heart rate training? Well it is simply using your heart rate zones to monitor your workout. Your body has 5 heart rate zones. I will describe them later on. In order to heart rate train you first need a heart rate monitor. For a good basic one you will pay between $40-150. You can expect to pay up to $400+ for more advanced heart rate monitors that are used for performance training such as triathlons or marathons. But for the general population we don't need anything too fancy. 2nd you need to find out where your heart rate should be. The heart rate charts you see on the exercise equipment are not correct most of the time (example 220-your age). As a fitness professional I can tell you that the chart is obsolete and needs to be improved. Instead you need to find your Anaerobic Threshold (the point in which your body stops burning fat and starts burning glucose). This is extremely important if you are trying to lose body fat, because you could be training too hard. Just because the treadmill says you burned 800 calories doesn't mean you burned 800 fat calories. Let me get one thing straight you can't burn just fat calories your body burns glucose also, but you can train to where you are burning the most amount of fat calories possible in that time frame.

    This best and most accurate way to test your heart rate is by getting a Vo2 max test done. This can cost around $100-250. For zero cost I can get you close to your actually anaerobic threshold hold using a formula or a self perceived test. The formula is as follows: 180-your age. Take that number and add 10 if you exercise 4+ times a week for the last few years, the number stays the same if you exercise 2-3 times a week for the past year, and you subtract 10 if you have not been exercising. For the self perceived test: Hop on a treadmill and warm up for 3-5 minutes then go up to a comfortable speed for 5 more minutes then go up in speed every minute until you reach the point of heavy breathing. At this point make note of what your heart rate is and this is your Anaerobic Threshold. As I mentioned earlier you have 5 heart rate zones.

    Zone 1 = Warm-up/Easy
    Zone 2 = Aerobic Development/Medium
    Zone 3 = Aerobic Development/Hard (the top of this zone is your Anaerobic Threshold)
    Zone 4 = Anaerobic Endurance/ Very hard
    Zone 5 = Speed & Power/Extremely Hard (You can usually only stay in this zone for 30sec-1min at a time)

    Example of Zone chart is as follows:

    Zone 5
    Peak
    132
    Peak
    138
    Peak
    143
    Peak
    149
    Peak
    154
    Peak
    160
    Peak
    165
    Peak
    171
    Peak
    176
    Peak
    182
    Peak
    187
    Peak
    193
    Peak
    198
    Peak
    204
    Peak
    209
    Zone 4
    132
    120
    138
    125
    143
    130
    149
    135
    154
    140
    160
    145
    165
    150
    171
    155
    176
    160
    182
    165
    187
    170
    193
    175
    198
    180
    204
    185
    209
    190
    Anaerobic
    Threshold
    120
    ----
    125
    ----
    130
    ----
    135
    ----
    140
    ----
    145
    ----
    150
    ----
    155
    ----
    160
    ----
    165
    ----
    170
    ----
    175
    ----
    180
    ----
    185
    ----
    190
    ----
    Zone 3
    120
    108
    125
    113
    130
    117
    135
    122
    140
    126
    145
    131
    150
    135
    155
    140
    160
    144
    165
    149
    170
    153
    175
    158
    180
    162
    185
    167
    190
    171
    Zone 2
    108
    84
    113
    88
    117
    91
    122
    95
    126
    98
    131
    102
    135
    105
    140
    109
    144
    112
    149
    116
    153
    119
    158
    123
    162
    126
    167
    130
    171
    133
    Zone 1
    84
    72
    88
    75
    91
    78
    95
    81
    98
    84
    102
    87
    105
    90
    109
    93
    112
    96
    116
    99
    119
    102
    123
    105
    126
    108
    130
    111
    133
    114

    Also the more cardiovascularly fit you get the higher your anaerobic threshold gets. So I would recommend testing your Anaerobic Threshold every 6-8 weeks. To burn the largest amount of fat calories, work out in zones 2-3 for the majority of your work outs. To move your Anaerobic Threshold up and improve cardiovascular endurance train in zones 4-5 once or twice a week. If you train in zones 4-5 more that twice a week I would recommend taking a rest day or an active rest day which means working out in zones 1-2. Now that you have the tools to work out more effectively lets get moving!

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