Posts Tagged ‘training


Weight loss and exercise with your heart rate in mind


My friend over at  posted a comment on one of my posts regarding different heart rate zones. I thought it would interesting to do a post on it. When we exercise, it makes our hearts work harder to get blood (which holds oxygen and nutrients) to our muscles so that we can do what we are doing.  That is why we breathe hard.  Muscles need oxygen to do what they do so we huff and puff to get more oxygen into our blood so that the blood can in turn supply the muscles.  Different heart rates produce different training and weight loss effects in our bodies. Here is a simple little break down:

  • Recovery/Easy= Your heart rate should be between 60%-70% of your maximum heart rate.  This would put you at a nice and easy pace running.  Absolutely no huffing and puffing.  In this zone, you will primarily burn fat as well as developing your endurance and aerobic capacity (the ability for your muscles to use oxygen to burn fat for energy).
  • Aerobic/Getting harder= Your heart rate should be between 70%-80% of your maximum heart rate.  In this zone, you will be breathing harder but still able to carry on an intelligible conversation.  Not just one word sentences.  When your heart rate is between 70% & 80%,  you are still burning primarily fat after about 45 minutes as well as getting your lungs and heart stronger.  Aerobic training conditions your heart to be able to pump more blood with each stroke and trains your muscles to use what they get more effeciently.
  •  Anaerobic/Now it’s really getting hard= Your heart rate will be between 80%-90% of your maximum heart rate.  At this level, your heart is really going for it.  Your muscles are also going to forego using fat for energy (fat produces energy slower) and starts using the glycogen (sugar) as the primary source of energy.  Although this is exercise, you don’t really need to work this hard to burn fat and lose weight.  Also, at this level, your muscles will use up all the sugar pretty quickly.  As the muscles eat the sugar, they produce the evil pain the *ss, lactic acid.  Lactic acid is the chemical that you feel burning in your muscles.  Lifting weights is anaerobic, and you always feel the burn in the last reps.  When running at an easy pace, it can take many many hours before the lactic acid comes because you are burning fat instead of the sugar.
  • 90% and beyond= Don’t even go here.  In fact, running at a heart rate of over 85% for to long could increase your chance of injury.  

Hopefully this is useful for everyone.  I do almost all of my exercise with a heart rate between 65%-75%.  That is the “zone” in which I lost all my weight, got several PR’s in marathons, and finished the 50 miler.  There are many companies who make watches that will take your heart rate for you.  They have alarms even that will tell you if you are to low or to high.  I used one from the start of my running, but I lost the heart rate monitor part of the watch after a while.  I am pretty good at knowing how hard I am running now though.  Below is a link to the company who made my watch.

Polar USA.  They make a nice watch for many different types of exercise, not just for running.

You can get more detailed information and maximum heart rate calculations at this coaches website.