Heart Rates...How hard do you need to push?

Intensity is one of the most important factors when it comes to fat loss and developing a higher performance capacity. However, how can you measure intensity when there are so many physiological differences within fitness, training age and gender? One of the most simple and effective tools to gauge how hard you are working is your own heart rate.

There are two main ways to measure your heart rate whilst exercising, so check them both out and work with the one that you find the easiest to use:

1.Heart Rate Percentage.

For longer steady state activity (25min+) such as a jog or bike ride, you are best off staying between a lower percentage heart rate of 60-70% MHR (Maximal Heart Rate) to utilise fat oxidation for fuel. You can work out your heart rate zone by using these simple calculations.

However, many of you would've also heard of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or HIIE (High Intensity Interval Exercise), which allows you to get a similar result in just half the time! This is where you work at maximal effort for a short to medium duration and then rest at a low level of effort. In this case, you are looking to work for a shorter period of time overall (<20mins) and hit a heart rate zone of between 85-95% MHR....This definitely needs to be intense!

Some examples using the ergo Bike are:

*8 sec Sprint/12 sec Slow for 20mins

*15sec Sprint/15sec Slow for 20mins

*2min Sprint/3min Slow for 20mins

2. The 180 Formula

This formula was created by Dr Phil Maffetone who began working with student athletes back in the 1970-80's and he ended up discovering a heart rate system that could aid in developing a solid aerobic base and function for all types of people, without activating any significant anaerobic activity, excess stress, or muscular imbalances.

The Final Say

The main point to get across is that there are a number of different ways to get the best results that YOU are looking for. If you want to develop athletic performance for field-based sports, then HIIT training will be far more effective. But if you are looking for better body composition or are training for a long distance based sport such as a marathon, then feel free to mix up these two methods of heart rate training to develop both your anaerobic and aerobic systems. Either way, you're going to be in better shape than when you started!

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