Are you feeling bored with your workouts? Do you wonder if you’ve hit a plateau? Are you not losing weight or gaining fitness the way you imagined? Maybe it’s time for some heart-rate training. At this point, many at the gym or trail will wrinkle their brows and say, “What is heart-rate training, anyway?” Heart rate training is based on the basic premise that there are two kinds of workouts we’ll be doing: hard and easy. You have two different heart rate zones for each type of workout. Each person’s zones are slightly different, so there’s a little math involved:
- First, you must estimate your maximum heart rate. To do this, subtract your age from 220. For example, I am 44 years old, so my estimated maximum heart rate is 176.
- The “easy” heart rate zone is 65-70% of one’s max heart rate. For example, my easy heart rate zone is between 114 and 123.
- The “hard” heart rate zone is 80-90% of one’s max heart rate. For example, my hard heart rate zone is between 141 and 158.
- Now, with the help of a heart rate monitor, I can gauge whether I am exercising with enough effort (or too much effort). For example, if today is an easy run day for me, I can check my heart rate monitor to see if my heart rate is, in fact, in the “easy” zone.
Heart rate training is also extremely helpful to people who are new at a sport, so they can learn what their appropriate levels of exertion feel like (many people report that after a couple of weeks of training with a heart rate monitor, they can gauge how well they are training without one if necessary). Heart rate monitors used to be workout gear for the wealthy, but now they are reasonably priced. They make a great way to add a new dimension to your training routine