Are you are one of those persons I see who waste time walking slowly around the gym from station to station as if they have all day to waste?
If you are, it’s time to make your workout count!
There is a way to exercise much smarter and burn much more fat than you have been burning and I’ll tell you how!
The first thing you must do is buy a heart rate monitor! It will help you to track your workouts better because you MUST be able to identify your zones in the workout. (More about choosing a heart rate monitor below.)
Okay, here we go: You must know your maximum heart rate. This is 220 – your age. If Sarah is 30 years of age, her maximum HR is 220-30=190.
This means Sarah should never have a HR over 190, give or take, depending on how she feels. Once you have your maximum heart rate, then you can know your zones. You can use the formula (max HR x %) to get your zone numbers.
Zone 1: This is the very light zone. This zone is 50-60% of max HR. This zone helps with your overall health. It’s usually the warm up and cool down zone. Sarah’s zone 1 is 95-114 (190x.50-.60).
Zone 2: This is a light workout zone. This zone is 60-70% of maximum HR. This zone is a little higher than zone 1 and helps your endurance and recovery. In this zone, the body uses some fat as fuel for energy. Sarah zone 2 is 114-133.
Zone 3: This is the moderate zone. This zone is 70-80% of maximum HR. This zone helps with overall fitness. Usually zone 2 or 3 is the zone where you are doing a great weight lifting workout. 20-30 minutes is good in this zone. Sarah’s zone 3 is 133-152.
Zone 4: This zone is a hard workout zone. It is 80-90% of max HR. Zone 4 helps with performance and the body is burning carbs as fuel and will continue to burn fat throughout the day.
If you can get 12-20 minutes a day in zone 4, your body will burn fat and increase metabolism up to 24 hours after the workout. Your body will continue working even when you are not.
You can do 12-20 minutes straight or broken up within the workout. Your body will not burn the muscle in this stage. You know you are in this zone if you can say just a few words but can’t have a long conversation in this stage. Sarah’s zone 4 is 152-171.
Zone 5: This is your maximum workout zone. It is 90-100% of max HR. This is the stage where you increase speed. This stage will start burning muscle if done too long. It’s great to do for 10-20 seconds intervals but don’t do more than 2-4 minutes total in a 60-minute workout. It is good to hit this zone when you are ending a run and want to sprint in the end. You cannot talk at this zone level. Sarah’s zone 5 is 171-190.
Check out the chart for a simple quick guide to better understand your zones!
Choosing a Heart Rate Monitor
You can buy this from Best Buy in the sport band section, a store similar to target or on Amazon. The heart rate monitor should have a way to connect to devices like a wristband activity watch or perhaps the exercise machine you are working out on may have connecting capabilities.
You don’t want to get the one that takes the heart rate on the wrist because it is not as accurate as it needs to be. The one I suggest is the one that goes around your chest.
Again the monitor usually comes with buying a activity band or smart watch first. This is where the results get shown
For women, it is positioned right beneath the breast over the heart. They are to be worn underneath the shirt (if you have one on).
They are not uncomfortable to wear because you can adjust them, but make sure they are not too loose because you need an accurate reading.
If you prefer a wristband, there are many wristband monitors like the Garmin Vivo Smart that you can wear around the wrist to let you know what your heart rate is at all times.
There are others that can actually sync to the exercise equipment that you are on in the gym room to see what zone you are in. It is important to see your zones to know whether you must step it up a notch or slow it down a notch.