When training, many people tend to use their heart rate as guidance for how hard they are working. With some styles of training, you don’t need to worry about your heart rate, but for most, it is a good way to see how much effort you are putting into each workout.
To find out what level we should be working at you first need to calculate your max heart rate. The easiest way to do this is to subtract your age from 220 for men, and 225 for women. So if you are a 40-year-old male, your max heart rate would be 180 bpm. This is only an average and some people may get a higher heart rate than this. So don’t worry too much about it, but it is good as a guide. There are other, more in-depth ways to calculate your max heart rate, but for now, let’s not overcomplicate things.
Now that we have our maximum heart rate, what range should we be working in? For most people, working in a range of 50-70% of your max heart rate is a good area to be aiming for. If you really want to push yourself, aim for 70-85%. You can work to a higher level, but you will not be able to sustain this for a long period of time unless you are super fit! We would also advise when training at these levels that you do so with a coach; You can find out, more about our mobile personal training services.
I’m sure a lot of you have heard about the different heart rate zones. Most smartwatches, fitness trackers or heart rate monitors will have them. Depending on what you use, they can either be 3, 4 or 5 different zones. These are the percentage ranges spoken about above to guide you with how you are working.
The Fat Burn zone tends to be an area that people are drawn to; This is a complicated topic… Yes, there is such a thing as an optimal heart rate zone for fat burn (usually between 70-80% of your max heart rate), but does this mean you should always train in this zone? No. By training in a higher zone, you will burn more calories in a quicker time because your body is working harder, and if you read my last blog you will know that the only way to lose weight/fat is calories in Vs. calories out.
So what can we take away from this?
The lower the heart rate, the longer you will be able to train before becoming fatigued. The higher the heart rate, the quicker you will burn calories.
Of course, it is always important to remember that exercising is subjective. So instead of always looking at your heart rate, maybe think about how you feel. Everyone has different levels of exertion. What someone may find hard, someone else may find easy. So don’t judge everything on your heart rate.