Earlier this week we talked about how fitness isn’t a switch…it’s a DIAL!
Meaning that we don’t always have to be max effort or no effort. Somedays we can breathe fire and others we can just move to break a sweat and feel better!
Well, that dial isn’t just this etherial thing that we have to visualize, you can measure it!
Your Heart Rate!
Heart rate monitors were all the rage a decade ago and are making a small resurgence as the technology has become less cost prohibitive for use in boutique gyms (just look at Orange Theory and their splat score)!
Well, one of the reasons they become so popular was this thing called the “Heart Rate Zone”
While some may say X Bpm – Y Bpm is Zone 1, Z Bpm – A Bpm is Zone 1, and so on…the more accurate way to look at it is a % of your maximum heart rate*.
In these zones, we have to use different fuel sources in our body to break down to give us the energy to perform the task at hand. These fuel sources are our carbohydrates and fat stores!
Most people tend to rest at 49% or less of their max heart rate (with more seasoned aerobic exercisers sitting around 30%).
At 50-59%, this would be the pace we tend to walk at and do our daily activities. We can chill and use the fat we eat to support this activity throughout our day.
60-69% is where we start to break a sweat and start to use fat stores to maintain this type of activity. If ya go golfing, take a fast paced walk, take a hike in Houston, etc… you’re hanging out here.
70-79% is what we we would consider a “recovery” pace. While we start to use carbs in this range, we will still use primarily fat as our main source of fuel! You know you’re in this zone where you can still answer questions in a full sentence. If you’re having a rough day, this is as hard as you should push.
At 80-89% we start switching over to carbs for our main fuel source and we are no longer able to answer questions and can just muster an “okay” or “yup” to coach when they give you a cue to try during your WOD. Workouts that have us working out for 12-30 minutes typically keep us here. This should be our we feel good and our day is alright pace.
The final zone, 90-100%, is a maximal effort where you solely use carbs as your fuel source! WODs like Fran, X Cal Bike For Time, and other sprint workouts that leave you on the ground kicking off your shoes while wiggling for the lactate to go away, are in this heart rate zone. We should only push ourselves to this point if we are feeling just phenomenal (or “peachy” as coach Hunter would put it)!
While heart rate zones are awesome way to acknowledge how hard a workout is and what we “should” feel during a WOD, it’s also a great way to know that no matter what work we are doing, we are still burning fuel and we can adjust our diets to support the exercise we want to support!
How to Use Your Dial and Heart Rate Knowledge
If you’re not feeling super awesome on a day where we have a workout that is supposed to be a sprint (that 90-100% zone) and you aren’t feeling going that hard, don’t skip that day! What you can do instead is lighten the load on the barbell and work on mechanics (your heart rate will go up and your body will appreciate greasing that groove for when you are feeling awesome)!
You can reduce volume on gymnastics and work on your strict versions, work on your recovery pace on the rower, build up your double under coordination, or just ride the bike for 20 minutes then stretch for 20 minutes!
The difference is that if you just move on those days where you don’t feel like going hard in the paint, you’re still moving for the day and working on your buffer of fitness (:
To talk with a coach today, click the link found HERE to schedule your No Sweat Intro