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Show highlights include:

  • The magic formula for finding your maximum heart rate especially if you have no data (2:22)
  • Why intense workouts will backfire on you if you’re trying to decrease your body fat, lower your blood pressure, or lower your cholesterol (4:30)
  • How to “trick” your body into building new blood vessels to increase your heart and lung capacity and endurance (5:49)
  • The heart rate zone secret for giving yourself an unfair mental advantage when you’re training (9:30)
  • Why not understanding your heart rate zones will sabotage your fitness goals (10:46)
  • 3 key heart rate features to look out for before buying a fitness watch (11:51)
  • The biggest mistake you’re making if you wear any kind of heart rate tracking technology (15:35)

The most important thing you can do to amplify your competitive success is focus on your nutrition. I created the Competition Nutrition Guide to help you maximize your performance. Get your free copy at http://CompetitionNutritionGuide.com.

If you’re ready to become the best version of yourself, head over to https://RedHNutrition.com to find the best supplement solution for you. And you can save 20% with the coupon code PODCAST20 at checkout!

Read Full Transcript

Hey y'all and welcome to the everyday athlete podcast recorded live from Omaha, Nebraska and I'm your host, Katie danger U S army veteran and founder of Red H Nutrition providing everyday athletes just like you, clean, effective nutritional solutions, custom formulated to help you reach your absolute potential every single day.

Hey there athletes. Welcome to another episode of the everyday athlete pod. Today in episode number 23 I'm going to be sharing some tips on how to train smarter using heart rate zones. Generally when training we think of heart rate zones as applying only to cardiovascular endurance or slow long distance training, but understanding how heart rate zones can help you gauge your fitness levels and even make smart train adaptations as you progress so you can continue to find the stimulus your body needs to make improvements. In my opinion, there are three ways to train, so when we are training there's three ways that we're training. Either we are not training at all, so there is no stimulus on the body or we're training in a maintenance mode where there's no improvement. A lot of times this is active recovery or we're training in a zone that elicits an improvement. It is a stimulus that is greater than your body has received before and it creates a change in the body.

(01:16): It elicits a training effect using your heart rate and then breaking it into five training zones, which I'm going to help you understand a little bit. It's going to help you train smarter. It's going to help you stay on track to reach your goals and it's also going to give you the data and feedback that you might need to consider making changes to your training. If you're not reaching your goals like you think you should be, it's really simple. Use heart rate zones and this allows you to gear your workout to the best intensity to get the results you want. You're going to know whether you're putting in enough effort into your workout to get the results that you want. If you know your maximum heart rate, you can use heart rate zone training to gear your workout to the correct intensity. Your maximum heart rate as it's defined is as fast as your heart can beat.

(01:58): So it is the fastest rate at which your heart can be physiologically at this time. Now this varies for each person, but age is generally used as a guide for what your maximum heart rate is likely to be. A more individualized number can be provided by testing, like if you go to an athletic trainer or a lab or if you happen to have a heart rate monitor like a watch or one that straps around your chest. So if you don't know what your maximum heart rate is, here is the magic formula. This is if you have no data at all and it's a great place to start. So the magic formula is the number 220 minus your age. So you take the number 220 and you subtract your age, that's going to be your approximate maximum heart rate. Now for me, this calculation is actually accurate and I know that because I've been tracking my heart rate for a really long time using my garment watch, I've got over 18 months of consecutive data.

(02:51): I'm going to tell you more about how to track accurately later in the episode, but here's how it works. This is my example, so you're going to take 220 subtract age for me. That's 35 so I say 220 subtract 35 and that gives me one 85 and that is my estimated max heart rate and now this could be a little inaccurate for some people, but I bet for most most of the people listening right now, it's a great place to start and if you don't have any data or anything to go off of, use this simple formula to get started. I did tell you though, my maximum heart rate using this calculation is actually accurate because when I did this, I opened my Garmin app that's been tracking on my dad. I looked up my historical averages and one 88 is my maximum heart rate.

(03:34): So one 85 is real close. Now, how do you use these heart rate zones in your workouts? You get different fitness benefits by exercising and different heart rate zones. These five exercise zones are based on percentage ranges of your maximum heart rate. In each zone you'll feel a different level of exertion on your body and you'll be burning a different percentage of calories via carbs, proteins, and fats, which we'll also touch on too. So let's start with zone one. Zone one is the healthy heart zone. The healthy heart rate zone is about 50 to 60% of your max heart rate. It's an easy and comfortable zone to exercise in and it's considered on the lower end of the intensity. You should be able to carry on a full conversation the zone, and you could be breathing a little heavier than usual, but you should be able to talk coherently.

(04:21): Workouts in this zone are less intense and they're not going to give you any cardio-respiratory training effects. So you're not going to improve your endurance by working out in this heart rate zone. But what studies have shown that it does is it helps decrease body fat, helps lower blood pressure, it helps lower cholesterol. So all of those things are very important, especially if you are new to fitness and exercising and can't necessarily maintain certain rates of exertion. This is a great heart rate zone to exercise it in heart rate zone number one, the body gets most of its energy by burning carbs, protein and the most from fat. So we have 10% carbs, 5% protein, 85% fat walkers are generally often in the zone. If you do walk a little bit faster, you could get up to zone two but generally if you're walking, this is the heart rate zone you're operating in zone two.

(05:10): Zone two is known as the fitness heart rate zone and the fitness heart rate zone is about 60 to 70% of your maximum heart rate. You're going to be breathing heavier, but you should still be able to speak in short sentences. The calories you burn depends on the distance you cover and how much you weigh. So in this zone, the body fuels itself with 85% fat, 5% protein and 10% carbohydrate. Moving on to zone three, the aerobic heart rate zone, the aerobic heart rate zone is 70 to 80% of your maximum heart rate. You're going to be breathing heavier. You might only be able to speak in short phrases. Yes, no, maybe I want to die wherever you're at in zone three you know, upper or lower end of that. This is the zone to aim for when you're training for endurance. If you want to improve your circulatory system, your cardiovascular endurance, this is the zone you want to know about zone three aerobic heart rate.

(06:00): What happens here is our body is stimulated to build new blood vessels and that increases your heart and lung capacity. Aiming for 20 to 60 minutes in the zone is generally what's considered to be the best for fitness training benefits. In the aerobic zone, you burn 50% of your calories from fat if 50% from carbohydrate, very, very little as used from protein. With the increase in intensity, you will burn more calories and the same amount of time because you're covering more distance. And then once again, if you are an athlete who weighs a little bit more, 200 plus, you're also going to burn more calories. Zone four, zone four is the anaerobic training zone or also known as the threshold zone. The anaerobic heart rate zone is 80 to 90% of your maximum heart rate. You should really not be able to talk much, maybe only gasping words.

(06:48): This is where you're entering the pain cave. The intense exercise is going to improve considerably. The amount of oxygen you can consume, you're going to see improvements in your VO two max. If you train in the anaerobic zone frequently at this exertion level, it takes you to the limit. Your body begins to produce last lactic acid and you start to feel a burning could be a burning of your muscles, your lungs. Generally runners and cyclists love this zone, especially CrossFitters. High intensity interval training. They love this because what you can do is you can gauge and program your workouts so you can do interval training. Generally heart rate zones are generally workouts should be about 10 to 20 minutes in this range and part of that hit training. So what you do is you train up to the threshold zone, you pull back, you give yourself a little bit of recovery, you train back up, and what you do is you give that rest work interval and that really, really starts to see some incredible benefits in your VO two max.

(07:45): You do burn more calories per minute in this heart rate zone because once again, you're covering more distance per minute. In the anaerobic or threshold zone, we're seeing an 85% use of carbohydrates, 15% use of fat, and once again, very little protein. You will notice that protein is not used much for energy in cardiovascular endurance training zone five this is the red line. This is your maximum. It is a top zone. It's 90 to 100% of your maximum heart rate and you cannot go any higher than this and most people can't stay in the zone for any more than a few minutes. You shouldn't be able to speak. You shouldn't really be able to do anything except to work because you're probably going to have to stop working out soon. The longer that you hang out in zone five the zone should only be used for short bursts of interval training where you're working intensely for a minute and then dropping back down.

(08:37): So once again, those work rest ratios that came from zone four but they shouldn't be as long. So a tub Bata, if you've ever heard of a Tabata before, it is an awesome training tool, a great way to program short bursts of intense training. What it's about is it is a eight round, eight round work rest interval of 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest ends up being a four minute workout and has really, really great training stimulus. So when you're in zone five the red line zone, you burn lots of calories per minute. 90% of them come from carbs, 10% from fat, less than 1% from protein. Now I know that the red line zone is like that's the ultimate, right? Like if we hang out in that zone, we get done. We feel like we've got a heck of a workout.

(09:22): I know because I love CrossFit, I love high intensity interval training and even when I'm cycling or running, I like to do sprint herbals and I like to push myself, but although we get a physical stimulus from zone five what I love most about zone five is the mental training benefits. I really love zone five because I feel like if I can push myself in that pain cave and hang out in there and not die and I've lived to see another day, that's an incredible mental training adaptation. So all of this information on heart rate zones is important.

(09:52): Physical stimulus, but I love zone five because it gives me that mental edge to ever heard. The same. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. A major component to your competitive success will be your nutrition prep and I create a competition nutrition guide to help you utilize pre-internet and post-competition nutrition protocols, boost your confidence heading into a competition, recover quicker post comps. You get right back to training and increase your power output and max capacity so you can own that podium. I created this guy just for the everyday athlete and you'd get your free copy at competitionnutritionguide.com. I'll say again, competitionnutritionguide.com

(10:29): So if you take your fitness, let's go back, we'll talk about all the heart rate zones and if you take your fitness, this journey and your progress even remotely, seriously, this information, a heart rate zone is going to be crucial. You're going to gain a new understanding of the awareness of your body by understanding your heart rate zones and how you can train in them and personalize them for you. You can really amplify your fitness goals. You can get results faster, improve your metabolism, burn more calories, shed more fat, and improve your cardiovascular capacity. Ultimately, this information, if you use it, if you take it and go with it, it leads to a more resilient and fit athlete and that is what I believe the everyday athlete is about. It's finding these small opportunities, using this information and applying it and coming out way more. Awesome on the other side. So athletes, you've got all this cool information, heart rate zones.

(11:27): Now how the heck do you measure this? During your workout we talked about how to find your maximum heart rate and that was the math, that number two 20 minus your age, but how do we track this during your workout because that is really the key to this whole metric is tracking it during your workout and now it's 2020 right and very few people are using that finger on the neck artery method and measuring their heart rate like they still do that stuff at the doctor and I just think it's really archaic but we want to get accurate data. It's 2020 and we've got the technology. So I highly recommend that you get a fitness watch or bandit tracker, but before you go out and buy one, I want to give you a few features that I want you to make sure it has. These features are going to be really, really important and a lot of different watches have these.

(12:07): So check out these features. You want to make sure your heart rate tracker has continuous monitoring and monitoring your heart rate all day. So not just workouts. So you want to get something that's comfortable that you can wear all day. Also, some cheaper models, they only take small snapshots of your heart rate over the duration of your workout rather than continuously. So it might be set like every minute, every 90 seconds, something like that. You want a heart rate tracker that continuously monitors your heart rate, not just during your workouts but also all day. So make sure it's comfortable. You want to get a heart rate monitor that allows you to edit your heart rate zone. So it's dynamic and some of these heart rate monitors, the cheaper ones, they're going to just use generic heart rate zones based on the average American. And I know that none of my everyday athletes out there are the average American, so get a heart rate monitor that has an editable heart rate zone so you can change those dynamically as you get more fit.

(13:00): The good trackers out there are going to let you set your own heart rate zones and then you're going to see far more accurate estimations of what those five zones are and how to train in them. Then you want to make sure that that heart rate tracker has the five zones. There are some cheaper Fitbit's out there that don't track all the zones you need. They may only track three and they're defined by their standards like light, moderately light or intense, and when we're not using standardized method like the five zones we have here, which generally is accepted by most research out there, most literature, they're going to be talking about the five heart rate zone. So make sure you're tracking five. Now, my personal favorite and the one that I have used for 18 plus months now my favorite heart rate monitor and tracking app is the Garmin seven 35 X T. watch.

(13:46): You guys just watch it. Does it all. Before I bought my garment though, I did have an Apple watch. Now, this was about two years ago. So I know the technology has changed, but when I got it at the time, it also wasn't waterproof for swimming, so I needed to get a waterproof watch. So this garments, seven 35 X, T, it's got all the bells and whistles. And besides that, the heart rate monitor on the garment is stellar. It tracks the zones, it takes your own customized input so you get the accurate data and it tracks all the time. It's a watch. So it's comfortable to where you can change the watch bands on it. So if you like to be a little bit more personal with your colors, you can do that too. And then after you collect this data over time, it's all amalgamated, all put into an app.

(14:25): And you can use this to make even smarter estimations on what your resting heart rate is, which we talked about in a prior episode. Resting heart rate and how you can use that to determine if you're recovered or not. It gives you training effect and stimulus numbers to go off of. And the cool thing is as you get more data, as you collect data, it's going to give you an estimate of what your VO two max is. And generally it's really hard to get VO two max immediately unless you go to a lab and get hooked up to like a ventilator or an oxygen mask, right? And you train with it on it. So I love my Garmin seven 35 X T if you're serious about your training, if you really want to dive into some metrics and data and get an awareness that you didn't have before, the Garmin seven 35 X T is your best entry point compared to the many smartwatches out there with all the features.

(15:12): I think it's also the most affordable, it's only $350 and you do get the app for free. And that app tracks so much stuff. Now you could also just buy a strap [inaudible] heart rate monitors. So the ones that go around your chest, they sit below your chest and sync it to compatible phone or app. But I don't like those. And here's why. So although people argue that they're the most accurate because it's closest to the heart, I think they're clunky, they're not comfortable, and really nobody is going to wear this strap 24 seven and what I mentioned is it's the daily data that you get from this heart rate watch or monitor that's invaluable. It is the workout data that is super important, but then having that comparable data while at rest is really, really where you're going. Improve your fitness over time so that workout data's great, but comparing it day over day two your resting heart rate, it just gives you a greater scope of data to collect from and really see how you're making these fitness improvements.

(16:04): Well, athletes, there you have it. You know how to calculate your max heart rate even if you have zero data to go on and now you know how to measure your exercise effort based on the five training zones that we talked about. Use this information. Use it right now. Get yourself a heart rate. Watch if you're ready to dive in. Get the garment seven 35 X T or if you've got the cash, look at getting a a, a more feature rich model, but that seven 35 if you want to cycle, if you want to run, you want to CrossFit with it on, that's the great entry point. Start collecting that data and start becoming more aware of how you're training, how your body is adapting to training. All right athletes. I have another guest set up for next week's episode, so a few episodes ago we had dr Sami herb stir from postural solution.

(16:49): Next week I've got another guest. It is my friend and adaptive athlete, Brandon Ryan and he's going to be doing the show to share with you more about how an adaptive athlete uses fitness not only for physical strength but how he uses it to empower himself to live his best life, but for now athletes. Thank you so much for joining me this week. I want you to know we relaunched our website and now I want you to go to red H nutrition.com you can shop for all your supplements @redhnutrition.com hop on over to site, check it out. I'm really, really proud of it. We built it from the ground up and I also want you to scope out the supplements. I want to help you bridge the gap between what you've been eating and what you should be eating. It is time to level up and remember, use code podcast 20 and save 20% of your purchases. It is my way of saying thank you for listening each and every week until next week. Athletes, this is Katie D over and out.

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