You’re Not Working Out Hard Enough!

That’s what I was told on Saturday.

I’d worn my Garmin watch to the gym since I went running first, and Joel asked what my heart rate was when I was running. “Um, I don’t know?” 

“What do you mean you don’t know? You have a heart rate monitor and you don’t wear it?”

Well, yeah. After being overweight for quite some time and wearing clothes that were too tight, the last thing I want to do is wear a tight strap around my chest. But, I’ll try it once in a while.

Joel explained to Meghan and me the different heart rate zones. The faster your heart beats, the more calories you burn.

  • 50-60% of your maximum heart rate: This is basically your walk down the street. It’s better than sitting on your ass on your couch, but it’s not much of a workout, and you will lose weight slowly if you only work out in this zone.
  • 60-70% of your maximum heart rate: You’re breathing heavier, and you’re burning more calories.
  • 70-80% of your maximum heart rate: This is the zone to be in for endurance training (i.e., long runs) and workouts from 20-60 minutes long.
  • 80-90% of your maximum heart rate: This is where your heart rate should be during interval training. Pushing yourself into this zone helps you improve on the amount of oxygen you can take in while exercising, and it also helps with speed. Also called the anaerobic threshold, this zone is important, because it helps you get better/faster/torch some calories. Either work out in this zone as part of an interval training workout, or just do a short, but intense workout.

How do you find your max? 220 – your age.

So for me, my maximum heart rate is 193.

If you’re doing intervals, you want to push yourself to about 85-90% during the tough part of the interval. For the rest, you only want to rest as long as it takes to get back to 60 percent. Try taking your heart rate while working out, to make sure your heart rate matches your goals. And try to get some of those high intensity workouts in once in a while to push yourself and make your heart (and the rest of your body stronger).

Remember, the better shape you’re in, the stronger your heart is, so you may have to work harder to get to that zone. My heart was pounding out of my chest and I was breathing heavy at 75 percent, but I could have pushed myself a lot harder.

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