HeartRate Zones

You’ve probably (hopefully) heard about heart rate training zones. And, if you’re into fitness you already know a bit about it. Today’s article will cover this (a little bit) for those of us who are a bit confused or wanting a little more information.

WARNING: Exercise, stretching, sports, and other fitness related activities can be dangerous. You can be seriously injured, crippled, or killed. The opinions, stories, and ideas presented here are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. I strongly recommend getting a complete physical and doctor’s approval before starting any type of strenuous activity. Especially if you are over the age of 40 or have high blood pressure, genetic heart problems or conditions, or elevated cholesterol levels. If you choose to workout, you do so at your own risk. In addition, working out requires patience, diligence, and above all else, using good form. Never bounce or over strain! Most important: listen to your body…

Ahhh… Got that disclaimer out of the way, now we can talk about blowing your heart up! hehe.

For simplicity, many people use the Haskell and Fox Formula for determining their maximum predicted heart rate (MPHR). This method is commonly believed to be the most accurate. There is also the Karvonen Method; which includes the resting heart rate in the formula.

The Haskell and Fox Formula is simply: MPHR=220-your_age

That said, I don’t like to use any formula. Everybody has a different sized heart. And, different sized hearts pump blood at different rates. Everybody is at different levels of fitness. And, everyone is.. um.. different! For this reason, in my humble opinion, there is no “real” standard formula to know your true maximum heart rate (hence throwing “predicted” into the title. According to Haskell and Fox my MPHR is 173 beats per minute (BPM). But I know for a fact that my MPHR is at least 182 BPM, because I’ve hit that several times! If you must know your maximum heart rate, check with a cardiologist doctor who specializes in VO2Max (maximal oxygen uptake/intake) stress testing, or a fitness professional who has the proper equipment to measure this for you. Never try to do it on your own, because you could (and probably will) kill yourself!

Sidenote: One of my pet peeves is when people think that you can push yourself extra hard and momentarily boost your heart rate over your maximum BPM. Let’s dispel that shit right now… It is called maximum because it is the maximum. There is no going over (even for a second) the maximum rate your heart can pump. Otherwise it would be called close to maximum or something along those lines. If you go over your max heart rate, you have now discovered that your previous number was too low and you can replace it with the new value. PERIOD

Another note: Your MPHR will go down by approximately one beat per year (similar to Haskell and Fox’s guess). So, if you are 184 BPM this year, you will probably be 183 next year… And so on, and so forth.

Let’s discuss the “zones” for a minute. This is a common heart rate training zone list:
Zone 1 – 50-60% – Recovery (aerobic)
Zone 2 – 60-70% – Endurance (aerobic)
Zone 3 – 70-80% – Stamina (aerobic)
Zone 4 – 80-90% – Economy (anaerobic)
Zone 5 – 90-100% – Speed (anaerobic)

It is scientifically proven that training in certain zones is more beneficial depending on what you’re trying to achieve. I’m not going into deep detail here, because there are tons of books that contain way more information than I could hope to include in a blog article. This is merely an introduction to get your interest piqued.

Now let’s draw a quick chart that shows a sample of how those zones are associated with heart rates. Since I know my estimated max, we’ll use my values to create our chart:

HR Zone
1
2
3
4
5
% of Max
50-60%
60-70%
70-80%
80-90%
90-100%
Heart Rate (BPM)
91-109
110-127
128-146
146-164
165-182

Now that we have laid this handy-dandy chart out, we need to factor one more important piece in to the equations… Everybody has a muscular failure point in exercise commonly called lactic acid threshold or lactate threshold. Essentially this means that your muscles (and ATP) cannot clear the lactic acid that is building up in your muscles. When this threshold is hit, you have a very short amount of time (sometimes seconds) left before you can no longer continue your activity. I’m sure we’ve all felt this threshold at some point in our life. I feel it at least a few times each week! Suffice it to say (without getting to obfuscated) if you go over this limit, you will not be able to continue working at that level for more than a few seconds.

This threshold appears to be somewhere right around 91.5% of your MPHR. Mine is at 166 BPM. During cardio, you do not want to go over this threshold (unless you are doing advanced high intensity interval training), because you won’t be able to maintain your state of exercise for more than a few seconds before you fall over and lay panting until your heart rate gets down and your muscles clear themselves of the painful acid. However, we often try to get to this point while doing weight lifting and other forms of anaerobic exercise (as opposed to aerobic exercise).

For more information on heart rate zones you can look for books by Sally Edwards and Joe Friel (among literally hundreds of other great authorities). My absolute favorite is found in The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel. He breaks it down in much more detail and even breaks the fifth zone into three sections (5a, 5b, and 5c).

I know this was only a cursory glance at this material, but I sincerely hope you found the article informative!

Now, figure out your zones, design a plan that includes being in one or more of them, and get out there and hit that zone!!!

-Rip

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Fish Oil Might Help

Let’s discuss Omega-3 fatty acids and their potential benefits!

Back a few articles ago (as you know) I started talking about different foods, drinks, and vitamin supplements that I ingest on a daily basis to increase the strength of my immune system and add to my overall health and longevity. This whole thing was originally kicked off with my post about oranges. Today is really no different, except the topic shifted slightly… Let’s dig in!

As most of you know, there are lots of health benefits that come from taking a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 (EPA and DHA) has been proven to help lower triglycerides and blood pressure. Studies also show that omega-3 may help with other conditions like: asthma, Alzheimer disease, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, inflammation, among others.

Hemophilia Alert: Omega-3 may cause the blood to thin and cause excess bleeding. This is not necessarily bad, but should be considered if you have a bleeding disorder, or are taking anticoagulant drugs.

 

There are three main types of omega-3s: EPA, DHA, and ALA. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids in our diets. ALA, DHA, and EPA are not made in our bodies; therefore, we must get them from our diet. Two of the most important fatty acids that come from omega-3 are EPA and DHA; which are found in certain fish. The third one, ALA, can be found in plants, oils, and walnuts.

Whenever possible, the best possible way to get your omega-3 fatty acids is from fresh foods. You can find good natural sources of DHA and EPA omega-3s in the following fish:

  • trout
  • tuna
  • anchovies
  • bluefish
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • salmon
  • sardines
  • sturgeon
  •  

    If you cannot eat these fish three times per week, then you should consider supplementing with an omega-3 capsule.

    You can find ALA in:

  • walnuts
  • flax and flaxseed oil
  • canola oil
  • olive oil
  • soybean oil
  •  

    I’d love to get my daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids directly from fresh food sources, but I rarely do… So, I pop an omega-3 pill twice a day. Essentially, I do this to ensure that I get the proper amount of DHA and EPA.

    Do you make sure to get a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids?

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    Fiber Glass

    No, no, no… Not fiberglass as in the itchy stuff in your attic… I’m talking about a “glass of fiber” or psyllium. Today we will talk about how to help your digestive system and hopefully making you a more regular person. HA!

    Back a few articles ago (as you know) I started talking about different foods, drinks, and vitamin supplements that I ingest on a daily basis to increase the strength of my immune system and add to my overall health and longevity. This whole thing was originally kicked off with my post about oranges. Today is really no different, except the topic shifted slightly… Let’s dig in!

    I take a tablespoon of Konsyl psyllium fiber each and every night. This amounts to approximately 15+ grams of fiber. Considering the daily recommended does is around 30 grams, I’m halfway there with a single 8 ounce glass of water. I try to obtain the remainder of my daily fiber from good sources like breads, nuts and seeds, spaghetti, vegetables, rice, cereal, and legumes. Dr. Oz does a great job of listing many of the fiber filled foods here: www.doctoroz.com/videos/50-fiber-rich-foods.

    Natural fiber has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. Along with that, it also relieves occasional constipation and induces “regularity.” You might be surprised to hear that it also helps with diarrhea. This is actually why I take my daily dose! And, it’s used to help relieve a variety of gastrointestinal disorders, such as diverticulosis and Crohn’s disease. Suffice it to say, fiber has many great benefits with little to no adverse side effects. Why not go for it?

    Fiber is also believed to help prevent cancer. Isn’t that enough of a reason to eat it??

    I’d love to write a much longer article that goes into crazy detail, but the truth is… This ain’t rocket science, folks. Fiber is a necessary carbohydrate that helps ease our bowel movements and slows down sugar absorption. It is a great addition to a healthy diet and also easy to include. This one is simple… As the people at Nike like to say, “Just do it.” No matter whether you choose Benefiber, Konsyl, or some other brand… Make sure you add a fiber supplement to your daily plan.

    Thoughts?

    Talk to you soon,
    Vaughn

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    City Boy with Cowboy Heart

    Checkout my Lucchese boots and my city steed.

    I am fond of saying, “I’m a city boy with a cowboy’s heart.” Most folks look at me with a tilted head and wry grin when I make that statement. Usually it’s right after someone notices and questions my cowboy boots. You heard that right … I wear cowboy boots. My goat leather Lucchese (pronounced Lu-K-C) boots are my absolute favorite and I wear them fairly often. My boots are only part of the story. I also ride a Harley Davidson Fat Bob; which I refer to as my city steed. These things are all reminders to me of my code. You see, I really was born and raised in the city, but my heart and soul go back to a different time… The time of the cowboy. I am a huge fan of the Wild West. Even my mobile phone ringtone is from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; which is my favorite western movie.

    When you think of a cowboy you often attribute the term to determination, grit, firmness, chivalrous, rough around the edges, polite, strong, patient, tough, gentle, nerves of steel, courageous, steady, plucky, gallant, and the list goes on. That’s exactly what I think, and what I strive for in myself. My boots, my Harley, and my ringtone are simply reminders of who I am, and what I stand for.

    In this day and age it is often tough to find someone with an ounce of chivalry. It hurts my feelings to see someone standing on an elevator inch backwards and try to hide from people approaching. Even worse is the huffing, puffing, and sighing I hear from folks on the elevator with me when I reach my arm out to stop the elevator doors from closing to wait for someone to join us. I mean, is it really that horrible to wait an extra three seconds to allow someone access to your elevator?? I hold building and car doors open for others too. And, if I had a hat I would tip it when I passed folks. On my bicycle rides on the C&O Canal I’m probably known as that weird guy that says “hi” to everyone he passes. HA!

    Laugh if you must, or call me silly… But, I will stay the same polite city boy with a cowboy’s heart that I have always been.

    I have a challenge for you… The next time you are driving through a parking lot, slow down a hair and really focus on pedestrians. Instead of gunning the engine and racing to get out of their way, try braking and waving them on with a friendly smile. This is especially important on rainy days. Are you up to the task?

    Have a great afternoon… *tips hat*

    -Vaughn

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