That's the zone where you want to put most of your training time.
My athletes know what their heart rate zones are based on a mathematical calculation.
There are lots of different ways to calculate your training zones based on heart rate.
The old school way is 220 - your age = your maximum heart rate (MHR).
In my case that would be 220-54=166.
The Mayo Clinic recently said that researchers found the MHR declines more slowly with age, making the old formula inaccurate...for us older people.
They recommended this formula:
Women 200 - (67% of age)
Men 216 - (93 % of age)
In my case that would be Women 200 - 36 = 164.
But what if there was another way of finding my MHR that was actually based on ME and not some mathematical formula?
And I did it.
I went to Fitness Wave in Irvine, CA and I let a couple of guys strap a face mask on me and hook me up to a machine.
This is not me, but this is what the machine and face mask looked like. I was on a treadmill, not an elliptical machine.
This is the machine I was hooked up to.
The Fitness Wave "nice" guys started me out slow at about 2 percent incline walking about 3 miles an hour and I started out at 80 beats per minute. They kept bumping up the pace and the incline until I was running about 7.5 miles an hour at a 8 percent grade, with my heart rate at 172. The room was HOT or maybe I was having a "hot flash", but it seemed to me that 172 was my MAX!!!!
They lowered the incline and backed off on the pace and within 1 minute my heart rate was 41 percent recovered (135 bpm) and at 2 minutes was 61 percent recovered (116 bpm).
So what does all that mean?
For my age, my fitness level is excellent and I now have target workout zones, which are based on me and not some mathematical formula.
I have my fat burning zone, my endurance zone, my cardio training zone and my peak zone.
So my goal will be to do most of my training within my aerobic level with some anaerobic threshold thrown in, which in the long run will increase my performance in endurance activities.
If you are really interested in the nuts and bolts of Zone 2 Training you can read this article by Dr. Inigo San Milan, Ph.D., Director of the Exercise Physiology and Human Performance Lab at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and also the Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Sports Medicine Departments at the University of Colorado School of Medicine -
You can read the entire article by clicking the link above - but for most people here is the important part in the article, "By training Zone 2 we will not only improve fat utilization and preserve glycogen but we will also increase lactate clearance capacity which is key for athletic performance.
The VO2 Testing was not the only test the Fitness Wave techs ran on me.
I also had my Resting Metabolic Rate and my Hydrostatic Body Composition Analysis done.
My Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) tells how many calories the body burns everyday at rest.
They used the same machine, but I was hooked up to it differently.
I sat in a chair and was told to breath normally.
Well, as normal as I could with my nose pinched closed and breathing in and out through a tube.
It was kind of claustrophobic feeling and my mouth got really dry.
The Fitness Wave techs kept coming in and checking on me. Maybe because I looked a little freaked out.
The test took about 12 minutes, but it seems like much longer.
Why is it good to know your RMR?
If you want to lose weight, knowing your RMR will take away the guess work of how many calories you should be eating everyday.
The test showed that I have a FAST metabolism and compared to a typical personal of similar sex, age, height and weight, my metabolism rate is 38 percent faster.
If I just sat in a chair all day I would burn 1,570 calories.
Okay, sitting in a chair all day would be BORING!!!!!
I do stuff - like work, play, eat, and do laundry (when I have to), so the machine estimated that I use another 471 calories a day doing just the normal everyday stuff.
But what about if I exercise (aka TRAIN)?
For moderate exercise, I burn about 196 calories in 30 minutes.
So at the minimum I burn 2,237 calories a day - MINIMUM!!!
Now I don't feel so bad eating that Snickers bar on my bike ride the other day.
My Target Caloric Zones report gave me a list of how many calories to consume to maintain my weight and how many to consume to lose weight.
I am 5' and right now I weight 105 pounds.
Do I want to lose weight?
Yep....but not just any weight.
I want to lose FAT weight.
How much FAT weight do I want to lose?
A couple of years ago I had my body composition (fat to lean muscle) tested using the hydrostatic "gold standard" of testing.
You can read my blog from that time by clicking the link below:
Back in April 2012, I came in at 16 percent body fat.
Not this time.
I didn't expect my body fat to be that low - it's been a couple of years of spending more time doing cardio than lifting weights. I knew my body composition had changed.
I just didn't know how much.
This time my body fat percentage was at 19.83.
I'm not too upset. After all, for a woman my age the "IDEAL" body fat percentage is 22 percent. I'd have to gain 2.94 pounds of fat and weigh 108.4 pounds to get to the ideal.
My plan is to get in a couple of extra 15 minute strength training sessions during the week, to get a couple of FAT pounds off.
Okay, so what's the bottom line with all this testing.
If you want to lose weight - you can NOT guess at how many calories you burn. You need to find out for sure so you know what you are working with.
Can you increase your metabolism?
With strength training.
Can you increase your endurance?
By training in the right heart rate zone.
And finding out your body composition is a good place to start in any weight loss/exercise program - it gives a person a baseline to work from.
Enough numbers for the day.
I'm going to go ride my bike in zone 2 for 45 minutes and see if I can't lose a little fat.