Have you ever found yourself in this situation, you are working out six days a week, occasionally twice a day and despite all your efforts you are not experiencing the results you want?
Anyone's knee jerk reaction is to hit the gym harder and to bring down the calorie count even further, but the culprit behind a stubborn stall in fat loss and plummeting gains in muscle size and strength is overtraining. Overtraining is defined by the National Academy of Science and Medicine as “an accumulation of training and/or non-training stress resulting in long-term decrease in performance capacity.” In other words, when it comes to achieving your fitness and body composition goals, there is in fact a point of diminishing returns. If you are constantly working out at a high intensity level for long periods of time most days of the week and not scheduling in recovery days then you are dangerously towing the very fine line between admirable dedication and counterproductive overtraining. Unfortunately, this happens to many people and if I took a poll of most people in the gym today, they are either under or over training during their workouts.
There is good news for you and it’s a simple solution – heart rate training. I have been using a heart rate monitor for about 10 years and it is my partner for every workout. People ask me all the time why I feel so strongly about the use of a heart rate monitor and here is my analogy. Exercising without a heart rate monitor is like driving a car without a speedometer – it is your only feedback.
If I took a poll of why most people work out on cardio equipment, 90% or more will tell you they want to lose weight. So out of those people how many do you think heart rate train? Not many, some know what their heart rate is, but don't know where it should really be.
You are probably asking yourself what is heart rate training? Well it is simply using your heart rate zones to monitor your workout. In order to heart rate train you first need a heart rate monitor. There are monitors ranging in price from $75-$400, but for the general population you don't need anything too fancy. Second you need to find out where your heart rate should be.
Finding Your Aerobic Zone
What determines your aerobic training zone is your heart rate.For most people, keeping your heart rate between 60-85% of your maximum heart rate will keep you in the correct training zone. The problem for the most part is our ego.Some people who may be 20-40 plus pounds overweight are training as they did when they were 20 years old.Everyone is at different fitness levels and some of us need to keep our training zone at 65%, others can train at 75%, and the elite conditioned individual can perform cardio at 80-85% of their maximum heart rate.
To find your target heart rate subtract your age from 220.Use this formula as an example:
- A 40 year old individual who trains at 70% of their maximum heart rate.
- (220 – 40 = 180) multiplied by (.70) gives us 70% of maximum heart rate, which equates to 126 beats per minute.
Now go out and run, jog or walk outside but do not use a treadmill for this test. See if you can keep your heart rate at or below your Target Heart Rate.Most of the people I suggest this test for, come back and say, I pretty much had to walk to keep my heart rate at or below that level. If that’s you, that’s a good sign that your aerobic capacity is not where you think it is and your workouts are probably working against you.
I also suggest you perform your normal aerobic workout at your normal speed and intensity.Check to see what your heart rate is for that workout.A lot of people come back and say, I had no idea I was performing my aerobic workout at 80-90% of my maximum heart rate, what a mistake!
From the advice of personal trainer don’t make this common mistake and over train your body.If you’ve hit a plateau, can’t figure out why your results have stalled or why you are constantly tired and fatigued after your workout, take a closer look at your aerobic intensity.
Use heart rate training to adjust the intensity and get the results you deserve!