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Heart Rate Science

Training without using a heart rate monitor is like driving a car blindfolded...you can't guide your body where it needs to go!

Heart Rate Science

The Warm Up Zones

Preparing for Zones 3, 4 & 5

Zone 1

Very Light Activity

  • Heart Rate = 0% - 60%
  • Fuel Source = 10% Carbs + 90% Fat
  • Burn Rate = Negligible
  • Time Goal = 5 minutes
    (Zones 1 & 2 combined)

Description

In Zone 1, your body is primarily burning fat as a fuel but at a negligible rate. Your body is doing this because the intensity of your workout is VERY LOW to the point at which it has time to use fat as the primary source of fuel.

Best Use

This zone is best used for just getting your body moving and moving more consistently.

Drawbacks

The drawback of this zone is that it will take a very long exercise session in this zone paired with a very high frequency of exercise sessions to achieve any noticeable fat loss progress. For example, you may need to take one or two daily walks for 3 months in order to see any difference in your weight.

How can you tell?

You can tell you are in this zone when you can easily hold a conversation with someone. You may (or may not) sweat mildly and have a very mild increase in your breathing rate.

Example Activities
Walking or a leisurely bike ride on mostly flat or moderately hilly terrain

Zone 2

Moderate Activity

  • Heart Rate = 61% - 70%
  • Fuel Source = 10% Carbs + 90% Fat
  • Burn Rate = Slow
  • Time Goal = 5 minutes
    (Zones 1 & 2 combined)

Description

In Zone 2, your body is primarily burning fat as a fuel, with a slight increase in its use of carbohydrates as fuel. Your body is doing this because the intensity of your workout is moderate, so it still has time to use fat as its primary source of fuel with some small assistance from carbohydrates.

Best Use

This is a very efficient zone for beginners to advance their exercising because these levels can still be reached with low impact and slower steady state movements.

Drawbacks

The drawback of this zone is that it will take a very long exercise session in this zone paired with a very high frequency of exercise sessions to achieve any noticeable fat loss progress. For example, you may need to take one or two daily walks for 3 months in order to see any difference in your weight.

How can you tell?

You can tell you are in this zone when you can still easily hold a conversation with someone, but there is a noticeable increase in your perspiration and breathing rate. This is where most people start to see the benefits of this type of conditioning.

Example Activities
brisk walking or slow jogging

The Main Zone

Sweet Spot for Weight Loss

Zone 3

Challenging

  • Heart Rate = 71% - 83%
  • Fuel Source = 50% Carbs + 50% Fat
  • Burn Rate = Moderate
  • Time Goal = 15-35 minutes

Description

In Zone 3, your body is burning an equal mixture of fat and carbohydrate stores for energy. The body is doing this because the intensity of the workout is getting to a level where fat is not the most efficient fuel source for the energy demands and the faster burning carbohydrate begins assisting more in meeting the body's energy needs.

Best Use

This is a very efficient zone for maximizing weight loss efforts because the body is now equally burning body fat and stored carbohydrates.

How can you tell?

You can tell you are in this zone when you can still hold a conversation but you are breathing heavily, and you are sweating a lot more. It may take time for beginners to get to this zone but consistency will ultimately allow you to stay in this zone much longer as the weeks progress.

Example Activity
moderate run

The PinkZONE

Carb Burning & Conditioning

Zone 4

Very Hard

  • Heart Rate = 84% - 91%
  • Fuel Source = 95% Carbs + 5% Fat
  • Burn Rate = Intense
  • Time Goal = 12-20 minutes
    (Zones 4 & 5 combined)

Description

In Zone 4, your body is burning very little fat and mostly carbohydrate stores for energy. At this level of intensity, your body has a very hard time processing fat quickly enough to use it as energy.

Best Use

This zone is best utilized for building up your body's muscles, including your heart muscle.

This zone is best reached with short interval style bursts.

This zone can be used to spur fat loss if implemented correctly.

Zones 2 & 3 provide moderate heart conditioning while this zone specifically conditions the heart to be stronger.

Drawbacks

In order to meet your body's immediate energy needs demanded in this zone, carbohydrates become your body's primary fuel source. However, once your carbohydrate stores are depleted your body will look for protein as a fuel source and will burn your precious muscle tissue as its fuel.

For this reason, it is important not to exceed 12 to 20 minutes total time in Zones 4 and 5 combined during a workout so as not to burn away your precious muscle!

How can you tell?

You can tell you are in this zone when you are on the verge of not being able to speak and breathing is accelerated and challenging.

Example Activities:
hard running or sprinting

Zone 5

Maximum Effort

  • Heart Rate = 92% - 100%
  • Fuel Source = 100% Carbs
  • Burn Rate = Intense
  • Time Goal = 12-20 minutes
    (Zones 4 & 5 combined)

Description

Zone 5 is the all out maximum effort zone. Your body is in its highest aerobic state and is beginning its switch to an anaerobic state.

Best Use

This heart rate zone is best utilized for building up your body's muscles and lactate threshold.

This zone is reserved for short interval style bursts ONLY.

This zone can be used to spur fat loss and build muscle, if implemented properly.

Drawbacks

At this level your body is burning pure carbohydrate to meet its energy needs. However, once your carbohydrate stores are depleted your body will look for protein as a fuel source and will burn your muscle tissue as its fuel.

For this reason, it is important not to exceed 12 to 20 minutes total time in Zones 4 and 5 combined during a workout so as not to burn away your precious muscle!

Exercise cannot be maintained for very long in this zone. If you're running, this is the zone where your legs burn.

How can you tell?

You can tell you are in this zone when you cannot speak and your breathing is at its fastest. Exercising in this zone is far too laboring on the body and cannot be maintained for long.

Example Activities:
hard sprinting for short distances