Heart Rate Zones

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Besides your RZ coach helping you with the RZ workout of the day, you have your 2nd coach.

The Polar Heart Rate Monitor System and Target Heart Rate Zones

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When it comes to exercise, there are different heart rate zones that equate to different levels of intensity. Our RZ workouts include workouts at a variety of intensities within your target heart rate zone.

Heart Rate Training: The 5 Training Zones.
From warm-up to max effort, there are 5 training zones that are identifiable in your workouts.  Let's go over each one.

Our cardio strength training workouts will be varied every day. You will work through these zones throughout the workout so you can achieve the goals you desire. We just want you to be the best version of yourself and our RZ workout systems with target heart rate training, supportive nutrition and rest will help you achieve that.

The key is to start with what you can handle and slowly build from there. And, if you're just getting started, don't worry too much about how hard you're working. Focus more on making exercise a habit you can keep up with on a regular basis. Once you start feeling more confident and adapting to the exercises, slowly progress into getting a bit out of your comfort zone.

RZ workouts through the Zones....
Your polar heart rate monitor is a powerful tool. As you get acquainted with heart rate training, you will begin to appreciate the use of the data you see on our screens and the date that is emailed you when you receive your reports. Depending on the RZ workout of the day you will see your workload increase into Zones 3 to 5. As you get more conditioned, improving your cardiovascular system and muscular system (getting in shape) you will notice  the workload becomes easier on your heart and muscles. This is very good. You not only are making improvements to your body composition but your heart is becoming more efficient (has to do less work) in providing oxygen and blood to the working muscles. Your heart rate monitor is a window to your work, your performance  yes, to your heart. During your weeks of training, you will notice that treadmill intervals that brought your heart rate up to 90% are now bringing your heart rate percentage to 85% or lower. These improvements are based upon your consistency, your willingness to challenge yourself and your body becoming a strong version of yourself.  

Why do we want you to maximize your cardio intervals on our Treadmills, Rowers, Cybex Arc Trainers, AirDyne Bikes and do your best when performing our workouts on the floor?

Aerobic conditioning is the ability of the heart, lungs, and circulatory system to supply oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. Plus, as you get more fit, you'll increase your VO2 max, which is a number that indicates how efficiently your body uses oxygen during exercise. It involves the ability to persist in activities at RZ, such as Water Rowing,  Cybex Arc Trainers, Power Walking , Jogging on the treadmills and our floor exercises. Improved aerobic endurance is associated with increased health and reduced risk of chronic disease, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Let's get into the Heart Rate Zones:

Zone 1: 50% to 60%.
Zone 1 is used for warming up, cooling down, and it is often used for recovery during interval training (Zone 1 is used if you want a fresh effort for the next interval, Zone 2 is used for recovery if your goals are to add more stress to the aerobic system). Zone 1 is the place where you gently warm the muscles, elevate the heart rate, and prepare the body for the workout to come. You can easily talk, the body starts to perspire, and the effort is enough to feel like you are getting warm. Generally this is about 50-60% of your HRR.


Zone 2: 60% to 70%.
In Zone 2 you can still speak in sentences, but speech become a little harder. You are perspiring slightly. This is your all day pace for long bouts of exercise such as a long bike ride. Exercise in this zone still feels fun. It corresponds with Ventilatory Threshold 1, the place where your breathing transitions from an easy talk test, to speaking with slight difficulty.


Zone 3: LET THE CHALLENGE BEGIN! 70% to 80%. At RZ we recommend our clients enter this zone if they are absolute beginners. We want them to condition themselves and slowly progress into the more challenging zones as the weeks go by. 
 As work continues to increase, the body will perspire more as your core temperature rises from the additional work, your breathing rate and heart rate will increase in order to supply oxygen to muscles that are working hard. Your talk test will drop down to a couple of words per breath, and you are starting to work harder.  This is a great zone to enter when performing endurance pace on cardio tools such as treadmills and cybex when no intervals are presented. This is also a great zone to enter when performing your own cardio training away from the RZ studio.

So, why is it called the fat burning zone? Because the body relies on more fat for fuel when you work at a lower intensity. Some people have translated this to mean that we actually burn more fat when we work at a lower intensity, but that's a bit of a misconception. While lower intensity workouts are great for beginners and for great for building endurance, you need to work harder for some of those workouts if you really want to lose weight.

The Truth About Your Fat Burning Zone

Some people have translated this to mean that we actually burn more fat when we work at a lower intensity, but that's a bit of a misconception. While lower intensity workouts are great for beginners and for great for building endurance, you need to work harder for some of those workouts if you really want to lose weight.

Remember when you first got on your treadmill. You were excited to see the 'FAT BURNING ZONE'? The tragedy of the fat-burning zone is that it misleads people into thinking they don’t have to challenge themselves to see results. 

The thing is, the body does burn a higher percentage of calories from fat in the fat burning zone or at lower intensities. However, at higher intensities (80-95% of your maximum heart rate), you burn a greater number of overall calories. It's the number of calories you burn that leads to the most weight loss and you just won't burn as many when you work at a low intensity all the time.

Let's use a simple example of a 130 Pound woman performing 30 minutes of treadmill cardio.

Example A: She performs  at 70 percent of her maximum for 30 minutes. Her total expanded calories in the 30 minutes is 146 calories. Her total fat calories expanded in 30 minutes is 73 calories. Her percentage of fat calories burned is 50%

Example B: She performs at 80 percent of her maximum for 30 minutes. Her total expanded calories in the 30 minutes is 206 calories. Her total fat calories expanded in 30 minutes is 82 calories. Her percentage of fat calories burned is 40%.

In this example, the woman burns more total calories and more fat calories at a higher intensity.

At lower intensities, the body may burn 50 percent of the calories from fat, while at higher intensities it may only burn 40 percent. But at higher intensities you burn way more total calories—and more fat calories overall—than you do at lower intensities.

This isn't to say that low-intensity exercise doesn't have its place. In fact, endurance workouts should be a staple of a complete fitness program along with shorter, higher intensity workouts or interval workouts, which are a great way to burn calories and build endurance.


Zone 4: 80% to 90%. RZone! Get out of your Comfort Zone. AFTERBURN EFFECT!
As intensity increases, heart rate percent will edge up toward 80% to 90% of maximum. Blood lactate will be forming at a level that is difficult to manage. It takes a lot of focus and will to stay in Zone 4 for a period of time. You will hit this zone when we perform our leg circuits or full body circuits as well as the cardio intervals we perform on our cardio equipment. We recognize clients enter this zone when they are performing water rowers to airdyne bikes to med ball slams to jump rope for example. It's how the exercises are sequenced and how you transition that will make a different in exercise effort. You will not want to talk in Zone 4, but can manage 1-2 words if you must speak. Always listen to your body as you also monitor your heart rate. 

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The AFTERBURN: It refers to the oxygen your body needs to restore itself to the pre-workout state (your resting metabolism). 

"Your metabolism stays up for a period of time after exercise." Although your body continues to burn calories after a workout, it's usually only 6 to 15 percent of the total calories you burned while exercising."-Tedd Keating, Ph.D., C.S.E.S., associate professor of exercise science at Manhattan College. There are a few other factors that alter your individual afterburn rewards as well: weight, fitness level, and muscle mass all play a role. "People who are more aerobically fit, their bodies are going to be better fat burners as a whole," says Keating. You can expect these people to have a more sustained afterburn effect.

The so-called “afterburn effect” is more officially known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or simply, EPOC. And it isn't new in the world of fitness. Several studies suggest there's a strong correlation between the number of calories burned post exercise and the activity’s intensity. Simply put: The more intense the exercise, the more oxygen your body consumes afterward.

In one study, participants who cycled vigorously for 45 minutes burned roughly 190 calories more in the 14 hours after exercise than on days when they didn't work out at all. In another study conducted with those who had metabolic syndrome, EPOC also had significant positive effects—meaning this type of training could be especially useful in combating certain health issues, like obesity and diabetes.

And while one study showed that your afterburn will increase significantly with duration (i.e. the longer and more intense your workout, the more you'll burn), you don't necessarily have to work out for a long time to stimulate the effect. We recommend 20 to 40 minutes.

Several studies have shown that weight training with various types of equipment can also elicit elevated EPOC—and may even be more effective than cardio training in certain scenarios.

We recommend up to 40 minutes between Zone 3 and  Zone 4.


Zone 5: 90% to 100%.
This effort is really tough and can only be maintained for 30-60 seconds of an interval and then you'll need to recover. You will be unable to speak and will be reaching maximal blood lactate levels: you will not be able to supply the amount of oxygen you need for the intensity of the work performed. Your heart rate will be at a maximal level, and your ventilation will be fast and hard. Recovery is something you need, not just something you want. 

Like Zone 4 some of our clients reach Zone 5 during the challenging moments of certain exercises or cardio intervals. It is absolutely important to listen to your body during these peak intervals and fully recover to Zone 3 before continuing on. Our concern is when your at Zone 5 for the majority of the workout. If that is the case, we will recommend you seek a Doctors attention immediately and get a stress test and other tests to make sure you are okay to exercise.


 How to Get in the Real Fat-Burning Zone

  1. Challenge yourself when performing cardio intervals on all of our 4 cardio machines: Treadmills, Cybex Arc Trainers, WaterRowers, AirDyne Bikes. Accomplish a combine total of 40 minutes in Zone 3/Zone 4 during our 50 minute class. When entering into Zone 5, just be careful and monitor how you feel. As mentioned this will be the least amount of the target heart rate zones you will be placed into.For beginners, Zone 3 at 70% to 80% is fantastic. Always focus on recovery and listen to your body.
  2. When performing our strength training exercises use a resistance/weight that will challenge your muscles. You want your muscles to experience momentary muscle failure but not at the expense of losing your form. As with cardio intervals, focus on recovery perform you move onto the next exercise and listen to your body.
  3. Increase your workload: Increase resistance, repetitions, effort and if you can transition from one exercise to the other with minimal rest period. But, first and foremost focus on the particular exercise and then try to transition to the next movement as soon as you can to increase workload. As always, listen to your body, do not sacrifice form and do not race through an exercise.
  4. Focus on supportive nutrition. We focus on teaching you the concepts and strategies of supportive nutrition by eating lean protein to match your lean body mass, adequate complex carbohydrates to provide energy to working muscles and your brain so you can perform amazing in the target heart rate zones, quality vegetables, fruits, essential fats and water to keep yourself hydrated.

The key is to start with what you can handle and slowly build from there. And, if you're just getting started, don't worry too much about how hard you're working. Focus more on making exercise a habit you can keep up with on a regular basis.

To your health, 

Glenn Greer, Co-Owner

Glenn Greer