TRAINING IN YOUR HEART RATE ZONES
Your heart is the most important muscle in your body. Monitoring your heart rate during exercise and training within specific heart rate zones will allow you to know more accurately what intensity you are working at, and allow you to exercise much more efficiently (less time!).
We know that as exercise intensity changes (through a combination of adjusting resistance and cadence) there is a linear increase in VO2R and heart rate. This is why monitoring heart rate is such an effective way to determine training intensity. Heart Rate Monitors, such as our Polar Flow System have made the ability for the average person to do this.
There are five heart rate zones that go from least to most intense. Each target heart zone is expressed as a certain percentage of your maximum heart rate. Exercising within your target heart rate is a great way to make sure that you are not under-training or overtraining, and serves as one of the best guidelines for achieving personal fitness goals.
Heart Rate Zone training will get you on the fast track to fitness success!
Zone 1 – Healthy Heart Zone – Getting Fit!
In this zone, you stay at 50% to 60% of your maximum heart rate; this is gentle exertion
When working in Zone 1, your Rate of Perceived of Exertion (RPE) on a scale of 1-10 (10 being maximal effort) should be approximately 2-3 out of 10.
Fuels burned in Zone 1: 10% carbohydrates, 60-85% fat and 5% protein.
This is not a hot calorie-burning pace: you only burn ± 5 calories per minute.
In this zone you’re at 55-65% maximum aerobic capacity (VO² Max, a body’s maximum capacity to carry and use oxygen during exercise).
Five things to know about Zone 1:
Even at this comfortable pace, the health payoff is huge: a Zone 1 workout lowers blood pressure, builds muscle mass, reduces body fat, improves our immune system and cholesterol levels, and lowers your heart attack risk.
Most of the calories burned in this zone, even though you won’t burn a huge number, are fat calories. That’s a good thing.
This is a safe zone, so it’s ideal for inactive people trying to become more active.
To get the benefits of working in Zone 1, you must spend at least 10 minutes in the zone every day.
You will feel fatigue after a time in Zone 1 because your energy and fluids are being depleted. Drink water!
Zone 2 – Temperate Zone – Staying Fit!
In this zone, you work at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.
When working in Zone 2, your RPE on a scale of 1-10 (10 being maximal effort) should be approximately 3-5 out of 10.
Fuels burned in Zone 2: 10% carbohydrates, 50-80% fat and 5% protein.
You burn ±10 calories in Zone 2 – twice as many as in Zone 1.
In Zone 2 you’re at 66-75% VO² Max.
Five things to know about Zone 2:
This is the level at which most people exercise every day – a moderate and comfortable zone.
You’re still burning mostly fat calories in Zone 2 – more than in Zone 1 – and building muscle mass at the same time.
With more muscle mass, you burn more calories even when you’re inactive.
The more you train in Zone 2, the more efficient your body gets at using fat for energy, because your fat-burning enzymes are more active overall.
When you develop more stamina, you’ll be able to use Zone 2 as a recovery zone or a long, slow endurance zone.
Zone 3 – Aerobic Zone – Getting Fitter!
In Zone 3, you’re working at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate.
When working in Zone 3, your RPE on a scale of 1-10 (10 being maximal effort) should be approximately 5-7 out of 10.
Fuels burned in Zone 3: 60% carbohydrates, 35% fat and 5% protein.
Your calorie burn in Zone 3 increases slightly to ±13 per minute.
In Zone 3 you are at 76-80% VO² Max.
Five things to know about Zone 3:
This zone is the “sweet spot” of training; it’s where you get the most benefits in the least amount of time.
You’re in good company here; this is the zone where high-performance athletes will spend most of their time.
In Zone 3 the emphasis of calories being burned shifts from fat calories to carbohydrates.
Two major benefits of working in Zone 3: here your body builds resistance to fatigue, and you improve your VO² Max.
The body can only hold so many carbohydrates needed for energy, so it’s important to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition before long periods of Zone 3 training, or any work in Zones 4 or 5.
Zone 4 – Threshold Zone – Getting Even More Fit!
In Zone 4, you’re working at 80-90% of your maximum heart rate.
When working in Zone 4, your RPE on a scale of 1-10 (10 being maximal effort) should be approximately 7-9 out of 10.
Fuels burned in Zone 4: 80% carbohydrates, 15% fat and 5% protein.
The calorie burn increases only slightly again in Zone 4, to ±15 per minute.
In Zone 4 you are at 81-90% VO² Max.
Five things to know about Zone 4:
Benefits of working in Zone 4 include increased aerobic and anaerobic energy pathways, a higher anaerobic threshold, a better oxygen transport system and higher lactic acid clearance.
For most fit athletes, Zone 4 is an anaerobic threshold – the point at which oxygen is consumed more than it’s delivered. Also, your body produces lactic acid faster than it can be metabolized in this zone.
Training at or just below the anaerobic threshold allows your body to buffer, recycle and clear waste from lactic acid production. For that reason, endurance athletes work to get their anaerobic threshold as high as possible.
Your body transports oxygen better in Zone 4.
This is the maximum sustainable heart rate; staying at this threshold for too long may cause your arms and legs to feel rubbery and your breathing to become shallow and erratic. Make sure you know your limits!
Zone 5 – Red Line Zone – Getting Fittest!
In Zone 5, you’re working at 90-100% of your maximum heart rate.
When working in Zone 5, your RPE on a scale of 1-10 (10 being maximal effort) should be approximately 9-10 out of 10.
Fuels burned in Zone 5: 90% carbohydrates, 5% fat and 5% protein.
Calories burn at a rate of ±20 per minute in Zone 5.
In Zone 5 you are at 91-100% VO² Max.
Your target heart rate helps you hit the bull’s eye. We don’t wish for our members to over-exercise, and the other extreme not getting enough exercise which is why our Personal Co-Training & 4 Series programs are a complete exercise system ensuring you work in each of these training zones.
Five things to know about Zone 5:
Benefits of working in Zone 5 include increased anaerobic energy sources, better speed and improved neuromuscular coordination.
Zone 5 workouts are very difficult but they sharpen muscle efficiency and coordination.
If you’re running a race, you would use Zone 5 to break away from the pack early, or to finish a long run with a sprint.
You cannot work in Zone 5 for sustained periods without slowing for a breather; you will fatigue quickly.
Too much time spent training in a Zone 5 may increase your risk of injury and becoming over-trained. When it comes to Zone 5, think quality over quantity!