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What Happens When You Actually Train At A Targeted Heart Rate

What Happens When You Actually Train At A Targeted Heart Rate

Targeted heart rate training: Perhaps you’ve heard of it and know it’s supposed to be good for you. But, good in what way? To burn fat? To get the most out of exercise? To prevent overtraining? If you use heart rate training correctly, it can help you with all of that and more. Let’s investigate:

If you use heart rate training correctly, it can help you with all of that and more. Let’s investigate:

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How Does Heart Rate Training Help You?

Before we jump into how to do it properly, let’s take a look at why you’d want to do it in the first place. Heart rate training can help you in a few different ways:

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  1. You can get the most out of your exercise: Your target heart rate depends on the type of exercise you’re doing. If you’re jogging, you want your heart rate to be in a different range (lower) than if you’re in the middle of an intense anaerobic set. By knowing the optimal heart rate for each type of exercise, you can make sure you’re exerting yourself enough — but not too much — to get the results that you want.
  2. You can see how your body responds to different types of exercises: For athletes who want to tune their bodies to achieve a specific purpose, heart rate training can show you what you’re good at and what you need to work on. Where are you quickly overexerting yourself? Where are you doing well? By monitoring your heart rate, you can get a sense of where you need more work — whether that’s fitness-related or technique-related.
  3. It prevents you from overtraining: While you may have the mental toughness to push through the pain, heart rate training can help you identify when you are overexerting yourself. The end result means that you can prevent injuries.

Which Rates Pair With Which Exercises?

Now that we know how heart rate training can benefit your workout, let’s take a look at which zones are the best for certain types of exercise. It looks like this:

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  • Easy: 60% – 70%
    This zone is ideal for slow runs or recovery runs. It’s the best place for your heart to pump blood and for your muscles to use oxygen.
  • Aerobic: 70% – 80%
    This zone helps you develop cardiovascular fitness and helps improve your body’s ability to get oxygen to your muscles and pull carbon dioxide away from them. In this zone, you should still be able to carry on a conversation.
  • Anaerobic: 80% – 90%
    This zone is where your muscles build up lactic acid, also known as “the burn.” Training in this zone helps your body increase its threshold before lactic acid buildup, meaning that your muscles get stronger and have more endurance. In this zone, you’re breathing heavily and your muscles are quite tired.
  • Red Line: 90% – 100%
    This zone should be used sparingly and only for short periods of time. Here is where you’re building up a sizeable oxygen debt to your muscles, so you can’t maintain this zone for long.

How Do I Know My Own Heart Rate Zones?

All right, so we understand the different zones and when to use them, but how do you determine your own heart rate zones so you know whether you’re training at 60% of your max or 80%? It’s a pretty straightforward process:

  1. Find your resting heart rate. Take your pulse right when you wake up or when you’re totally relaxed.
  2. Calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. There’s your max heart rate. If you are 30, for example, then your max heart rate should be 190.
  3. Find your heart rate reserve: This number is just your max heart rate minus your resting heart rate. If your max heart rate is 190 and your resting heart rate is 60, then your heart rate reserve would be 130.
  4. With these numbers, you can calculate anything. Just multiply your target percentage by your heart rate reserve and add your resting heart rate. For example, if you want to reach 70%, your heart rate reserve is 130, and your resting heart rate is 60 — then you would just multiply 130 by 0.7, which is 91, and add your resting heart rate for a total of 151. That means, to reach your 70% zone, you’d be looking for a heart rate of 151 beats per minute.
  5. If all else fails, you can just find a handy heart rate zone calculator to do the work for you.

Featured photo credit: Targeted Heart Rate Training via nordictrack.com

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Kevin Jones

Content Strategist

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Published on September 21, 2018

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

“Can I look like you in 3 months?”

The teenager stared at me, waiting eagerly for a response. It’s a normal day as a certified fitness coach and yet again, I had to grab some flying feet and put them down on the ground of reality again.

“If I would be able to reach this body in 3 months, you think it would’ve taken me 5 years?” I responded smilingly.

In the same moment I tapped the teenager on the shoulder and we both went to the training floor together. Fast forward to today, he eventually reached his dream body. But it took him a little bit longer than 3 months.

In this article, I want to give you a broad overview and answer to the commonly asked question: how long does it take to build muscle and increase fat loss?

Your biggest enemy for building muscle and fat loss

I remember when I joined my first gym years back. After two weeks of continuous training, I saw absolutely no difference in the mirror.

I googled “2 weeks body transformation” and was frustrated by seeing all these pictures by savvy marketers.

We human beings have evolved to seek instant gratification. We can’t wait for things to happen tomorrow. We want them today or even better, yesterday.

It doesn’t matter if we talk about business or our fitness results. If we truly want to make a long-lasting change, we have to delay our innate need to crave gratification instantly and focus on the big picture.

In the book called Grit by Angela Duckworth, a predictor for future success in children was the so called ‘Marshmallow Test’.

The Marshmallow Test works this way. Children are basically given two options:

  1. Eat the marshmallow in front of them right now.
  2. Wait 10 minutes without eating the first marshmallow and get a second marshmallow to eat on top.

This is an insane test of willpower and the ability to delay gratification for an even bigger payoff, as a 10-year old school child. If the child already mastered that crucial skill at such a young age, it was a strong predictor for future success.

We all have to learn how to delay gratification better. Most people overestimate what they can do in one month, but totally underestimate what they can do in 10 years.

What you really need to build muscle fast

Your ground zero

It all matters on which point we start off. Because the reality is:

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Everyone has to start somewhere.

A former Olympic athlete will have an easier time building muscles and losing fat than an avid couch potato. There are mainly two reasons for this:

  • The pre-selected genetic blueprint of the athlete.
  • Work ethic of a professional.

While countless of variables play a role in influencing your success in the gym, it all can be traced back to those crucial points. And the saying still holds merit:

Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard. — Tim Notke

A mentor of mine told me years ago that you can succeed in life if you just don’t give up.

You can have average skills, average genetics and average work ethic. As long as you keep improving on your craft, you will succeed.

Not immediately – but definitely and finally.

Setting the right expectations

I’m great at setting unrealistic goals and having the wrong expectations. I wanted to have 100,000 subscribers on my Youtube Channel and at the end of my first year when I started, back in 2015, I ended up with 30.

This is an embarrassing story, but I hope it gets one point across:

Your goals need to be realistic if you can’t deal with the setbacks of not reaching them.

Ending up with 30 subscribers even after pulling frequent all-nighters to get this endeavor rolling was soul-crushing. I contemplated throwing in the towel.

With the right support from my network and discipline, I managed to keep going. The channel has now grown 100-fold in those 3 years.

To find out what is realistic, consider the next timeline.

The muscle growth timeline

Here’s what results you can expect if your main goal is building lean tissue mass. Warning: Genuine muscle growth without performance enhancing drugs takes a long time.

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Of course these time periods can vary individually depending on your genetic blueprint and work-ethic. You might see results sooner, or maybe even later.

The time frame is set to training 2-3 times per week (continuously!).

Pro tip: Ask a friend or hire a coach to boost your progress tremendously.

This is what happens when you decide to join a gym, out of my experience training hundreds of clients:

Month 1-3

Eat – Sleep – Gym – Repeat.

Your motivation is at your peak at this point. You will tell your friends and family about your new workout regime. You will notice slight differences in your appearance, which are mainly nonexistent.

You will experience immense strength gains on your training because your body finally realizes how to use its muscles properly.

Month 3-6

This is the time period where most people break. You will be going to the gym consistently, yet the results won’t come just now. It’s the big dip in the whole process.

Your goal in this phase is to build a habit around your gym visits. You will most likely discontinue to have the all-in mentality as in the first 3 months. You will seek sustainability. Breaking news: It will still be hard.

But in the end it’s all worth it. Trust me.

Month 6-12

“I’ve seen a new vein in my arm!”

The guy came up to me excited. This is the time where the normal person starts to see considerable results in his training.

An old friend will talk to him and see a difference in his body shape. Suddenly, his old t-shirt gets too thin. The frequent gym-goer feels amazing.

Month 12- 24

Fitness is a trojan horse. While you might think frequent training will only change your body shape, your character will be impacted too.

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Your friends and family will notice. You’re more confident, assertive and more happy with your self-image. You feel confident and sure in your abilities because you have achieved what you set out to do.

Breaking news:

You will still not be satisfied. And that’s a good thing. But don’t forget to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

They haven’t come easy.

Month 24+

“That’s what works for me!”

If you’ve been going frequently and consistently (twice every week for 2 years), you can pat yourself on the shoulders.

If you’ve done most things correctly and with a certified coach, you will reach the goal shape at this point. But this is also the point where it can get frustrating.

Further results will come painstakingly slow at this stage. You increasingly have to work on your weaknesses and constantly alter your training to see further results. Be it applying different repetitions, intensity, workout duration, speed or machines.

A lot of people will not see results after this stage because the benefits are not worth the work for them. We have to realize that what got us here, will not get us to the next level.

The fat loss timeline

If you’re trying to lose fat, I have 2 pieces of news for you:

  1. It will come faster. Fat loss has a shorter timeline.
  2. It will be exactly as hard as building muscles, if not harder.

Here’s what you can expect if you’re starting to lose weight. Here again: Proper guidance can speed up the process.

Month 1

“I’ve lost 10kg in the first week!”

Your results will come fast. Too fast.

You will feel exhausted. Most of your weight that you lose will be water. This is the big dip in the whole weight loss process.

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The shocking news: Most people stop their diet in the first month.

Month 2-3

You will reconsider your dieting strategy and opt for more sustainability. You will reintroduce “bad foods” in your diet that you’ve most likely blocked out in the first two weeks or month.

Because balance (and not quitting your diet) is more important to you at this stage than seeing rapid weight loss. Your life quality will increase at this stage.

Month 6-12

At this time frame, you have probably lost more than 10kg. The majority of the people looking to lose weight will be satisfied with their results and shocked by how much of a difference it makes in their appearance.

You will feel more confident, more energized and more self-assured. You would’ve never guessed that you could make it, that you could finally lose your weight – yet you did!

And everyone will notice. “What happened to you?!” – your friends will ask you jealously. Old crushes of you will suddenly initiate contact again just to know what you’re “up to this weekend”.

The fat loss after this stage will come slowly if you haven’t been obese to start with. The goal at this stage is to have created a rock-solid habit out of your gym and eating patterns.

Then you don’t have to worry about the Yo-Yo effect.

Conclusion

“You changed my life!”

The same teenager took me aside at a Monday evening. He had his first date the weekend prior. Apparently it went well.

In the whole time frame we worked together, he built up more than 10 kilograms of muscles. It took him more than 2 years. Yet I’m sure if you’d ask him today, he would tell you that it was all worth it.

Focus on the things that you can control. Losing fat or building muscles might be an overwhelming task to start out with. We have to delay our innate need for instant gratification and focus on the things that we can control.

Changing our genetic blueprint or the responses our muscles have to the training stimulus is not in our hands. But training at least 2 times per week, eating the right foods and setting the right goals and expectations is.

Featured photo credit: Arthur Edelman via unsplash.com

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