Intensity Zones

Hi Everyone,

A lot of people are wondering how to ensure they’re working out at the correct intensity. Many of us have heard about training zones but don’t really understand the length of time they need to be in each zone or why it matters to their workout. Training Zones are Heart Rate Zones. In simple terms your heart rates should be in the correct zone to get cardiovascular results of the workout.

Heart Rate Intensity

I use the app Zones for my Apple Watch to see where my heart rate is at any time in the workout. My Fitbit also tracks heart rates. Sometimes people get confused by the zone named Fat Burn in their apps and think they want to stay in this light heart rate zone. You will see tons of results in this zone if you stay there for a long time (minimum of 60 minutes, but for most of us will need closer to 120 min to get results). People will sometimes go the other way and think the need to always be in the red zone to get results. The truth is a mix workouts in all the heart rate zones will be most effective.

1: Recovery-Light yoga or stretching session. This is great for your mind and body but doesn’t count as a cardiovascular or a strength workout. It’s in the name, we all need to ensure we’re recovering between intense physical sessions.

2: Endurance-Long slow cardio sessions such as walking or biking on a flat terrain. This kind a workout needs to be over 60 minutes in this heart rate zone to see results.

3: Aerobic-This is the intensity most of us should be working out in for at least 150 min a week.

4: Threshold-This is the push zone (more on this zone in the workouts below). This is where you need to push yourself to in order to get stronger, fitter, faster. Ideally the bulk of your workouts are spent in the Aerobic and Threshold zones.

5: Maximum: It’s in the name. Most of us shouldn’t spend too much time in this heart rate zone unless we are competitive athletes. Your body will not enjoy sending time in this zone, you may feel nauseous or out of balance. However; this can be a great zone to approach for a brief moment in a HIIT workout.

Here are a couple of sample workouts for you try out Heart Rate Zone training

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Tabata

This is easiest to execute on a bike. Repeat 4-6 of the 5 minute session.

20 sec on (sprint) 10 sec off (slow) for 4 min with 1 minute recovery (total 5 minute session). I find it easiest to listen to a Tabata styled song for these workouts, that way the timing is built into the songs.

Push I like this workout protocol as it builds endurance. Most of us start out strong and find our intensity fading in the last quarter of a workout. This sets us up to go stronger for longer. You can use any form of cardio workout for this protocol. The goal is to go faster as you go longer. Ideal for any new cardiovascular form of exercise.

10 min: Endurance Heart Rate

8 min: Aerobic Heart Rate

5 min: Threshold Heart Rate

2 min: Maximum

I hope you found this information helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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