For Valentine’s – Matters of the heart: Knowing your Zone!

Being an active individual usually involves some sort of cardiovascular workout. In order to have a healthier heart to help us be more active and healthy, we have to give it a good workout too!

And since it’s Valentine’s Day – today is ALL about a focus on the HEART – literally!

Do you know how to check your heart rate? 
Or use the heart rate monitor on a machine or that attaches to you?

Most cardio machines in the gym now have heart rate monitors built in AND if you have your own that attaches around your chest, you can monitor your heart rate right on the screen display!

You can also use the ‘old school’ method and find your radial pulse on your forearm/wrist area or your carotid pulse on your neck and count for a minute how many beats you pick up to find your resting heart rate. Men and Women tend to average around 70 beats per minute depending upon age. The formula below would help you determine your optimum training zone, however.


Find your maximum heart rate: 220-age

For example, I’m 33 and 220-33 = 187, so my maximum heart rate is 187 (HRmax).

Then, work within the appropriate zone for the intensity you should be working at
Zone 1: 65-75% (Beginning level or low intensity cardio activity)
Zone 2: 76-85% (steady state cardio activity)
Zone 3: 86-95% (high intensity cardio activity)

Multiply your HRmax times your intensity. For example, since I’m 33, my HRmax is 187, my Zone 2 range would be from 142-158 (a group fitness class is a great way to stay in that zone for me)

WHY is this all so important?

You want to not only focus on physical results, but there’s a reason why it’s called CARDIOvascular fitness – to workout the heart! So, if you start out little by little and progress to a range that fits your fitness level, you won’t overexert yourself or cause harm in that way.

Interval training can be a great way to increase performance once a level has been maintained, in a healthy manner, for at least 4 weeks. For example, if you’re new to fitness and starting your journey  you should be within Zone 1 for cardio. After you can hold that Zone and heart rate steadily for 30 minutes 3-5 times a week for about 4 weeks, you can safely progress to the next level of cardio training!

In a whole other post I’ll talk about why Max Interval Training can not only be efficient but effective!

What are some fun ways you change up cardio to work within your zone?

HI! I'M KAT - I am a pug-mom, wife, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, & Fitness Coach focusing on living the fit life while tackling work, coaching others - doing it all! My blog is to hold me accountable for all the goals I plan on accomplishing and also a way for me to try to inspire others through my own experiences - if I can do it ANYONE can! Fitness is a huge part of my life as well as travel and seeing all that life has to be lived! PAY IT FORWARD!

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  • Reply
    February 14, 2014, 12:05 pm

    This is such a great how-to! It’s really important info to have (and use!) Have a great weekend, Kat!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2014, 12:12 pm

    Work those hearts! 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2014, 12:16 pm

    get to DANCIN!!!!
    on the kitchen.
    while I sing off key 🙂

  • Reply
    February 14, 2014, 12:25 pm

    Great informative post Kat. I need to pay attention to this more!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2014, 1:46 pm

    Love this post! It’s definitely important to be heart healthy! I love to change it up with simple things in my everyday life. Like playing chase with my boys and jumping on the trampoline with them! I try to teach them that exercise can be fun!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2014, 3:48 pm

    Excellent info. Stuff many of us think we know, but really don’t. I’ve been hitting up the HIIT workouts lately and loving them!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2014, 4:18 pm

    You’re so right, a healthy heart is very important! I use my heart rate monitor religiously when I run, it’s actually what I use for my interval training. I have a specific program that has a great heart rate scale, so I always judge my speed and effort on my heart rate. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2014, 4:25 pm

    If you have access to a track, here’s a workout to find your Max HR (more accurate than old 220-age):
    Warmup 15 MIN
    400m Moderate (5k) pace
    400m jog
    400m easy w 4 10-20 sec sprint bursts
    200m jog
    200m = 100m build to MAX SPRINT then 100m MAX SPRINT

    Check your HR now. You can repeat the last step after a 400m easy jog until you think you’ve maxed out. 400m=One Lap of an outdoor track.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2014, 4:56 pm

    Really great info. Since getting a HRM, I’ve realized how important it is to know just how hard my body is (or isn’t) working. Great post and have a great weekend!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2014, 9:45 pm

    Great info on HRM. We often work zones in group cycling class. Love it.

  • Reply
    February 15, 2014, 11:54 am

    My gym just installed a new heart-rate training system, so I wear my heart rate monitor for our indoor cycling workouts. Training with that data is incredibly helpful. Like you wrote, you know exactly which zone you’re in, how hard you’re working, etc. Hope you and G had a great day! 🙂

  • Reply
    February 15, 2014, 5:53 pm

    Great info Kat. I need to wear my HRmonitor more often.

  • Reply
    February 15, 2014, 7:56 pm

    Such a great post for Valentines. Matters of the heart rate zone. =) I like.
    Fartleks are pretty much my personal choice for interval training, that and cycling class.

  • Reply
    February 15, 2014, 10:16 pm

    I am all about the heart rate training, so I obviously LOVE this!

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