To workout effectively and efficiently, knowing your optimum training zones can be a great way to ensure you're focusing on the right type of training - be that cardio or toning.
Exercise intensity can be determined by several different methods; a popular one being training at different percentages of your maximum heart rate (MHR).
During exercise, this is the highest heart rate you can achieve. Elites athletes often use very high intensity training and specific treadmill protocols in order to determine their MHR. However, there is a simple and quick formula which enables you to determine your approximate MHR:
To find out your working heart rate (WHR), you subtract your resting heart rate (RHR) from your calculated MHR. Just to clarify, a resting heart rate is one when you are completely relaxed for example when you have first woken up in the morning.
Then for your workouts, use the following training zones:
A 30-year- old man who has a RHR of 60 and is planning an easy workout will therefore have a MHR of 190. His WHR can be calculated by subtracting 60 from 190 (190 – 60 = 130). His easy zone is 60-75% of 130 (+ 60) = 78 (+60) to 97.5 (+60) = 138 to 157.5. Due to this, his upper limit should be either 157 or 158 beats per minute whilst his lower limit should be 138.
Your cardiovascular activity can be paced using the Borg technique as an alternative to using training zones based on percentages of MHR.
Assuming that you are not suffering from an injury or illness, and you have experienced a difficulty in your ability to sustain a cardiovascular workout, it is likely that the problem is due to a misjudgement of intensity and pace which is a common problem. This can easily be caused by starting your exercise too quickly and then realising you are unable to maintain this pace as you continue. Alternatively, you could feel as though you have more to give at the end of your workout, suggesting that you may have been able to have trained at a higher intensity which once again presents the problem of pacing.
Learning how to evaluate your training intensity and mirroring this during your session is the solution to these problems and will enable you to achieve maximum training benefits as well as the ability to enjoy your workout to a higher degree.
It is important to begin your workout with a proper warm-up which should be at a slower pace than your main workout; for example, if you going for a run, your warm-up should gradually bridge the gap from being sedentary to active; this is vital because it allows your body to prepare for the main body of the session and therefore enables you to function more effectively.
Not warming up poses the threat of injury as you go into oxygen debt too quickly which result in the problems discussed in the previous paragraph.
The Borg scale is an efficient way of checking that you are training at the right pace to how you feel. It measures your effort levels ie how hard you are training and refers to your rate of perceived exertion (RPE). The scale ranges from 6 to 20, in which six is deemed to be putting in no effort at all whilst 20 is working at your upmost rate.
Rating – intensity of session
In comparison to other methods of training intensity and pace judgements, the Borg technique includes internal and external factors.
Therefore, the next time a heart rate monitor or sport watch does not appear to reflect how you feel during your workout, use the Borg scale to assess and alter your intensity level. As a result, this will allow you to enjoy the session more as you achieve the maximum benefits whilst also reducing the risk of excessive fatigue or injury caused from overtraining due to a lack of efficiency.