Heart Rate Training Program

Applying the theory to achieve greater gains

By Paul "Batman" O'Brien 

B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Cert Clin. IMed., Dip. Adv. OBB, Dip. CHM, Pn1, PN-SSR, PN-NCA, M.AFPA., M.C.Th.A.

Heart Rate Training is all about understanding how to apply the theory to your training. If you’ve been reading the other articles here, you will know all about Heart Rate Monitor Training and Heart Rate Zones.So the how do we put it all together?

How to use this information

It seems self evident that if you want to lose weight you should stay between 60%-70% of you max heart rate. It’s here that you burn the most amounts of fat, 85%, and many trainers recommend just that, including me.

However during the higher intensity zones you burn more calories and you continue to burn more calories after exercise! That’s what’s really important – not what you do during the actual training but what your body does after in response. Just like when lifting weights, your muscles grow after the workout, when you’re asleep, you will lose the most weight and burn most calories after your workout! Am I recommending that everyone do high intensity heart rate training? Yes and no. Not initially. Long and slow is the key to weight loss. The two articles below will guide you in that respect.

If you are interested in Weight Loss click here! 

If interested in advanced Weight Loss (primarily getting down to as low as 4% Body fat) and cardio vascular training for athletes –

click here! Training Types

There are many different ways of doing cardio vascular exercise using Heart Rate Training. You can walk, run, cycle, use a treadmill, elliptical trainer, do an aerobics class, etc. You can also vary the intensity of your workouts, changing between Heart Rate Training Zones. There are three major types of training; Continuous, Interval and Combination.

Continuous Training

Continuous Training is the most popular and most common form of training seen today. It is the most effective for long term weight loss. It involves maintain a heart rate of approx 50% - 70%. Done on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and you are on to a winner with shedding those excess pounds. Combination Training

Combination Training is similar to Continuous, but with some added variation. In this style you maintain your Heart Rate as above but use various pieces of equipment. For instance you can do 10 minute on a treadmill, 10 on the bike and finish with 10 minute on an elliptical trainer, thus completing a 30 minute circuit. You don’t take breaks in between so the intensity is maintained.

Interval Training

Interval Training is my preferred method of training for advanced athletes. I find it produces quicker and longer lasting results, but only in those of already excellent physical conditon. An interval training session may only last 20 minutes.

Interval training involves varying your heart rate intensity throughout the workout. You may begin on 50%-60%, stay at that for two minutes, move on to 60%-70% effort, maintain for two minutes, progress to 70%-80% for two minutes then finally 80%-90% for two minutes, and repeat, finishing with a 2 minute cool down. This can be quite intense but it’s very effective.

You can make this even more interesting by varying the type of exercise, starting on a treadmill, then elliptical, then bike, back to treadmill etc. Lots of fun and it produces great results!

Training frequency

You should be engaging in a Cardio workout at least 3 times a week for a minimum of 20 – 60 Minutes. Your intensity should, for the most part, be within Zones 1-4, that is 50% - 90%. You can monitor your heart rate by palpating (feeling for a pulse) which can be awkward during training, or invest in a Heart Rate Monitor. These are simple watch like pieces of equipment which you can use to monitor yourself. Many come with a range of other useful features such as calorie counters, % fat burn, speed, time distance etc.

Warm up & Cool Down

Before every workout you should do a thorough warm up. This is important for several reasons, increasing viscosity, protecting the joints, prevention of injury and psychological preparation among them. Luckily Heart Rate Training makes this quite easy. All you have to do for a good warm up is 5-10 minutes in Zone 1 50% -60%.

The same applies for a cool down after your workout, again staying in Zone 1 for 5-10 minutes. Cool Down is very important and often neglected. Cool down reduces injury and muscle soreness, returns the body to its normal state, and most importantly, prevents blood pooling, which could lead to death! Always cool down.

Final Words

I wish you all the best in your Heart Rate Training and hope this guide has answered a few questions and possibly raised a few more. Remember that although you have the knowledge it is useless without application. I encourage you to go out and try everything you’ve read about here. Only through actual experience can you determine what is positive and negative for you, what you enjoy and what you don’t and possible most importantly, what gets you the results you want!

If you'd like to get serious with your training then I strongly suggest that you train with me using my online personal training programs. Click Here to learn more.

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