How many times have you walked into the gym and jumped straight on the treadmill, set it to some unknown setting and just started running. Well first of all let me say that would be better than sitting in the sauna room. If you are trying to break a sweat you are better off doing so by working hard. Trust me! No fitness model has ever obtained their physique from sitting in some hot stuffy room for hours on end. Get off your butt, start moving your body, and raise your heart rate. If your goal is to improve cardiovascular fitness and or to shed a few pounds then you should be aiming for a target heart rate. It does not make any sense to waste time in the gym. If you have actually mustered up the energy and motivation to put in the work, then you should maximize your time. Don’t fall victim to unknown equipment settings or thoughtless workouts. You should know your target heart rate.
How do I find my target heart rate you ask?
To do this, start off by taking your Resting Heart rate (rhr). You can locate your pulse at the carotid artery (neck) or at the radial artery (wrist). The best time to take your rhr is when you first wake up in the morning. Find your pulse and record the number of beats for 15 seconds. Multiply that number by four to obtain your rhr.
Example: You take your pulse and record 18 beats in 15 seconds
18 x 4 = 72 beats per minute
Your Resting Heart Rate (rhr) = 72
Now you need to find your Maximum Heart Rate (mhr). The old way of calculating mhr was to take the number 220 and minus your age. The Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise uses the following formula as a more accurate way to determine mhr.
206.9 – (.67 x age ) = mhr
Here is an example for someone who is 30.
206.9 – (.67 x 30) *Hint: You need to multiply the numbers in the parenthesis first
206.9 – 20.1 = 186.8
Maximum Heart Rate for a 30 year old = 186
Now that you know your resting heart rate (rhr) and maximum heart rate (mhr) you can use Karvonen’s Formula to calculate your target heart rate. Begin by subtracting your mhr from your rhr.
mhr - rhr = (record this number)
Now you need to take this recorded number to find the low and high ends of your target heart rate zone.
(recorded number) x .70 = Low
(recorded number) x .80 = High
You need to then add your rhr back to the Low and High number to get your Target Heart Rate zone.
Let’s use the 30 year old from above as an example. Let’s also assume they have an rhr of 65.
186 (mhr) – 65 (rhr) = 121
121 x .70 = 84.7 (Low)
121 x .80 = 96.8 (High)
84.7 (Low) + 65 (rhr) = 149
96.8 (High) + 65 (rhr) = 161
The target heart rate zone for a 30 year old with a resting heart rate of 65 would be between 149 and 161 beats per minute.
The values used in this formula are for vigorous exercise. This is a great range for cardiovascular fitness and weight loss.
Arm yourself with the right tools. Next time you hit the gym or go on a run, know your target heart rate zone and keep your pulse up in that range for maximum results
It is recommended that you first consult your physician before engaging in physical activity and attempting to train in this zone. Also, many medications can lower your maximum heart rate which in turn would lower your zone.
Target Heart Rates Target Fat!