Heart Rate help for cardio! I'm confused!

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Ok not to toot my own horn, But I've been a rockstar for the month of January when it comes to my fitness routine. C25k three days a week and I plan to add two strength training days a week in Feb. Anyway, when I'm doing my running intervals for 1:30 at a time my HR goes as high as 180. I figured out my max HR is 189. Now I work with two doctors and they both told me that my HR was too high and I should only be working at 85% of my max. I thought this was some antique advice. I thought the harder you work the more calories you burn and yay! They say that I am running the risk of developing cardiomyopathy. Have you ever run into this information? By the way I am 251lbs and when I say run I mean a very very slow jog at 4.1mph for 1:30 with some 5.0mph runs for 30 seconds. I have lost 10 pounds in Jan and I now look forward to going to the gym. Please help!! I would hate to stop my progress now.

Replies

  • foxxybrown
    foxxybrown Posts: 838 Member
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    I'd believe the doctors. My brother is a personal trainer and always tells me that you should stay within your fat burning zone for losing weight so your heart rate shouldn't be that high.
  • byHISstrength
    byHISstrength Posts: 984 Member
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    I still get confused too. Hopefully, someone can offer some good advice.
  • lisapooh1
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    I agree with the doctor also. To burn fat is to keep your heart rate at a certain rate that is right for you, not to get it to a higher rate to burn more it doesn't work that way.My fat burning is140 but if I go up to 180 it doesn't mean I burn more, I risk more. Hope this helps.....
  • hpsnickers1
    hpsnickers1 Posts: 2,783 Member
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    Wow. I'm 125.4 and 5'2". According to the general calculations (220 - age) my max HR is 180. There are times when I have hit 190 but only briefly. During my treadmill intervals I will run 5.0 mph and my HR will go over the 163 (85%) but only briefly. I always thought it was ok as long as you're not up there for long.

    And I also thought your fat burning zone and your cardio zone are two different zones. Fat Burning zone is below your cardio zone.

    This article discusses the two:

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/332288/workout_tips_fat_burning_zone_vs_cardio.html

    But I am not a doctor or personal trainer so I don't know exactly - I get most of my info from the internet and you know how wrong that can be. I even used to think you had to be in the Fat burning zone to burn more fat but I have since been corrected by other posters and articles I have read. I have had numerous people in these message threads explain exactly what is in this article quite often.
  • Azdak
    Azdak Posts: 8,281 Member
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    The issue is that "age predicted maximum heart rates" have a wide range of "normal". So, you could very well be at 85% or under--you just have a HRmax that is higher than predicted--perfectly normal.

    Most, if not all, HRmax prediction equations have a standard of error of at least 10bpm. I'm not a math expert, but I seem to remember learning about Bell curves and that says there are a substantial number of people in the "normal" category with max HRs 20+ bpm above the "age predicted" number.

    At this point in your journey, there is no need to push yourself to 100%. Interval work is fine, but it should be mainly to increase your overall conditioning, which means you do not have to go higher than 75%-80% effort (that's EFFORT, not necessarily "heart rate", since we don't really know your true max heart rate).

    75%-80% effort is a focused effort where your concentration and breathing are such that, if you tried to talk to someone, it would be challenged. Not gasping for breath, not all-out-effort-think-I'm-gonna-die---but a good strong effort.

    You also want to make sure that you are balancing harder days with more moderate ones where you keep the total minutes up, but effort at a comfortable (but still aerobic) pace.

    As far as "fat burning zone" --that is a discarded concept. The fuel you burn during exercise has no effect on long-term weight loss.
  • heathersmilez
    heathersmilez Posts: 2,579 Member
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    I keep my heart to 80-85% of my MHR which is about 154 (my resting is 52). Read below for all the details.

    TRAINING ZONES

    Healthy Heart Zone (Warm up) --- 50 - 60% of maximum heart rate: The easiest zone and probably the best zone for people just starting a fitness program. It can also be used as a warm up for more serious walkers. This zone has been shown to help decrease body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. It also decreases the risk of degenerative diseases and has a low risk of injury. 85% of calories burned in this zone are fats!

    Fitness Zone (Fat Burning) --- 60 - 70% of maximum heart rate: This zone provides the same benefits as the healthy heart zone, but is more intense and burns more total calories. The percent of fat calories is still 85%.

    Aerobic Zone (Endurance Training) --- 70 - 80% of maximum heart rate: The aerobic zone will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system AND increase the size and strength of your heart. This is the preferred zone if you are training for an endurance event. More calories are burned with 50% from fat.

    Anaerobic Zone (Performance Training) --- 80 - 90% of maximum heart rate: Benefits of this zone include an improved VO2 maximum (the highest amount of oxygen one can consume during exercise) and thus an improved cardiorespiratory system, and a higher lactate tolerance ability which means your endurance will improve and you'll be able to fight fatigue better. This is a high intensity zone burning more calories, 15 % from fat.

    Red Line (Maximum Effort) --- 90 - 100% of maximum heart rate: Although this zone burns the highest number of calories, it is very intense. Most people can only stay in this zone for short periods. You should only train in this zone if you are in very good shape and have been cleared by a physician to do so.
  • Dreaj79
    Dreaj79 Posts: 212
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    I am only In that HR for a very brief period of time. I start with a 5 min warm up at 3.6mph. Then I alternate between light jog for 1:30 at 4.1mph and walking at 3.6 for 1:30 for 20 min. Then I end with a 5 min cool down. I usually end up with about 350 calories burned and a max HR of 180. Average HR of 158. 85% of my max is 160. When I am jogging, sing along with whatever song is on my iPod to make sure I'm not working too hard. Does that sound bad?
  • Azdak
    Azdak Posts: 8,281 Member
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    I am only In that HR for a very brief period of time. I start with a 5 min warm up at 3.6mph. Then I alternate between light jog for 1:30 at 4.1mph and walking at 3.6 for 1:30 for 20 min. Then I end with a 5 min cool down. I usually end up with about 350 calories burned and a max HR of 180. Average HR of 158. 85% of my max is 160. When I am jogging, sing along with whatever song is on my iPod to make sure I'm not working too hard. Does that sound bad?

    No-- it sounds absolutely fine. That type of interval workout is a good way to boost up your minutes and increase fitness. Based on your descriptions of your effort, you are nowhere near 100% effort. You just have a heart rate that is higher than the age-predicted number, which is a very imprecise figure to begin with.

    Enjoy your workouts.
  • Dreaj79
    Dreaj79 Posts: 212
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    Thanks for all your comments. I feel like I need to research this some more. For now I think I'll hold steady where I am until I can do some more digging.