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Training by HeartBy: ,
The holiday season was over months ago, yet you cant seem to shed the extra pounds you put on. Your want to be leaner but you don’t have time to ride, run, or step for an hour everyday. Guess what? You don’t have to! Stop wasting time exercising in the “fat burning zone.” The old 60 percent of your max-heart-rate to-lose-the-fat days are gone. Kaput. Adios. Get ready to step it up and strap it on. Your new program is here –heart-rate monitoring.
THE MYTH IS SHATTERING
In the past, trainers had their clients exercise at a low intensity in order to burn more fat. This is great for beginners, or clients with limitations. But if you have been training for over a year and your weight wont budge, read on.
Granted, it’s true that low-intensity aerobic exercise causes your body to use fat as its primary fuel source. But guess what? When you sit on your butt and flip through the cable stations you are burning fat too. And you know you aren’t getting thinner watching reruns of Seinfeld. What you need to do is pick up the intensity of your exercises and watch the fat melt away.
To determine caloric expenditure, total oxygen uptake must be determined. The total amount of oxygen consumed is the product of the intensity and duration of the exercise. Unfortunately, your don’t have the equipment, time or interest to measure such things so we will use the heart-rate method as another good indicator of how hard you’re working. Increases in heart rate are a reflection of increases in oxygen consumption. As exercise intensity increases, your working muscles need more oxygen to function so your heart beats faster to get it to the working tissues. (Note: Bodyweight also influences caloric expenditure. The heavier the individual, the more oxygen used, the more calories burned. It is all relative.)
DO THE MATH
Take the number 220 and subtract your age. The remaining number is your maximal heart rate (MHR).
For example: 220-30=190 beats per minute (your MHR).
Your old program had you exercise at 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. (190x.60=114 beats per minute)
Your goal was to train slowly enough to suck the fat out of your fat stores. It worked initially, but then you hit a plateau. Here’s why that method of fat loss is both good and bad. Say you exercise for one hour and burn 300 calories. Approximately 80 percent of these calories came from fat because you exercised at a low intensity in the “fat-burning zone.” (300x.80=240 calories)
Your have therefore burned 240 calories of fat and 60 calories of carbohydrates. Meanwhile you’ve lost negligible protein. That’s good because the majority of your energy came from fat. But it’s also bad. You could have burned more calories and used more fat.
If you pick up the intensity during the same exercise, you may burn 500 calories an hour. You only get 60 percent of your calories from fat because of the increase in intensity. But you don’t care. Here’s why: (500x.60=300 calories from fat)
You’ve burned 300 fat calories and 200 calories from carbohydrates. Your total caloric usage just sky-rocketed and you used more fat calories. Not only that, because it takes longer to recover from high-intensity exercise, you’ll keep burning more calories even after you have finished your workout.
WHERE TO FIND YOUR HEART RATE
If you do not own a heart-rate monitor, follow these simple steps:
To find your radial pulse, place the index and middle fingers of your right hand on the underside of your left wrist about an inch below the thumb. Count the beats.
To find your carotid pulse, place the index and middle fingers on your Adam’s apple and slide your fingers about an inch left or right. Don’t press too hard or you may get a false reading.
The longer you count the beats (up to 60 seconds), the more accurate the count will be. However, counting to 30 or even 20 is not always practical. A minimum of 10 seconds should be used. Take the number of beats in 10 seconds and multiply by six to give you an estimate of your heart rate.
THE PROGRAM – SIX STEPS TO A SIX PACK
Step 1 – Elevate your heart rate to 60 percent of your max and maintain it for 5 minutes. This will prepare your body for intense exercise. Stop what you are doping to spend a few minutes stretching. Hop back on the machine and get ready to get fit and lose fat.
Step 2 – Elevate your heart rate to 85 percent of your max and maintain this rate for 30 seconds. It shouldn’t take long to reach this level by adding resistance to the stationary bike, elliptical machine, or rowing machine. Increase the speed on the stair stepper and Stepmill or add elevation to the treadmill.
Step 3 – Next, decrease the speed, elevation or resistance and bring your heart rate down to 60 percent of max. Maintain it for 30 seconds. It may take 5 minutes to return your heart rate to 60 percent, but that is okay. The fitter you are, the faster you will recover. And the fitter you are, the more intense a workload you can handle, which means you’ll burn more calories. This system of training has its won built in intensity control.
Step 4 – Continue interval training for 35 minutes. As you progress, you’ll find that you are doing more intervals per session. Congratulations!
Step 5 – Don’t forget to cool down for 5 minutes. This period helps your body clear away metabolic-waste products accumulated during your intense training. Stretch for a few minutes as well. Your next workout will be better.
Step 6 – Train like this four times a week for 45 minutes and in eight weeks you wont believe the results. When you get to the point where it takes a minute or less to recover from your 85 percent exercise bout, it’s time to increase the length of your interval to 45 seconds.
March/April 1999 Oxygen