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Reload this Page Determining Target Heart Rate w/ Heart Rate Reserve
Cardio, Losing Fat & Cutting Down Cardiovascular exercise, high intensity interval training, and exercise routines to burn excess fat. Helpful diet tips for looking your leanest.

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Determining Target Heart Rate w/ Heart Rate Reserve
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Post Determining Target Heart Rate w/ Heart Rate Reserve - 02-01-2008, 07:51 PM

PART 1: Calculating THR
There are two methods to determine one's Target Heart Rate (THR):

(220 - age) x Int% = THR

2) HEART RATE RESERVE (HRR) -- Karvonan Formula
This method includes your Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
220 - Age - RHR x Int% + RHR = THR

Heart Rate Reserve is the better method to use.

PART 2: Weight Loss and Cardio

If your goal is weight loss, what's the next step?

Well, here's a quick overview of how weight loss works:

Weight loss is, ultimately, the result of burning more calories than you take in. There. Said it. That's all. Case closed.

However, a lot of folks on this forum talks about how they don't want to do too much cardio because they "don't want to lose that hard-earned muscle." <--IF YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAVE SAID THIS, THIS NEXT PART IS FOR YOU!!!

Your body is always breaking down some combination of sugar and fat for energy (except at extremely high intensities where it's all sugar). Your body will break down protein IN THE ABSENCE OF SUGAR. How do we protect all that hard-earned muscle? LOW INTENSITY, LONG DURATION exercise.

In response to doing work that requires endurance, your body will switch from burning primarily carbs to burning primarily fats through a process called Beta Oxidation. Keeping it simple, this change of gears happens sometime after the first 15 - 25 minutes of cardio. Research has shown that in most cases, the optimal intensity for this fat-burning system is at 70% of Heart Rate Reserve.

However, there is a little more to it than that.

PART 3: Determining Intensity (Int%)

So, what number do you apply for Intensity?

As I said, 70% HRR is kind of the "magic number." Those of you that read my AT Thread know that there is a little more to it than that.

However, in training, your goal should be to eventually be able to work at 70% HRR for a duration of an hour. For some of us, we can do this immediate; for others, this will take time. This is where other intensities come in.


What does this mean? It means that even if you can't handle 70% intensity, all the work you do below this point is still burning fat!!!

Obviously, the lower intensities burn less calories, which is another reason why developing the ability to perform at 70% HRR needs to be a goal.

So, what about these "other intensities"? I'm glad you asked.

One number: 55%. This should be the minimum intensity you work at. So, two formulas:

220 - age - RHR x 70% + RHR = GOAL INTENSITY

200 - age - RHR x 55% + RHR = MINIMUM INTENSITY

PART 4: Cardiovascular Program Design

Before we go any further, remember this: ALWAYS WARM UP! Doesn't matter if you're doing cardio or lifting, always warm up with 5 - 10 minutes of cardio. Just walk on the treadmill or move on the bike or something. This is important for increasing core temperature, get blood and nutrients to working muscles, and prepare your body for the work to come.

That said...

There are two types of training for us to focus on here (these are, obviously, not the only methods available; however, let's focus on these for now): LONG SLOW DISTANCE and INTERVAL TRAINING


Yes, LSD! Bad joke, I know...

Anyway, this is that long duration, low intensity stuff I preach about.
    • Improved VO2
    • Increased number of mitochondria and capillaries
    • Glycogen Sparing (doesn't use carbs; therefore doesn't break down muscle tissue either)
    • Can develop body's ability to buffer lactic acid and use it as a fuel
    • Can lead to over-training quicker than other methods (this is why it is important to recalculate your THR every 4 - 6 weeks)
The ultimate goal with LSD Training is to go for long periods of time at 70% HRR. In the beginning for some people, this might not be possible. In that case, take breaks by continuing on at 55% HRR.

Example 1:

Warm Up: 5 - 10 Minutes, very low intensity.
No Target Heart Rate here. Just move.
Workout: 5 minutes @ 55% HRR
5 minutes @ 70% HRR
10 min @ 55% HRR
5 min @ 70% HRR
10 min @ 55% HRR
5 min @ 70% HRR
5 min @ 55% HRR
Cool Down: 5 minutes, very low intenisty

Example 2:

Warm Up: 5 - 10 Minutes, very low intensity
Workout: 20 minutes @ 70% HRR
5 minutes @ 55% HRR
20 minutes @ 70% HRR
5 minutes @ 55% HRR
Cool Down: 5 minutes, very low intensity

You don't have to run unless you want to. On a treadmill, use a combination of Incline as well as Speed. There will be a little burning in the front of your shin as your Tibialis Anterior develops endurance at walking uphill.

Remember, the examples above are just that: examples. Without having any numbers to work with, if you can talk but you can't sing, that is as intense as you need to work.

HIIT, anybody? Here are those sprint intervals that so many of us love to do (or really hate, but do anyway).

Like we have talked about before, weight loss really comes down to burning more calories than you take in. Fat, carbs, protein... it doesn't matter. You will lose weight if you are in a calorie deficit.

3500 Calories = 1 Pound of Fat. A calorie deficit (between diet and exercise) of 500 calories a day will result in a pound of fat lost each week.

Also, High Intensity Interval Training has been proven to boost your metabolism for up to two hours after working out! BONUS!
    • Increased Lactate Threshold
      • for all training intents and purposes, this is the same thing as Anaerobic Threshold.
    • Increased VO2 MAX
    • Stronger Heart
    • Improved fuel utilization
    • Higher Intensity (not for beginners)
    • Limit to 2 - 3 times per week (more than that will lead easily to overtraining)
Increase and decrease intenisty at set intervals.

Warm up: 10 minutes, very low intensity
Workout: 7 intervals: (21 minutes)
Sprint: 1 minute @ 85% HRR
Jog/Walk: 2 minutes @ 55-70% HRR
Cooldown: 5 minutes, very low intensity

CONCLUSION: Train Smarter, Not Harder

Alot of info here, I know! But in the end what matters is that too many people are out there killing themselves for no reason. Bodybuilders don't cut 'til weeks before a show; people in a rush jump on a treadmill, crank the speed, and go as hard as they can; we've all seen people blurring back and forth on an eliptical as if they intend to snap its arms off. What did all this cardio equipment do to us that we want to kill every one of them that we step on?

Keep it simple. 3+ times a week, do some LSD training. Just once (twice if you really really really want to, but it won't be necessary, especially if your time in the weight room is spent working hard) do some Interval Training.

I promise you'll see results. Results that will last. If you're in a rush, fine, take your weight loss pills and sprint til you puke. Tear that weight off as you always have before. OR, TRAIN SMARTER, LET THAT WEIGHT COME OFF IN SPURTS OF 1 - 2 POUNDS PER WEEK, AND FOCUS YOUR SPARED ENERGY IN THE WEIGHT ROOM.

Train the way I suggested for 6 weeks. If nothing else, you'll be healthier, but more than likely you will have dropped that weight. Remember, diet is still as important as it has ever been, but this type of cardio training does work. I've seen it work, on myself and my clients.

I will put my membership to this board on the line. If, after 6 weeks of smart training, you have not seen weight loss in the range of 4 - 12 pounds, I will sincerely bow my head in defeat, and log out never to return again. That's how much I believe in this.


Nothing great was ever achieved by being realistic. Most people get scared when setting goals, and ask only for what they think they can get, not what they really WANT. This is a mistake because puny, "realistic" goals are NOT motivating, WANTS are motivating.

I got the shakes that'll make ya quake
I got the fries'll cross ya eyes
I got the burgers....
Well, man, I just got burgers!
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Determining Target Heart Rate w/ Heart Rate Reserve
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Default Determining Target Heart Rate w/ Heart Rate Reserve - 12-07-2010, 04:21 AM

Right sod it Im in. Will weigh mesel on Monday morning.

At the mo guessdmate weight is 17 1/2 st.

Target weight is 15.1/2 st.

Height same as Withers, one or tother

How long do we get?
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Default 12-08-2010, 08:37 AM


The mind and the body are interrelated: what you do to one necessarily effects the other. There must be a balance between the two. If your body is strong but your mind is weak, you are a powerful instrument with no direction; such an instrument rarely produces good. If your mind is strong but your body is weak, then you may be filled with purpose and good intentions but have no strength necessary to act on your impulses. You must strengthen your mind to control your body; and strengthen your body so you can always follow the good directions of your mind.
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