weat and heavy breathing(or lack of it) are a sign of effort, but how hard you’re working out is objectively gauged by measuring your heart’s beats per minute (BPM).
BPM is the basic unit of measurement for heart-rate training,where you keep your heart rate within a certain range or zone of BPM during your workout. This zone is usually based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate.
By keeping your heart rate in certain recommended zones, you’re supposedly exerting enough effort to optimise your workout’s effectiveness. The recommended zones can be personalised to take into account not just age, gender and fitness level, but also environmental conditions and your current energy levels.
Get started! First, know your max heart rate. There are many ways to calculate this, but those that rely on age and gender alone are of limited use because they rely on averages. Some of us are built for endurance(lower max heart rate), and others, for speed (higher).
One way of calculating your max heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. If you’re 30, this would be 220-30=190 bpm. From here, you calculate your target heart rate for your workout by deducting your resting heart rate from your max heart rate. Your target heart rate is a percentage of this figure, e.g. 60%, as recommended by your trainer depending on your workout goals. Complicated? No fear, our Certified Fitness Coaches are there to help.
After doing #5, you can then invest in a good heart-rate monitor for training.
Your resting heart rate is a great measure of how much fitter you’re becoming, whether you’re on an aerobic or muscle-building workout plan. A lower heart rate generally means your are fitter than if it is high. You might be over training (or have had too much caffeine).Bear in mind that it going below 60 BPM is usually where professional athletes are, but the point is to observe whether your own trends upwards or downwards as you train.
Collecting data is important, but don’t be discouraged or alarmed by it all, you aren’t a human fitness algorithm. Learn more by interpreting the results as you train, but always remember that your trainers are the best people to talk to if you are considering heart-training in the gym.