RPE or Target Heart Rate? What's the truth behind the hype?

  • Kazeai84

    Posts: 10

    Mar 04, 2008 7:44 AM GMT
    Okay here's my dilemma, I'm a rather overweight guy and I just started going back to the gym. I've been trying to figure out which way to go focus on my RPE or my Target Heart Rate? Here's why, when I've been exercising at a RPE of 6 or 7 my heart rate is about 180. I'm 24 so that's out of my target heart rate. When I'm done at a RPE of 7 I feel worn out and like I've had a good work out. Now I just did 30 mins at my target heart rate of 165 to 170 and I felt wonderful afterwards. Not fatigued and could probably do another 30 mins at that rate. So I'm very confused, should I work till fatigue or focus on my Target heart rate?

    PS: what's the skinny on Fat burning versus Calorie burning, which is better?
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    Mar 04, 2008 7:52 AM GMT
    spend more of that effort on the numbers on your diet and less on the cardio and you will be going in the right direction. Of course you could have that down to a "T" and I could look like a right numb nuts ha ha ha

    45 minutes to an hour burns roughly 500 calories if you had spent that time on weights, structured to provide you with cardio you would lose fat not weight.

    Let the diet do the hard fat loss and the gym retain the muscle

    Its all semantics on the machine and going past 30 minutes you will be burning more alternative energy sources not fat to answer your question hence long distance runners are generaly lean not retaining much muscle mass at all
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    Mar 04, 2008 9:54 PM GMT
    I am with bfg1 on this. If you feel a need to focus on numbers apply that toward your diet and not RPE or your Target Heart Rate. The second of those is actually useless unless you actually know your target heart rate. The machines at the gym use an average and typically are not close for any given person. The only way to know your actual target range is test for your max heart rate. Personally I think HRMs are great for certain types of training but not really that useful for your average person.
  • UStriathlete

    Posts: 320

    Mar 06, 2008 6:04 PM GMT
    Go to someone qualified. There's only a few on this site that are qualified. So you are not wasting time.
    just from what you said. i would go with your THR or adjust your RPE, to match it. that's why HR monitors are good, because it lets you have a better idea and "perception" or "perceived" reality of what you are doing.

    the reality is, it takes all three, diet, weights and cardio to lose in a healthy balance. if you have to drop one, it should be weights or cardio. diet is the most important!

    good luck!
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    Mar 06, 2008 10:08 PM GMT
    I diagree US on your drop one scenario. Yuo can get a cardio workout with just weights you cant say that you get a muscle retaining workout from cardio.

    Drop the weights and its good bye weight not just fat
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    Mar 06, 2008 10:20 PM GMT
    but you can safely say that you dont get as good of a cardio workout from JUST lifting weights. Im sure as hell my heart rate doesn't stay at or above 150 constantly while im lifting, if at all

    btw...where's my recipe book?! haha
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    Mar 06, 2008 10:26 PM GMT
    txguy1605 saidbut you can safely say that you dont get as good of a cardio workout from JUST lifting weights. Im sure as hell my heart rate doesn't stay at or above 150 constantly while im lifting, if at all

    btw...where's my recipe book?! haha


    depends on structure is the answer to that. If you start with a 5 minute warm up and stretch then do HIT based training made entirely of supersets with minimal rest I can guarantee you that it would be as high
    Chances are it would actually be higher and improve quicker.
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    Mar 07, 2008 12:42 AM GMT
    bfg1 said
    depends on structure is the answer to that. If you start with a 5 minute warm up and stretch then do HIT based training made entirely of supersets with minimal rest I can guarantee you that it would be as high
    Chances are it would actually be higher and improve quicker.


    Realistically a new comer is not going to be able to keep up HIT based training let alone HIT based on supersets. While HIT is great it just much harder to do when someone is starting from zero. They need to build some sort of base first.
  • UStriathlete

    Posts: 320

    Mar 07, 2008 1:34 AM GMT
    bfg1 said
    1.45 minutes to an hour burns roughly 500 calories if you had spent that time on weights, structured to provide you with cardio you would lose fat not weight.

    2.Let the diet do the hard fat loss and the gym retain the muscle

    3.Its all semantics on the machine and going past 30 minutes you will be burning more alternative energy sources not fat to answer your question hence long distance runners are generaly lean not retaining much muscle mass at all


    1. says who? more of a myth. 'lose fat not weight'? that makes no sense. doesn't fat weigh something?

    2. they go hand in hand. like i said before, if you only had "one" to chose from, diet is the "one". all three is optimal. duh...

    3. what the hell is a "alternative energy souuces"? you either burn fat or carbs, protein on very very very limited basis. btw, the longer one does aerobic exercise the more he utilizes fat as fuel. distance runners have optimal ratio of muscle for their body type and distance.

    Thanks bgf1 for job security.
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    Mar 07, 2008 2:07 AM GMT
    UStriathlete said[quote][cite]bfg1 said[/cite]
    1.45 minutes to an hour burns roughly 500 calories if you had spent that time on weights, structured to provide you with cardio you would lose fat not weight.

    2.Let the diet do the hard fat loss and the gym retain the muscle

    3.Its all semantics on the machine and going past 30 minutes you will be burning more alternative energy sources not fat to answer your question hence long distance runners are generaly lean not retaining much muscle mass at all


    1. says who? more of a myth. 'lose fat not weight'? that makes no sense. doesn't fat weigh something?

    2. they go hand in hand. like i said before, if you only had "one" to chose from, diet is the "one". all three is optimal. duh...

    3. what the hell is a "alternative energy souuces"? you either burn fat or carbs, protein on very very very limited basis. btw, the longer one does aerobic exercise the more he utilizes fat as fuel. distance runners have optimal ratio of muscle for their body type and distance.

    Thanks bgf1 for job security.[/quote]

    Thanks, US, for the voice of reason. Diet and exercise will help you lose weight. How much fat one burns depends on age, genes, and mostly how fit you are. Specifically, it depends on how efficient one is at burning fat. The more sedentary person is not an efficient fat burner. The more cardio you do, effectively, the more efficient you become. Where I teach group fitness, some of our classes alternate between endurance and interval training.

    The endurance classes focus on fat burning; one is working below the anaerobic threshold. This is the theoretical point where a person stops burning fat. In actuality, this is the peak where one burns fat. After this point, the fat burning drops.

    So, in the interval classes, one is pushed above the anaerobic threshold. I call the area about this point, the adaptation area. You are telling your body that is must adapt to the additional effort. You go to this point to make your body more efficient at burning fat.

    Check out this article from 2001:
    http://www.heartzones.com/_pdf/FatBurningwhitepaperreposted8305.pdf

    Check out this site:
    http://www.css.edu/x9313.xml

    Finally, check out this site:
    http://www.getfitla.com/vo2.htm

    The charts we use in our studios and throughout the exercise floor utilize five zones. One is encouraged to use a heart rate monitor in all of our cardio classes. As an instructor, the heart rate monitor is part of our uniform. I use mine whenever I do cardio with the exception of when I go to Choi Kwang Do (martial arts) classes.

    I have to say that I lost about 5 percent more body fat by eating more frequently throughout the day. I added more fruits, nuts and vegetables.

    Right now, I have to add a little more protein to gain a little more muscle. All in all, I do live by the healthy eating, cardio, and muscle strength and endurance philosophy.

    Kev