Am I getting my HR too high during cardio?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 11, 2012 2:11 AM GMT
    I recently started going back to the gym because I gained 10 pounds my last semester of grad school and I can't fit into my tight jeans anymore =P

    I used the Max HR estimation formula (220 - Age) and determined that I should not be getting my HR above 190 or so.

    I have been using the stair climber and one of the Precor elliptical machines primarily for cardio workouts and have been working out every day for the last week to speed up the weight loss process.

    I've been doing 20 minutes on the stair-climber at 90 steps per minute while standing up straight and not grabbing onto the rails.

    I then follow this up with 20 minutes on the elliptical set at maximum resistance (20) with 10 minutes forward and 10 minutes backwards. I don't use the arm grips and try to stand up straight with good posture.

    I've noticed that my HR estimated on the machines dances around 180-200 once I get about 5 minutes into my workout. I'm sure that this is far from accurate but I don't have a HR monitor currently. I am definitely working out at a challenging level and I can't talk at this intensity. I'm also usually sore the next day.

    My question: Is this a dangerous (or foolish) method of training if I'm trying to lose some excess weight and tone up my lower half? I've been reading articles online that suggest working out at a lower HR to burn more fat, but I like working out hard and getting a good sweat in. Any suggestions or feedback would be welcome.
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    May 11, 2012 2:36 AM GMT
    teemolicus said...
    My question: Is this a dangerous ...
    Yes.
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    May 11, 2012 2:37 AM GMT
    BTW, fat loss does not require much cardio. It requires a proper meal plan that coincides with the amount of calories you expend...less if you wanna lose, and more if you wanna gain.
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    May 11, 2012 4:22 AM GMT
    1. You don't need a heart rate monitor at this point. All you need is a chest strap. Those are much cheaper, and most of the machines can read them. Check out the model you need on the machines you use.

    2. If the machines you use have sensors, the heart rate is accurate. YOU SHOULD NOT WORK OUT FOR PROLONGED PERIODS OF TIME AT YOUR MAXIMUM HEART RATE.

    3. When using the stairmaster ALWAYS GRAB THE RAILS. Don't push on the rails, but you really want to use them for support in case you slip. You could just hold your thumb and index fingers around the rails without touching, getting almost the same safety as when holding them tight.

    4. If you can do 20 minutes of one and 20 minutes of the other, you are usually fine. The most common problem with high intensity workouts is that people can't go on for long enough to make a difference. The main variable for you is caloric output, and if you can go at max rate for 5 minutes, that burns a lot less than at 85% for 20.

    5. Check your heart rate yourself. It's really easy when your heart is pounding hard: hold index and middle finger of one hand to the base of the throat, just to the side of the Adam's apple. You should feel your heart pounding. Check a clock, and measure the pulses in 15 seconds on the clock. Multiply by 4 and get your heart rate. Or simply do the math ahead of time: 180 bpm = 45 beats in 15 seconds. That's a LOT of beating.
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    May 11, 2012 4:28 AM GMT
    I'm thinking this is one of those areas where it's different for everybody. If I get much beyond about 160, I get exhausted fast. I'd think you'll just have to see what your body can handle; if you're healthy, your body will let you know if you're overdoing it.

    Wikipedia:
    Various formulas are used to estimate individual maximum heart rates, based on age, but maximum heart rates vary significantly between individuals.[5] Even within a single elite sports team, such as Olympic rowers in their 20s, maximum heart rates can vary from 160 to 220.[5] This variation is as large as a 60 or 90 year age gap by the linear equations given below, and indicates the extreme variation about these average figures.

    The most common formula encountered, with no indication of standard deviation, is:

    HRmax = 220 − age

    The formula has been attributed to various sources, but is widely thought to have been devised in 1970 by Dr. William Haskell and Dr. Samuel Fox.[5] Inquiry into the history of this formula reveals that it was not developed from original research, but resulted from observation based on data from approximately 11 references consisting of published research or unpublished scientific compilations.[6] It gained widespread use through being used by Polar Electro in its heart rate monitors,[5] which Dr. Haskell has "laughed about",[5] as it "was never supposed to be an absolute guide to rule people's training."[5]

    While the most common (and easy to remember and calculate), this particular formula is not considered by reputable health and fitness professionals to be a good predictor of HRmax. Despite the widespread publication of this formula, research spanning two decades reveals its large inherent error (Sxy = 7–11 b/min). Consequently, the estimation calculated by HRmax = 220 − age has neither the accuracy nor the scientific merit for use in exercise physiology and related fields.[6]

    A 2002 study[6] of 43 different formulae for HRmax (including the one above) concluded the following:

    No "acceptable" formula currently existed, (they used the term "acceptable" to mean acceptable for both prediction of VO2, and prescription of exercise training HR ranges)
    The formula deemed least objectionable was:

    HRmax = 205.8 − (0.685 × age)

    This was found to have a standard deviation that, although large (6.4 bpm), was still considered to be acceptable for the use of prescribing exercise training HR ranges.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_rate#Formula

    Hope this helps!
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    May 11, 2012 5:42 AM GMT
    It sounds like you're going to high. Your peak heart range isn't your best fat burning zone anyway. It varies for everyone, but you can estimate it using online calculators. Doing some form of HIIT training will teach your body to burn fat more efficiently over time, and then you'll be able to burn fat without as much effort.
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    May 11, 2012 5:57 AM GMT
    themachine said5. Check your heart rate yourself. It's really easy when your heart is pounding hard: hold index and middle finger of one hand to the base of the throat, just to the side of the Adam's apple. You should feel your heart pounding. Check a clock, and measure the pulses in 15 seconds on the clock. Multiply by 4 and get your heart rate. Or simply do the math ahead of time: 180 bpm = 45 beats in 15 seconds. That's a LOT of beating.
    Measure the pulses for 6 seconds and multiply by ten. It's easier and more accurate.
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    May 11, 2012 6:09 AM GMT
    1. Sensors on machines tend to overestimate your heart rate, assuming you're talking about the hand grip sensors. Some more than others. They are absolutely not 100% accurate.

    2. If you feel like you are overexerting yourself you should tone it down. Your body would not be able to handle sustained exercise at your maximum heart rate. With that said...

    3. The fat-burn zone is a complete myth. The higher your HR the more calories you will burn, period. The higher your HR the less % fat calories you will burn, but the total fat calories you burn will still be higher than the total fat calories at a lower HR. I hope that makes sense.
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    May 11, 2012 7:50 AM GMT
    wolfpackbuddy said3. The fat-burn zone is a complete myth. The higher your HR the more calories you will burn, period. The higher your HR the less % fat calories you will burn, but the total fat calories you burn will still be higher than the total fat calories at a lower HR. I hope that makes sense.


    No, it's not a myth. At least not based on what I've been taught by certified trainers and read for myself online. But it's frequently misunderstood and poorly explained. What you said is essentially true, but it's missing some pieces. (I'm doing this from memory. Bear with me.) The closer you get to your peak heart rate, the more sugar and less fat you burn. At a certain point, you stop burning fat and only burn sugar. Yes, you're burning more calories, but less efficiently, and you won't be able to keep up that pace. If you find the right zones, you can exercise more efficiently and burn more fat calories and total calories during your workout. You can also change the fat calories and total calories you burn over time. Take this hypothetically scenario:

    Month 1
    BPM: 140 for 10 minutes
    Fat Cals: 75 (50%)
    Total Cals: 150

    Month 3
    BPM: 140 for 10 minutes
    Fat Cals: 150 (75%)
    Total Cals: 200

    The numbers are for simpler math. The point is that using HIIT training, you can train your body to burn more calories at the same heart rate and have a greater percentage of the calories come from fat, which is supposed to be more efficient.

    I took some test that actually showed this and charted my improvement over time. The change isn't drastic. You can suddenly burn 500 calories with a 5 minute jog. But is does help your workouts be more productive.
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    May 11, 2012 3:41 PM GMT
    DudeInNOVA said
    wolfpackbuddy said3. The fat-burn zone is a complete myth. The higher your HR the more calories you will burn, period. The higher your HR the less % fat calories you will burn, but the total fat calories you burn will still be higher than the total fat calories at a lower HR. I hope that makes sense.


    No, it's not a myth. At least not based on what I've been taught by certified trainers and read for myself online. But it's frequently misunderstood and poorly explained. What you said is essentially true, but it's missing some pieces. (I'm doing this from memory. Bear with me.) The closer you get to your peak heart rate, the more sugar and less fat you burn. At a certain point, you stop burning fat and only burn sugar. Yes, you're burning more calories, but less efficiently, and you won't be able to keep up that pace. If you find the right zones, you can exercise more efficiently and burn more fat calories and total calories during your workout. You can also change the fat calories and total calories you burn over time.


    You said essentially what I said with my entire post. I know you can't sustain exercise at an extremely high HR. What I was referring to is the myth that still seems to be out there that you should work out at a lower HR (say 60% of max) because it supposedly will burn more fat calories than a higher HR (say 80% of max). In reality, at 80% you are burning less % fat calories out of the total calories you burn, but still more overall fat calories than you would at 60%. So it's better to get up to 80% of your max, at least in intervals.

    Example:

    60% of max: 500 calories burned
    60% fat= 300 fat calories
    40% carbs= 200 calories

    80% of max: 800 calories burned
    40% fat= 320 fat calories
    60% carbs= 480 calories
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2605

    May 14, 2012 6:59 PM GMT
    I`d say you`re pushing your heart rate too high for too long.