Wednesday, November 23, 2016

#WellnessWednesday - Heart Rate Based Training Clinic at Big River Running

Last Thursday evening, I took a class called Treading at NutriFormance gym.  Pasted below is the class description:

An instructor will cue you through changing intensity levels by manipulating speeds and simulating a variety of terrain. Take your treadmill workout to the next level. Heart rate monitors are recommended.

My trusty Polar heart rate monitor shows that during the 45 minute class, I burned 800 calories (including pre-workout warm-up and post-workout cool down)!  My average heart rate was 155 and my maximum heart rate hit 185 beats per minute.  The Treading class was tough and left me sweaty and breathless.  Even though the other participants around me were running at faster paces, I never felt left out or like I was behind in any way.  In addition to being a great class, it was also a perfect way to kill time before the Heart Rate Based Training Clinic at Big River Running - West County, which was scheduled for 7:00 p.m. 

At some point, my name and phone number were added to the marketing list for Orangetheory Fitness because I get a call from one of their St. Louis area locations about once each month.  Every time they call, I am offered a free class if I wanted to come in and check it out.  Why don't I take advantage of this offer?  From what I have read, my Polar heart rate monitor would not be compatible with their system, so I would have to purchase their heart rate monitor.  No thanks!  I am still intrigued by Orangetheory's workouts and heart rate zone training, so this workshop was a perfect way to get more information without being pressured to purchase a membership.

The presenters for this workshop included a personal trainer/coach and a manager from one of the St. Louis area Orangetheory Fitness studios.  The personal trainer/coach started by telling us about the many benefits of high intensity interval training, especially for runners (see below).  My notes just quote the trainer when he said that running longer doesn't make you faster; running faster will make you a faster runner.  

The trainer then explained the different training zones used at Orangetheory Fitness and how to calculate the lower and upper limits for your zones:

I used the first and simplest formula from the options above and then I noted my lower and upper limits for each zone on our handouts.

In order to take advantage of the Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) effect that Orangetheory bases their workouts on, you must stay in Zone 4 or the Orange Zone for 12-20 minutes during your workout.  By meeting that goal, you have a greater EPOC effect which means that you end up burning more calories in the 24-hours following your workout than if you had stayed in Zone 1, 2, or 3 the entire time.  I personally love seeing the number of calories that I burned during my workout, so knowing that I could be burning even more post-workout was exciting news!

Since I had just completed the Treading class, I had a great example to compare to the Heart Rate Zones from Orangetheory.  My Polar heart rate monitor has three intensity zones rather than Heart Rate Zones, but they are adjustable and similar to the five Heart Rate Zones above.  

  • Intensity Zone 1 = 93 - 101 beats per minute
  • Intensity Zone 2 = 102 - 138 beats per minute
  • Intensity Zone 3 = 139 - 175 beats per minute

During the Treading class for example, I stayed in intensity zone 3 for 46 minutes, intensity zone 2 for 6 minutes, and intensity zone 1 for 6 minutes.  So although my Polar intensity zones don't compare apples-to-apples with the Heart Rate Zones, I am going to assume that at least 12 of those 46 minutes were spent in Zone 4/Orange Zone, meaning that I was able to take advantage of the EPOC effect.

Going forward, I may adjust the intensity zones on my Polar heart rate monitor to more closely match the Heart Rate Zones so that I can make sure I stay in Zone 4/Orange Zone for at least 12 minutes.  Now that I know about the EPOC effect, I want to achieve it as often as possible!

This workshop was definitely worth my time, especially since I have my own heart rate monitor.  Without a heart rate monitor, I think I would have been a bit lost without that basis for comparison.  I LOVE my Polar heart rate monitor and it syncs with a most of the cardio machines at the various gyms I visit, but there are other brands out there.  Orangetheory Fitness has gyms located throughout the U.S. and abroad.  Check out their list of studios here.  I believe all locations will give you the first class free, so check them out if you have the chance.  

Weekly Goals:
  1. Plan meals for the week days - 50% Met - Still struggling but I did at least opt for the lower fat/healthier options when purchasing items for our Thanksgiving meal.
  2. Practice Yoga at least once per week - 0% Met - I downloaded the Down Dog app but haven't had time to use it yet. I know.  It should be so easy, yet I make it seem so impossible.
  3. Run at least twice per week - GOAL MET  - I took the Treading class and a treadmill class at Shred415 this week.  
  4. Foam roll at least once per week - GOAL MET - I foam rolled once last week and again this morning.
  5. Attend a boot camp at least once per week - GOAL MET - YES!!!!  I am double counting the Shred415 class here because we were on the treadmill half the class and then at weight stations the other half,  I took a boot camp at a gym near my house this morning too.

Have a great Thanksgiving and good luck to everyone running Turkey Trots tomorrow!!!!!

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