There can be a lot of concerns from people when they begin to monitor their heart rate. Am I working too hard? My heart rate monitor says that I am out of my zone. Should I hold back? My heart rate is really high, is that ok?
If you never monitor your heart rate, you don’t have any of these problems. You just BRING IT and know you need to slow down when you can’t push any harder and you have keel over to catch your breath LOL! I am here to tell you that even if you monitor your heart rate, you should have the same mindset! BRING IT until you can’t push any harder!
Zones and Target Heart Rates
You’ve probably heard about the “fat burning” zone. Maybe even the “aerobic” zone. Or that there is a certain range, or target, that you need to keep your HR in to effectively lose weight. These restrictive zones can be helpful for people with heart problems (you should consult a doctor before changing any workout routine if you do have a previous heart condition!). They can keep you safe and still provide valuable benefits to your overall health.
But I’m sorry, there is no such thing as a “Fat Burning” zone! You lose weight by eating fewer calories than you burn in a day. We help create that difference by increasing the number of calories we burn through working out. When you workout and increase your cardiac output and you burn more calories. So a greater cardiac output, the more calories you burn! The same person running a 6 minute mile will burn more calories than if they were to run an 8 minute mile because their average HR would be much higher. Why not see just how many calories we can burn by going as hard as we can?
Two zones that I am interested in are at the upper end of the scale, the anaerobic zone and the VO2 Max. Let me start by saying, these aren’t the end goal. You don’t need to fixate on these numbers or names. I am interested in these “zones” because it is really cool what happens in these zones. And with P90X, X2, Insanity, TurboFire, and The Asylum; these zones just happen! Do you think the Asylum Legends or the X2 Crew were only in their “Fat Burning” zone? Heck no! They pushed to the brink, and the results show that!
In the anaerobic zone (usually 80-90% of your max HR), your body begins to have trouble removing as much lactic acid as you are producing. Lactic acid is a byproduct of all normal exercise. It is created when you push your body past its aerobic capacity. Normal energy production can’t cut it anymore and your body gives you a readily available source of energy, lactic acid. Now too much lactic acid, and not properly cooling down, can lead to soreness and stiffness. But by working in anaerobic zone, you can increase you body’s ability to manage lactic acid by stressing the system. You increase your lactic acid threshold.
Straight from the source of all helpful info, Wikipedia, the “VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, peak oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual.” This is the peak of your body’s performance (usually 90-100% of your max HR). Stressing your body at this level produces a great response. You increase you ability to work at all other levels and even can increase your fast twitch muscle fibers!
Both of these zones also do a very important thing, they burn WAY MORE calories! Not only during the workout, but after the workout is over. Working out at these levels of intensity will raise your resting metabolic rate for up to 24 hours. You burn more calories all day long than the person that stayed in their “zone.” We already know to be this to be a problem — comfort zones. Nothing changes when you are in your comfort zone!
Our bodies are very self regulating. If you are just starting working out, it may not be very difficult to get in these zones but difficult to stay there. You want to work as hard as you can, but don’t worry about the ranges. As you progress, you need to make sure you are still challenging your body. Not just your muscles but your respiratory system too.
Note on Maximum Heart Rate
If you have a heart rate monitor, it is not a bad idea to know you maximum heart rate. You want to work as hard as you can, but you also want to stay safe. The general rule is HRmax = 220 – Age. So if you are 40, your projected max HR would be 180. Now physical fitness levels effect your max HR and this is just another starting point. I have had my heart rate well above that. But be mindful if your heart rate is getting into the 200s, you may want to see a doctor!
What are the other method on how to check if you are having trouble with your heart aside from ECG?
Medical-ELearning if you think you are having troubles with your heart I wouldn't mess around with checking it yourself, see a doctor.
Ok coach my email is firstname.lastname@example.org, send me a reply there and I send some pics, I really need your help coach as I want to make this transition very carefully not to mess anything up,tyvm coach and blessings.
Now coach , I think is time to transition from fat shredder to muscle building , how do I do that without losing my condition , I don't mind if the muscle building is slow as long as I maintain the condition or even lose more bf, pease help me coach on my next phase, I did fat shredder for 60 days, got down to 6% ,my desire bf% is 5, I wish I could submit some pics so you can have a clearer idea to help me, I need your help on cals, macros, weight training and cardio( dislike cardio a lot lol), thanks again coach and blessings for you and the family
What's up coach! Question : what do you think of intermittent fasting? The reason for my question is I've seen great results since I started your program and dropped like 2% bf from 10 to 8 in about a month but after a month I read about intermittent fasting and while I kept the cals and macro percentage the same as you told me to,I switched to IF where I stop eating around 8pm and start an under feeding period at 12 pm till 4pm followed by a 4 hour over feeding period from 4pm till 8pm, sometimes I even traing fasted, eat all my carbs and higher cals at night, and honestly the results had blown me away, I weight train 6 days and do hiit cardio 5 days, I'm around 6% bf and looking very ripped in less than a month, I'm holding lots of muscle and one night I fell off the wagon eating wise and what I did to correct the spill over was I fasted the following 36 hours and during that period my energy level was throu the roof, best wo ever on that fasting day and looked better than ever, why is that? Not eating for 36 hours after that was honestly very easy for some reason, can you please give me your take on IF as I would love to hear your opinion. Thanks again coach.
Hey David, I am not an expert of IF by any means. There would seem to be big benefit to limiting the number of calories one could eat if you are limited to 4 hour window. I would also say that you are doing a lot of work to get that lean. I imagine you'd have similar results with a typical eating plan. You are training 6x a week and 5x cardio... that would lean anyone out that isn't filling their face every second! I am really glad that it is working for you. I believe experimenting is a powerful tool. I just know the success of tracking and a typical eating structure. I have never been hampered by how I eat.
Coach, Have you heard anything about a sequal to insanity (not the Asylum version but the original)? Curious to know if Shaun T has any plans? Thanks!
Thanks Coach! i tried 140 today and it wasnt too bad. After finishing insanity i think im going to try the p90x insanity hybrid!
Hey Billy, sorry I jumped over that. I always get ready for action if the recovery week is in danger! For HR, if you feel like you need to cool down that much then do it. But you can work on coming back sooner. Try starting at the 140s for a while and then 150s.
Hey Coach i have 2 questions. I usually get to 160 -170 HR when doing insanity sometimes i reach 180 but thats when it gets really hard to breathe, when the 30 second is over im still at 160 should i pause and wait for my HR to go down? if so how low? i usually wait until 130. The second thing i wanted to ask you is im almost done with my first month of insanity and theres a week off. how important is that week rest. i was thinking about doing a week of p90x, is that ok or should i just do their cardio recovery workout? Thanks!
Billy the recovery week is important. Do the Core Cardio and Balance. Your body needs some time to rebuild and get ready for month 2!
Do i need to take a calorie deficit if I'm 156 pounds, 11 % body fat wanting to get down to 7%? right now I'm eating 1600 calories a day on the fat shredder diet. Thanks for all that you do!
Bryan, 1600 at 50/30/20 is a deficit. I would figure your maintenance caloric need to be around 2400. That is a great deficit to get to that BF%.
Hey Coach Wayne! My question is pretty much the same as my friend Bryan above. I am about 6'3, 193 pounds with about 11% body fat. I'm on the fat shredder diet right now and would like to get down to about 7% body fat before I start mass bulking. My estimate is I should be eating around 1900 calories, is this correct?
David you are right. 1900 is a good place to start. But watch your fat loss too. You may need to adjust from there.
Hey Coach! Can't tell you how much I love your website! I do however, have a lingering question about the amount of calories i should be eating. I'm about 5'10 and 153 pounds with about 10-11% body fat. I'd like to gain 10 pounds of lean muscle by day 90 with my body fat at around 6 or 7%. How many calories should I be eating?
Hey Bryan, Dropping 4% BF and adding 10lbs is a tall order. I would suggest dropping the fat first and then switching to mass building. 1600 calories at 50/30/20 would be a good place to start on your cut. Then you'll have to reassess for bulking, one you get your BF down, you will probably need to be around 2800 to add mass. Check out: http://teamripped.com/big-ripped-or-small-ripped
There is a much more accurate formula to figure out your max heart rate.. Multiply your age by 0.7 and subtract that figure from 208. For example, a 40-year-old has a maximum heart rate of 180 (208 - 0.7 x 40). Here is the location of a study that is very interesting regarding Age-predicted maximal heart rate revisited. The old formula Women: 226 - your age = your age-adjusted Max HR and Men: 220 - your age = your age-adjusted Max HR has been determined to not as accurate. http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/full/37/1/153 However the study also states that formulas aside, maximum heart rates vary. Everyone is different. Enjoy!
Hey coach, would filet minion be considered a "cheat mea"l in the second phase of P90X2. it is one of the dinners for energy booster in P90X so i figured it would be a good dinner but just checking with you because, well, you know A LOT about this stuff :) Thanks in advance. Josh
Josh, you'd consider it a cheat meal if you don't account for it in your daily totals. If you have the protein and fat left in your day and decide to have it, I wouldn't consider that a cheat. Now if it puts you over on calories, then yes it is a cheat.
Coach, I have two questions: 1. How accurate do you think the HR monitor is on estimating calories burned? 2. I have once again started using creatine. My weight has gone up and I look fatter in the waist, since taking it. My pants fit more snug. I don't like this. Is it the creatine bloating me? I know I have gained a little weight from going on two weeks of family vacation (3 pounds), but my bathroom scale has shown a 7 pound gain in the last week. This correlates to my creatine use. A 10 pound total gain is hard to get my mind around.
Greg, creatine will cause some water weight and bloat. Make sure you are drinking a lot of water. Give it a few days to even out. That unusual food from the vacation could be hanging on too and bloating some. HRM can be very accurate. You need to make sure they are calibrated for your gender and weight. Also, fresh batteries really help.
Ok we're still on the same page about HIIT being a better overall workout :) ... but I apparently misread your first response and had a question about how / where you got your numbers. During my FUEL test I got exact calorie burns (broken out by fuel type - fat vs carb) at various HR's. At the same duration of 30 minutes, I don't see how it's possible to burn more fat calories at a higher intensity than you would at a lower intensity. Here are my numbers based on scientific laboratory testing. 30 Minutes @ 137 HR (70% of Max): - 450 total calories (8 fat / 7 carb per min) - 240 fat calories (53%) - 210 carb calories (47%) 30 Minutes @158 HR (81% of Max): - 600 total calories (6.6 fat / 13.4 carb per min) - 198 fat calories (33%) - 402 carb calories (67%) As you can see the higher your intensity level the lower your fat burn. Therefore when comparing the same duration times it's highly unlikely that you could burn more fat at a higher intensity level, even though your overall calorie burn is much higher. Like I said though I completely agree that HIIT provides more bang for your buck. You get the "after burn" effect and your body is working overtime for hours rebuilding itself after an intense workout. I'm mostly just interested in the science behind it and always looking for further clarity ... I also emailed my contact at the lab asking for more clarification on how we can achieve such great results when we're throwing out the conventional thinking surrounding the "FBZ." That and I just enjoy good open discussion! Thanks for all you provide on here!!
Andy the study I looked at used 50% of max as the mark for FBZ, both your HRs (70% and 81%) would be in a much higher zone (already above the "FBZ"). So your test supported the higher zones burn more calories (and actually fat calories too). As you recover again, you will come through that sweet spot and be elevated for longer. I would wonder what an hour on your FUEL test would look like (30 minutes work and 30 active recovery). Very cool.
Coach, funniest thing ever happened today. I asked you how to intensify base + back (and i really regret that now) and i did what you said and now I'm completely toast. When i was walking up the stairs after it (i workout in my basement) i couldn't go more than 3 steps so i just sat there for 20 minutes, craving my RR :). I think i'll wait a little before doing ARX2
Great post Coach! HIIT rules! I'm glad I read Andy's and your comments on FBZ. I learned something new from that discussion!
(Ignore if you already responded via e-mail already. I just wanted your input before starting my second round today) Hi Coach, I have just completed my first round of P90X. I lost 24 pounds! I want to do another round to continue leaning out. I also love the functional direct benefits of P90X. I also can get through most of the workouts without much modification. So I feel I can squeeze more gains out of it. The first month, and half I modified everything. I have two questions. Can I do back to back rounds of P90X, or even Body Beast without break in between? I don’t want to lose momentum, and I feel strong going into my second round. Do I need to cycle creatine pills I am taking from GNC. I have been on them for 2 months. Thanks for your time, Eric (ProjectZeus)
Eric, check the dosage of the pills from GNC. If it is 5g creatine monohydrate, then I would cycle them. Back to back rounds of P90X are fine. With Body Beast, there are no recovery weeks. After 90 days, I would deload and do a recovery week before jumping back in!
I find the Kenpo cardio plus from p90x plus is a little better b/c it is a little faster paced but is also a little shorter. BTW I just tried the beast cardio for fun on one of my off days and it's pretty good but also pretty short. May be a good combo to combine the two for a cardio day. Coach, what is your favorite insanity replacement for kenpo days.
Thanks Coach. One more quick question. What week did you start "seeing" your body changing. Most people say they start seeing changes sometime during month 2. From pics that I have seen It looks like the 60 day pics are the ones that have the most notable changes. Is that how it went for you? Thanks in advance. Both my family and my wifes family dont eat very healthy. They are the complete opposite. That being said is it normal to feel like you dont belong? Thats how I feel when my wife and I are around family. They actually tell me that im starving myself when in actuality I am eating A LOT or at least it seems like that. How do I deal with this. Sorry coach I dont mean to bombard you. One more question lol. My boss recently had a heart attack about a month ago. He is back at work and is interested in making a lifestyle change. Since I am a personal trainer he has contacted me for some help. He said that his doctor told him that it was ok to start working out but to start slow. My boss is interested in starting insanity. I am a little concerned because of his history with heart problems. He had two stents inserted. I want to tell him that he should start p90x instead but he set on insanity. How come his doctor didnt have an excersice stress test done?
Dave, changes come at different stages for each person. Check out: http://teamripped.com/seeing-results And yes, you will feel different. What you are doing is different than most, but it is also better! Do worry about them and do it for yourself and your wife! For your boss, encourage him to talk with his doctor! That is the type of advice a doctor should be giving. I know I wouldn't call Insanity slow...
Totally agree with you coach! Just wanted to clear up exactly what is being referenced as the "FBZ" and the science behind it. But I'm with you all day long in regards to the high intensity workouts being better in every way possible. I'm finishing up month 2 this week and my body is in a place that it's never been before ... and I mean that literally. I'm 32 and never remember my weight being this low even back in high school. Also really starting to lean out and my fiance is loving it and says I look the best since she's known me!! Loving the comments from other people as well as they notice the change ... if I keep this up I just might have to sign up to coach!! :D
Hi Coach and everyone at TeamRipped. Its David From San Antonio and Im jus checkin in with a question for coach. So today is the start of my fourth week (recovery week YESSSS). The last three weeks have been hard but fun. I didnt miss a work out and I stayed true to my diet and didnt mess up once. It was truly hard having to eat chicken breast with a thin round and two servings of veges instead of those nice juicy hamburgers my bro made for the fourth of july. I felt kinda like the odd man out but let me tell you...Since I havent been cheating ive noticed that im able to push it harder during my workouts. Ive dropped 10 pounds and have reduced my bf by 5%-7%. My wife keeps saying she noticing changes but I feel like im not but its probably me. Doing the measurments really helps me realize that even though I may not see it, there are changes happening. So all in all things are going great. I cant wait to take my 30 day pics. Quick question for ya coach...I am currently 180 pounds five foot ten inches tall. I am on a 2000 calories a day at 45p/35c/20f. Is that a good deficit to go by or should I reduce my calories more. I increased my carbs a llittle but I consume most my carbs before and after my workout. Am I correct by doing that or should I consume my carbs differently to maximize fat loss. Thanks In Advance and keep bringin it everybody.
Dave, that is AWESOME!!! See how it pays off? Fantastic! Keep it up. 2000 is a good mark. If you are happy with the speed of you weight loss, good. You could drop to 1800-1900 and lose a little more quickly. You carb timing is really good. That will help spare your muscle mass as you cut down. Awesome job man!
hey coach wayne start of week 3 no cheating.when i do pullujps im starting to see veins in my biceps on the fat shredder and abs a little bit but after workout they are gone ? wats the deal?
Johnathan that is the PUMP! Your vascularity will be most noticeable when you are pumped up from working out. Your muscles will also swell from the increase of blood flow headed to them.
JJ, I've had a lot of people recently ask me about it. I am not sure as I have never used it as a method. I have had great success with the plan outlined in P90X and X2. I visited one site and it told me my method was a myth and wouldn't yield results, it was at that point I didn't take it too seriously. It seems to be grasping at getting results quickly. It may work, I'm not sure. I am just not going to spend too much time on it.
Hey coach, i have Base + Back and X2 Ab Ripper today and for some reason, no matter how hard i push and extra reps i do, this workout just doesn't have much effect on me. It is my 3rd time doing it and i was wondering if i should just keep doing it (I'm doing strength for 5 weeks) or do a different workout. If you say a different workout, which one?
Josh, if your pull ups aren't increasing, knock out as many as you can and then do assisted until you burn out. For the plyo moves, go 10 seconds longer than Tony and the gang.
This is an interesting take on the ever popular “Fat Burning Zone.” I find myself very conflicted on the subject and have to agree and disagree with you at the same time. Where I disagree with you is that to make a blanket statement that “there is no such thing as a fat burning zone” I believe is simply wrong. The “FBZ” isn’t talked about or labeled as “the required HR to maintain for weight loss” as you say. When the fitness community talks about the “FBZ” they are talking about the HR zone in which you burn the highest amount of FAT calories for energy, which can be scientifically found and proven. I know the head of the physiology lab at a local University and they do all sorts of metabolic and HR testing (one called a FUEL test – which I’ve done) and it measures your energy expenditure at various training intervals. For me I burn the highest amount of fat calories around 135bpm - 140bpm (8 fat calories per minute to be exact). As my HR gets higher my body utilizes more and more carbohydrate calories to the point where I hit anaerobic at 182bpm and burn zero fat calories. At this point I’m using only carbs for fuel, which will then be replenished during my next feed, as opposed to fat calories which won’t be replenished unless I over eat. For people that are physically unable to push themselves anaerobically (like you should be doing in P90X), they would be best off to strive to reach and stay in that “zone” to utilize (burn) as many fat calories as possible for their effort as reaching the FBZ takes only moderate effort. Doing that, coupled with a proper diet would result in effective weight loss. However, I don’t believe anyone is claiming that the “FBZ” is the ONLY way to effectively lose weight. Where I agree with you however is that the benefits of HIIT and anaerobic training in general can’t be ignored or argued. Basically, there’s more than one way to work out, and more than one way to lose weight. You simply can’t look at the success stories of P90X and say you can’t lose weight or get fit by training above your “FBZ.” The post workout effect is the money maker of P90X as far as I’m concerned. So yeah, I agree with your article as a whole, just not the statement that there is no such thing as a “FBZ” because, scientifically, there is such a thing … I believe your interpretation of it is just a little off. As for programs like P90X though, like you said, BRING IT and don’t worry about zones … if you truly bring it, the rest will take care of itself no matter what your HR is. For me, I’ll take an hour of anaerobic P90X over an hour of moderate “fat burning zone” exercise ANY DAY!! BRING IT!!